Right at the beginning of this journey (in the X Factor sense of the term) I was confronted with an apparent contradiction: if I knew from the outset what the book was going to look like then it would be being written in a way that was directly contradictory to the message of the book.

But you need a plan, don’t you? A way to approach the thing because otherwise – chaos.

And so I drafted a nice, publisher-friendly thing that followed essentially a handbook format, influenced by my training days. A thesis section- exploring the problems as I see them, and then two sections aimed at the individual and then the organisation, each neatly subdivided into three sections.

God it bores me already.

If this book is going to be a journey (Northern Line as well as X Factor senses) then I need to treat it as a travelogue. And if it’s going to hold true to my thesis, I need a planning framework not a rigid plan.

A few months ago an old classmate of mine Ali did an exercise in creative collaboration. She’s a fine artist these days, an abstract painter. She based herself in a gallery for a week and then spent each day with a different artist. They would create a framework (“Ali controls the palatte. Spend 5 minutes each. No over working. 4 colours.” kind of thing) and then create a new work.

So what is the framework for the book?

Some first thoughts:

  • I will be led by the people I interview
  • Repetition of themes in different people is good
  • Speak to no more than three people from the same field
  • If in doubt, ask Twitter
  • The book needs five “acts”

Suggestions for more most welcomed.

The five acts bit distills into groupings of people who I speak to. I’ve three clearly identified already:

  1. The improvisers – actors and artists who make stuff up “on the spot”
  2. The play professionals – people who are already selling the concept of play into businesses
  3. The sober suits – people who are doing interesting and creative things in places you wouldn’t expect

There will probably be another couple. Maybe more.

I now need to reassess the opening thesis.

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2 thoughts on “7. Book Reset: structure

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