Publishers often encourage writers to stick to one genre. Stephen King is not about to start writing romance novels any more than J.K. Rowling is going to take us on a spaceship to explore the galaxy next door. And, if you want to jump from fiction to nonfiction, then you are in for similar challenges.
As a reporter I wrote nonfiction, but I have always thought my book-length projects would grow out of the realm of fiction. I was a storyteller and there was no way I could write about cold, hard facts for that long in a way that would interest me, much less anyone else. I have since come up with some ideas, but those are collaborative products where I would be partnering with others to channel their brilliance. Doing it on my own seemed impossible. Coming away from my last writers’ conference, I brainstormed ideas with my wife about how to turn my first novel into a trilogy. I was set to write book two in the series this summer and the third one next summer.
Then one day an idea popped in my head: why don’t I take some of my experiences as a teacher and use them to help parents help their kids? Ruminating over this concept for a few days, I christened the project High School Declassified and decided to launch a new blog, and write the first draft of a book while I design parent workshops to create a platform for the project when, and if, it does get off the ground.
The Monday after I started summer vacation I began to write. Instead of having to force ideas out, they came naturally. With a little bit of planning and structure, the words flowed from mind to fingers to computer screen like a rushing river. Now, to be sure, this is a rough draft and may require radical revision, but I was excited by the progress.
This may be my one significant work of nonfiction for a very long time, but if so, it is a delight to be well on my way to a brand-new world of writing. I am looking forward to what I discover in this enchanting land.
I've been writing stories and taking photos since I was old enough to hold a pencil and stand behind a tripod.