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Writing Books/Flow of Material


I have written a non-fiction / how-to book and have about 100 pages of finished (?) material.  The book is a combination of my personal story (sharing my experiences re: the subject matter) and how-to info. (re: the same subject matter).  I am having a problem blending the two.  Any suggestions as to how I can create a better flow between paragraphs and/or chapters?  Thanks for any help!

Dear Laureen:

I am sorry to be late with this; I did answer your question before, but apparently it didn't register.

It is difficult to know how you could best blend the two without knowing what "the two" are. Different subjects call different types of "blending." For example, there are several books published recently, fictional and non-fictional, that include personal experiences and recipies. I have not read them so I don't know how the various authors used this technique.

On the other hand, a book about how you learned to tile a bathroom might include humorous incidents that happened during the project. Much depends on how you mean to balance the book: will the personal incidents take up the bulk of the space, or is the "how to" material more important? To divide the space evenly would risk choking the reader on one or the other. Try to decide, first, where the emphasis will lie. One way to determine this would be to write the process out, step by step, in as much detail as you want to include in the book, and see exactly how long it is. If a chapter in the average book runs 5000 words, and you have only 3000 for the entire process, the personal experiences will naturally take first place.

Which is good, because your readers will be vastly more interested in your personal experiences than in the process (they can find that at Home Depot or on the internet).

If you want more help, come back with the subject(s) of your book, or you may email me privately if you'd rather not spread it around.

I hope this has helped. If so a nice rating would be greatly appreciated (or you can wait until you come back). I am proud of my "straight 10" record over 140+ questions!

And good luck with your book!

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Susan Rand


I can answer questions about the elements of fiction and non-fiction writing: how to get started, writing techniques, re-writing, etc. I will NOT write for you, do critiques except from my website at, or give you ideas. I will not answer home-or-schoolwork questions in any category. If English is your second language, please say so, and I will make an exception. Please submit no more than one or two questions at once, as I tend to go into detail in my answers.


I wrote my first book in 1957 and have been writing and studying writing since. I have a BA in Written Communications, and have taught writing both privately and through adult education for 15 years. Have also edited (fiction books) for an online publisher and edited/wrote more than 100 articles for a teen sex education site. Currently writing web content and mentoring beginning writers.

BA degree in Written Communication

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