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Cccdb9b238906d71c9359d28bf5b2662_pragsmall
28 Oct 2010, 18:24
Sam Rawlins (5 posts)

In starting to write the writing sample for a book, I’m not sure where to start or where to make a lot of progress. So far I have been just writing where the interest and words come to me. But outside of that strategy, is it good to try to start a sample of more than one “chapter?” Is it better to instead try to focus on really fleshing out one section, in order to show a more representative sample of a finished product?

Thanks in advance!

Dsc00765_pragsmall
29 Oct 2010, 02:01
Susannah Davidson Pfalzer (114 posts)

Hi Sam,

A few suggestions: don’t start with Chapter 1. That’s the hardest chapter to write, because you need a good sense of your book’s direction and content to write it - which won’t happen till you get further into it. Instead, start with a topic you feel really comfortable with and can explain easily. Your plan of writing wherever your interests take you, is a good one!

As to whether to flesh out one section: it’ll probably take at least a chapter’s worth of writing before you have a sense of how things will flow. Work on sketching out at least a chapter or two before moving to close work on one section.

The more you write, the more you’ll find a pattern that works for you.

Cccdb9b238906d71c9359d28bf5b2662_pragsmall
29 Oct 2010, 17:08
Sam Rawlins (5 posts)

Thanks Susannah!

Along the same lines, I was wondering if a lot of the sample ( / first few dozen pages we write) should include some of the most advanced topics we intend to cover. Submitting a sample of what amounts to common knowledge can’t be very inspiring. At the same time, the most advanced topics are hopefully the most engaging and fun to write.

Dsc00765_pragsmall
29 Oct 2010, 19:44
Susannah Davidson Pfalzer (114 posts)

Absolutely - especially if this is a writing sample you’ll include with a proposal. It’s not that you have to avoid the basics, but you’re right: your writing sample should show why your book is unique. Above all, do whatever you can to communicate the excitement you feel about that topic through your writing sample.

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