This post is a follow-up to my post The Adventures of Writing Nonfiction (https://osyoungheart.wordpress.com/2016/02/01/the-adventures-of-writing-non-fiction/). If you have yet to read it, I’d advise you do so first.
As I mentioned in my last post, I am taking on the challenge of writing nonfiction for my class, and we are going to be working on serious nonfiction novels. After getting some feedback and considering my options, I decided to make my novel about the life of Military Brats.
Here was the selection I wrote about it from my previous blog post:
“My first book idea is explaining the makeup of military life for the children of servicemembers. There are approximately 10 million Americans who identify as Military Brats. As of July 24, 2015, the United States population was 321,442,019. That means 1 in every 32 people you meet consider themselves you meet consider themselves Military Brats. This major American subculture is largely misunderstood, invisible, and isolated from other subcultures due to the major differences. Yet, its members are very active participants of society that influence everything from politics to mass media to business. Notable Military Brats include John S. McCain, Jr.; Bruce Willis; Lionel Richie; Tia, Tamera, and Tahj Mowry; Hunter “Patch” Adams; Mia Hamm; and John Denver. This book would be extremely relevant and, as a born and raised Military Brat, my connection with the military/Military Brat community would give an insider’s perspective which other authors may not be able to provide.”
This idea has resonated in my mind since I came up with it and I feel passionately towards the topic. However, I was not entirely sure what perspective I would take until I read the chapter “Thinking Like an Editor: Audience, Audience, Audience” from the book Thinking Like Your Editor by Susan Rabiner and Alfred Fortunato. Rabiner is the narrator of this book in that the authors speak as if it a conversation between her, an editor, and the reader, me. In the chapter, Rabiner gives scenarios of books which would be rejected and details the reasoning for each one. Through reading her examination of these theoretical books, I gained a better understanding of serious nonfiction. My idea largely falls into the category of serious nonfiction, I just needed to refine my idea slightly to include a larger audience.
It took a while of brainstorming to figure out exactly who I wanted to read my book. Like the story of The Physics of Star Trek, detailed in the prologue, I would like my writing to be aimed at making one specific audience interested in a topic they would usually overlook. Specifically, in this case, I would like to make the book geared towards people who are interested in subcultures of the United States of America, psychology, and travel. I will take these groups of people and introduce them into the topic of the military/how the military affects Military Brats’ lifestyles.
Accordingly, this is my new method to appeal to more people. As a part of the military community, I could interview military brats from different branches and tell their story as an introduction to each aspect of the military life. I could break down each aspect into a different chapter. This would give a narrative element which would appeal those who are not as fond of academic writing. This would appeal to people interested in psychology as it would be like a case study of each individual. The experiences of moving around would interest the travel-oriented audience. Finally, it would detail a subculture which has not often been written about.
I believe my refinement of this idea will lead to a better approach in writing nonfiction as a fiction author. Obviously, I will have to edit and shift my idea as it manifests itself in writing form. However, I think that I am off to a good start.