Serious Non-Fiction Development: Part 5 of a Semester’s Reflections

*Please read Serious Non-Fiction Development: Part 1 of a Semester’s Reflections for an explanation of this series. This week’s post is a response to a reading from an insightful book on successfully publishing serious non-fiction. Below is the question prompt followed by my response.

Identify five major sources that will likely inform the argument/analysis you plan to advance in your sample chapter. You can simply list the title of each source and, one by one, make notes about what’s most pertinent in the source and how it may factor into your sample chapter. You can make your notes in the form of bullet points or a paragraph. Essentially, your objective here is to build up a reservoir of salient material that you can readily draw on to stimulate your writing, to keep your momentum toward that next sentence.

After revisiting the importance of research and finding myself thoroughly intimidated by Wulf’s 100+ pages of research in her non-fiction work on Humboldt, I spent most of this morning scouring resources that might help me develop and better understand my argument. I’m not certain where I want to go with my sample chapter, so my top five sources are a variety of works that inspire possible points of interest and arguments:

  1. Predator Defense
  • This first source is a website and it will help tremendously with current events. Historical and scientific research are crucial to my book, but it will be irrelevant if I’m not staying consistent with what is happening right now with the wolves in North America.
  • The website keeps statistics updated regularly and will provide my chapter with some hard-hitting numbers and facts.
  • Since it’s not specific to wolves, it will have a broader field of impact I can draw from. It should help me draw on the interconnections between the species and how what impacts one will directly affect the other.
  • Finally, there’s a section on suggestions regarding how people can help defend the predators, and since my book is ultimately a nature revival/call to action, I need to strengthen that area through similar means.
  1. Wolves: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation by David L. Mech (thanks to my classmate for suggesting this author to me)
  • Mech is perhaps one of the most obsessed wolf writers out there. While most of his content focuses on the species and their livelihood, he scatters moments of conservation and calls for protection in his books.
  • Mech will also help bring my chapter credibility because he is a senior research scientist with the Biological Resources Division, U.S. Geological Survey and adjunct professor in the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology and the Department of Ecology and Behavioral Biology at the University of Minnesota.
  • This one fascinated me because of his marriage between history/science and general appreciation. I’m hoping to study how he synthesizes the varying ideas while also gathering some concrete facts about wolves and their way of life.
  1. Wolves in the Land of Salmon by David Moskowitz
  • I came across this title thanks to my local librarian. She said that she wasn’t an environmentalist and knew little about “that whole green scene,” but she had surprisingly read this book. Since it appealed to her as a less-than-avid-wolf-fan, I figured learning the author’s style would be beneficial at the very least.
  • Moskowitz is from wrote this by the pacific northwest, my home, so I thought I could relate well to his references and the wolves in that area. This book focuses on the wolves being a key symbol for nature and that’s something I’m trying to drive home with this sample chapter.
  • It seems to focus on a lot of specific stories or instances, and I believe that will strengthen the narrative and personal vibe of the chapter. I know I’m throwing a lot of facts and rally cries at the reader, so I want to be sure to add the personal features needed to make it stand out and resonate with people.
  1. The Predator Paradox: Ending the War with Wolves, Bears, Cougars, and Coyotes by John A. Shivik
  • Like my first source, this one is all-inclusive regarding predators in danger. The same reasons apply, but I added this book as well because while it’s not going to be as current as that website, it is more developed and written by a credible expert in wildlife management.
  • One of my favorite things about this source is the fact that it’s centered on finding new ways for humans and mammalian predators to coexist.
  • He also strives to find solutions that aid the wildlife without greatly impacting mankind, and this balance is something I could study more because my answer often errs towards making the humans pay for their mistakes. A healthy balance can be achieved, so I’m eager to see where Shivik believes the answer lies.
  1. Gray Wolf Conservation
  • My last source is another website that focuses on a specific sub-species. Gray wolves are the ones most people envision when they imagine wolves and they are naturally the largest in population (under normal circumstances).
  • This site has a nice ratio of history to research papers/article to current news. It’s somewhat like my first source, but this one is wolf-specific.
  • I also found a lot of great pictures, and while I may not be inserting them in my sample chapter, it does inspire me and will aid me in setting the scene for my chapter.
  • Finally, this website has a special section on wolves in captivity. This is a crucial aspect of conservation because captivity programs have been the center of stabling populations and they work hand-in-hand with reintroduction programs.

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