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Non-Fiction

Hi, I'm currently beginning to write a book about illness and aiding yourself in recovering and/or living with it. I go into catagories about the current medical system, natural alternatives, vitamins and supplements. Cleansing and dieting.

Now I myself have suffered from illness for my entire life and I decided to write this book to inform other people who are also suffering from illness (I'm aiming to specify the material to what I experienced with intestinal toxicity and it's effects on the body) but don't quite understand what to do about it and how to deal with it.

Now my main question is whether I should be writing this book in a position where I'm talking directly to the reader throughout?

Ex. "You must learn to snap out of blaming your illness on other aspects of your life, this only further creates an environment of negativity that makes the healing process much more difficult."

Or should I be speaking in generals? Ex. "The most important thing for someone who suffers from disease is to snap out of blaming their illness on other aspects of their life, this only further creates an environment of negativity that makes the healing process much more difficult."

I'm viewing this book as essentially a self help book and I want to write it in a style that will have the most impact on the reader.

Now I'm just beginning this book and it's the first I've ever written. I'm sure I'll have more questions about grammar etc.

Many thanks in advance for your help.  

Answer
Hello Ryan:

Hmmm. You have asked a tough question. It largely depends on how you want your book to be viewed, and your personal qualifications to write on this subject.

If you are a doctor or a psychologist, some professional person, the more formal tone would be more suitable because it lends a certain authority to the text. A professional would probably include suggestions for treatment, medicines you might try, etc.

But if the book is about your personal experience with illness, I would stick to the more relaxed tone. I personally prefer this example to the more formal tone in the second example, and I believe your readers will too. However, it is possible that you may end up using both.

When you are describing your personal experiences and telling what you learned through the course of your illness, a casual tone is appropriate. But when you report on the literature, recent developments, research studies, etc., a more authorative tone might sound better and feel more comfortable to you.

Style can certainly have an impact on the reader, but in a book like this what really grabs the reader are the images you plant in their mind. I have written an article on what it's like to have AADD; it's posted online. If you will go to http://www.associated content.com (you'll have to cut and paste as this site does not support hyperlinks) and type my name into the search box at the top, you'll find it. I tried there to create images that would give the reader a sharp idea of what it's actually like to have AADD. At least one person wrote to say it gave him a clear picture.

Vivid, meaningful images and emotions are what readers remember. Try to get that in - if you succeed, no one will care about your style.

I hope this has helped. If it has, a nice rating would be greatly appreciated. I am proud of my high score over 570+ questions.

And good luck witn your book!

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Susan Rand

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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 http://pygmypress.com, 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.

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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.

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BA degree in Written Communication

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