Friday, September 11, 2009

Wondering about converting part of Chapter 1 into an introduction

In looking over the first chapter it seemed that the draft was trying both to introduce the book and begin the teaching process. Sometimes this works fine, but I think this book needs to be unusually intentional about distinguishing and defining itself in the mind of the prospective reader.

Also, I had noticed earlier that at several points the author refers succinctly to the book's purpose. So I took the parts of Chapter 1 that focus on introducing the book to the reader, collected the references from later in the book referring to the book's purpose, and wrote a cover note to the author suggesting he create a brief introduction--which we will need to title in a way that draws the reader's attention.

Introductions are often overlooked by readers, and I usually counsel authors not to put anything in them that is critical to the content. In this case, however, I think we may be able to tie the title of the introduction to the title of the book in such a way that would draw attention, and thereby serve the goal of defining the book for the reader. An excerpt from my note to Brian:

The purpose of this introduction is to answer obliquely a series of questions that almost always exist implicitly in the mind of the prospective reader, questions that are more important than usual in this case, given the nature of the book. Not every one of these questions needs to be addressed, but they are certainly all worth thinking about.

  • What, exactly, is this book about?
  • How is it differentiated from other, similar books?
  • Why should I read this book and not any one of 1000 other books on the Christian life?
  • What will I gain from reading it?
  • Will my benefit be worth the cost?
  • Is this author able to connect with me through clear and straightforward writing?
    • Does he seem to know what he is talking about?
    • Does he have reasonable credentials to write on this subject?
    • Do I feel welcomed into this book?
    • Is the author going to lecture me or encourage me? (Does he motivate by grace?)


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