Thursday, April 13, 2006

April 13, 2006: Rewriting Books

Tia blogged about how she doesn't have a favorite "how-to" book, be it homeschooling or parenting or what-have-you. So of course I got to thinking about what I would say in response to this. Now there are materials FOR homeschooling that I love. But with everything else, I'm a re-writer. Whenever I read a "how-to" book, I want to rewrite it. I want to take the valuable parts of that book (which sometimes might be one sentence!) and combine it with the valuable parts of another book and combine those with yet another book--and then I'd have this really awesome book!

I think about what I do with my own classes. For both essay writing and creative writing, I go through dozens and dozens of books and websites and extract bits and pieces from many of them into 12-14 weeks' worth of lessons. For our Small Group and Sunday School, we do the same thing. We'll go through various books and combine the information into just the format that works for us. Then, of course, I think all of these things are so good that I should publish them! And there is probably someone out there who would read MY book, extract the information, merge it with another text--and start the cycle all over again.

Or isn't that what all "how-to" books are, really? Just a synthesizing of all sorts of information into a (sometimes) cohesive text? A text that works for the author? And being a writer myself, I suppose I naturally want to change that text into my own style. Anyway, all that to say, the Truth is that there's only one perfect "how-to"/"self-help" book--the one Book I don't have an uncontrollable urge to edit...

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