On This Day In Food History - July 15.

Hippolyte Mege-Mouries of Paris was granted a patent for margarine, It was made from rendered beef and/or mutton tallow that was mechanically treated and then mixed with soured skimmed milk to form an emulsion which solidified consistently at above room temperature, and had a longer-lasting shelf life than butter.

 

The Brain needs a Rest

One of the challenges in doing a large-scale project that requires a certain amount of effort in order to be "good" is that this effort requires, for lack of a better term, brain-power. 

In my real-world job, I work as an engineer for an aerospace company located here in the PacNW. This job also requires, for lack of a better term, brain-power. When I get home from a particularly challenging day of contemplating problems relating to process and product,  transitioning from one mental-intensive activity to a completely different mental-intensive activity, is a bit of a challenge. 

This post is reflective of that, as I am only posting today in order to facilitate this transition. Because I am currently spent.

 

The Research Draft

In an effort to explain (and define) my process for writing a book, I'm going to document what I do when trying to get to a recognizable end result. 

The first 'draft' isn't really a draft. It's akin to note carding, where one takes a slew of notes and write them on note cards, and then determine the narrative from the facts that one has uncovered.

I do something similar, but instead of note carding, I use Scrivener to collect notes and digitally do the same thing that posting the note cards to a cork board will do.

At this point, I am a sponge. I take in and consider most reputable pieces of information, even those only tangentially related to the topic of the book. This will go on for months. 

Once I get a fair bit of data, I look for a narrative. This narrative is never set in stone. When new data is uncovered, it has the potential to update and even upend the flow of the story I think should be told. 

Once the narrative is found, and once I feel confident in the story the book should be telling, I establish this as the baseline of the book. This is the research draft.  Once it's established, I spend the next several drafts tearing it apart. 

The Right To Ignore

Back when blogging was in its infancy, I held the belief that everyone had something interesting to say. Therefore, the blogging platform was a revolutionary piece of technology that removed some of the gates that used to prevent people from being heard.

That's changed somewhat over the past few years. Or rather, my perspective has become more nuanced. 

While I agree that people have the right to speak their mind, that's not the same thing as the right to be heard. No one has the right to be heard. To put it another way, I still have the right to ignore whatever speech I deem inappropriate, rude, untrue, or simply uninteresting. 

The frustration is that many people wish to circumvent the latter point - either through SEO, or even virtually shouting on the Internet. This gets tiresome quickly, and seperating the wheat from the chaff of ideas becomes more and more of a challenge.

What Am I Working On?

There are two paths I want to follow - traditional publishing, and then self-publishing. I do this mostly because one of the topics I want to write about is in a historically over-saturated marketplace - Guidebooks.

I'll fill you in on the details as they are discovered and/or created and then evolved, but I wanted to write a travel guidebook that I'd be interested in reading fully, rather than the 10% of the value I typically get from most. I have a rough outline of what this should look like, but it's still a rather new concept, so...stay tuned? You've seen bits and pieces of this idea already on this site, but it's time to formalize the concept. 

This will be the self-published book, in case you haven't yet guessed.

The second project I will try to sell to traditional publishing houses - and it's about the history of Apple Pie.  What makes this different is the approach I wish to take.  

Like the guidebook, it's still a relatively informal idea that I'm still toying with in my head.  The book proposal will need a fair bit of work, and I believe I want to get a majority of chapters in place before I write the proposal, a tactic different from my previous approaches.  

I'm writing these down now as a formal commitment to these ideas, as immature as they are.  I'll bring y'all in on the bits and pieces of them when appropriate to do so.