My non-fiction writing is technical. Deeply technical. Computer programming in Python, to be specific. (Under a different name, not F. L. Stevens.)
I’m working on a second edition of one of the books. That’s fun.
The writing schedule is generous. The first bunch of drafts require a lot of brain-scrambling thinking and a lot of time. The second edition rewrite is a matter of fixing problems and reworking the example code to be Python 3.6.
Meanwhile, I’m also working on book two of Tales of the Red Ranger. 125,000 words down, maybe 50,000 to go.
There are some parallels between a second edition of non-fiction and parts of writing fiction. It’s weak, but here’s what I noticed.
I’m addicted to the “Hero’s Journey” three-act story line. First, the quest is refused, then accepted. Then there's a deep round of failures and blackness. Finally, the return is refused, and reluctantly accepted.
For me, there’s never a triumphant return and total vanquishing of enemies. The return is checked with problems, and enemies are never truly vanquished.
What’s important is the various stumbles on the hero’s return are a mirror of the problems overcome during the quest. In some cases, quest problems weren’t solved, they were evaded, and during the return the problems have to be confronted from a new perspective.
In a way, the third act of the book is like writing a second edition of the hero’s quest. Only this time it’s told in reverse. And the victories can be more complete.