*In one of my classes this semester (one year left!), we are taking on a serious non-fiction book proposal complete with example chapters. Over the next few weeks, I will be following discussion prompts and fleshing out ideas for my book. I’ll be sure to share the final project after I turn it in—if you are so inclined to preview it. For this first week, we were assigned to read an article and respond to two of the questions prompts. 

  1. Whether Your Book Will be Unique and Necessary.

To answer the first part of the question, my book wouldn’t be overly unique in content as much as much as the format it is delivered in. Necessity is hardly enough to describe the need for this topic because the survival of a species depends not only upon raising awareness but also inspiring change. I have a passion for all things environmental, and ever since I was a little girl I have been obsessed with the soul-piercing eyes and bone-chilling howls of wolves. I believe many people admire them, but few know or choose to realize the danger they have been in since the turn of the twentieth century. There are books galore on wolves, but little focused specifically on their eradication from this continent and even less on ways to flourish the remainder of the species. Many websites offer a great overview. Environmental non-profits do their best to raise awareness in bite-sized doses. But I believe a solid book on the matter could be the gut-wrenching experience people need to get off their selfish butts and stand beside others for a cause bigger than themselves.

  1. If You Have Enough Content to Fill a Book.

Content won’t be an issue so much as figuring out how many details to include and how broad to make the historical section to give readers a good grounding before introducing solutions. I envision this book having four main parts: a brief history of the wolves in North America and the effect of settlers from the mid-1600s up to the environmental awakening in the twentieth century; recovery and rehabilitation efforts by environmentalists from the 1960s to the present; the benefit of wolves to our ecosystem and what will happen if things do not change or worsen; suggestions to sustain and grow the wolf population and specific ways people can help.

It’s a broad undertaking and I understand that environmental issues move many people in the moment they hear about it only for them to forget hours later. My goal for this book is to do more than make people concerned. I want them to be happy, enraged, brought to tears, determined, and ultimately inspired to speak up for a species that cannot do so on their own. We are stewards of this planet and all its creatures. Hopefully, a narrative driven story of the wolves in North America is enough to let people see the faults of their ancestors—even themselves—and get caught up in the story of life we all play a part in, causing even a handful of people to stand together and do something.

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6 thoughts on “Serious Non-Fiction Development: Part 1 of a Semester’s Reflections

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