your book organized? The best non-fiction books are organized
like a paved road guiding readers through their chapters. That
paved road of organization includes mile markers, exit signs
and other road markers for each chapter. Think about it; we
easily get lost unless the path is clear. It's stressful to
take a journey without a clear road to travel.
Most people enjoy a journey (even a book journey) on a paved
clearly marked road. Instead of leaving your readers to follow
a mucky path of disorganization through your book, use repeating
elements to create a can't-miss-it road like the yellow brick
road in the 'Wizard of Oz' movie (1939).
In John Maxwell's "21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow
Them and People Will Follow You" book, he skillfully uses
repeating elements. These repeating elements form a paved road
that leads you clearly through each chapter. Each chapter has
the same basic form (road). To create chapters that guide your
readers like a yellow brick road include these 10 elements:
Sizzle your chapter title: Create grab you by the collar
chapter titles. You can immediately follow up with a subtitle
that emphasizes and explains the title's meaning. Or you may
consider a brief quotes.
2. Insert brief quotes: You may follow each
title one or two quotes from your speeches or other authorities
in your field which support the title.
3. Write an Introduction: Begin each chapter
with 6-8 paragraphs of introduction. The introduction may include
a short story presenting the chapter's main principle or underlying
thesis. For short books 3 to 4 paragraphs work best. You don't
want your introduction to over power your chapter.
4. Create an opening statement: For example,
you could open each chapter with a thought provoking question
or a startling statistic that show where your audience is now
(before reading your book.) Many authors begin with a short
analogy or story. Whatever you decide to open with, create an
attention getter to hook your reader.
5. Prepare a thesis statement: After your short
introduction including your hook (opening statement), write
your thesis. Keep it simple; let your readers know what benefits
await them if they keep reading. For example, one author friend
uses sizzling bullet points to entice the reader into the chapter.
You may place them right below quote or directly below introduction.
Write 7 to 10 points: Next, you may be write lessons
or present tools used to achieve the goal presented in the introduction.
Condense your material as you develop each point. Some lessons
may require one paragraph and others may need several.
7. Include case studies: Incorporate one or
more story form case studies that support the chapter's central
8. Add self-evaluation tools: Add brief questions
that permit readers to measure their progress with each of the
principles described inside the chapters.
9. Summarize your chapter. Each chapter may
end with four to eight paragraphs that summarize the central
idea and supporting points. Don't forget to hold the carrot
out at the end: insert 1-2 sentences at the end of your summary
to entice your readers with benefits waiting in the next chapter.
10. Use engagement tools. Create active participants
of your book readers using engagement tools like worksheets
and note sheets. Make lists, questions to ponder or boxed tips
to actively engage your readers instead of allowing them to
out of your comfort zone and create a yellow brick road for
each chapter. Use the simple template above and before you know
it you'll speed write your book to completion. Enjoy the journey.
Life is made easier.
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This article was posted on July 2, 2008