Sunday, June 29, 2008

Writing Non-fiction: Session 6 - Making the Most of Your Outline


In session 5, we developed the major sections of the non-fiction book and the chapter topics within the sections in preparation for writing a non-fiction book. Now it’s time to start working on sub-topics and content.

Outline #4: Break down the outline for your book to the next level. The previous outline is your list of sections and chapters. This next level then will list the main topics for each chapter. So, for each chapter title, make a list of topics that will be covered in that chapter. Here’s how I broke down my outline:

Outline #4

Book Title: A Manual for Adult Children of Aging Parents

Part I: How to get started

Chapter 1: Care-giving then and now
1. Overview of care-giving
2. Care-giving years ago
3. Care-giving now
4. Care-giving long distance

Chapter 2: Transition to dependence
1. Sudden onset of dependence
2. Gradual onset of dependence
3. How to assess your parent’s independence


Part II: Assessing what’s needed

Chapter 3: Can your parent live alone again?
1. Identifying potential problems
2. Determining how much to intervene


Chapter 4: Assessing your parent’s skills
1. Household skills
2. Community skills
3. Communication skills
4. Financial skills
5. Leisure skills
6. Emotions

Chapter 5: Assessing living environments
1. In-home options
2. Modifying the home

Part III: Setting the stage for care-giving

Chapter 6: Health care professionals and what they do
1. Neurologist
2. Ophthalmologist
3. Occupational therapist
4. Speech/language pathologist
5. Audiologist
6. Physical therapist
7. Nutritionist
8. CNA
9. Nurse
10. Geriatric manager


Chapter 7: Finding help
1. Finding help (full-time, in home)
2. Finding respite help

Chapter 8: Out-of-home options
1. Retirement home
2. Group home
3. Assisted living
4. Nursing care

Part IV: Day-to-day care-giving

Chapter 9: Establishing a daily routine
1. Bathroom/dressing routines
2. Mealtime routines
3. Leisure routines
4. Medication routines


Chapter 10: Scheduling appointments and assistance
1. Medical/rehab appointments
2. Beauty/Barber appointments
3. Adult daycare
4. Leisure/social appointments


Chapter 11: Resources
1. Out-patient services through a rehab center
2. Transportation assistance
3. Financial assistance

Chapter 12: Socialization *
1. Importance of social contacts
2. Assessing interests
3. Developing/implementing a plan to keep up interests

Chapter 13: Taking care of the caregiver
1. Importance of health, nutrition and rest
2. Time to recharge.
3. Emotional well-being.


Turning the outline for your non-fiction book into text: Continue to break down the most recent level of topics into sub-topics then into sub-sub-topics and on and on until it is broken down into as minute and detailed an outline as you need. When you reach a level where you feel you are ready to write, start writing the text under each topic and sub-topic in your outline.

Example outline

The outline above is very simple and very symmetrical. Yours may be messier. That’s okay. You don’t have to feel compelled to break all the topics into an equal number of smaller parts. For some of them, the topics will have no sub-topics. For others, you may go to sub-headings then sub-sub-headings under those. For example, in “Chapter 12: Socialization” we have three topics. Not all of them need to be broken down in the book I’m writing.

*Chapter 12: Socialization
1. Importance of social contacts: This topic is divided about as far as I need it to be. I’ll just start off this chapter with how important socialization is to combating depression and to rehabilitation, etc.

2. Assessing interests: This is a bigger topic, and before I write it, I’ll need to break it into smaller topics, such as,

a. Active interests
b. Cognitive interests
c. Solo v. group interests
d. Entertaining routines
e. Feelings of worth

3. Developing/implementing a plan to keep up interests: This one is also a bigger topic and needs to be divided into smaller topics, such as,

a. Setting aside time for leisure activities (reading, TV, sewing, cards, etc.)
b. Acquiring assistive devices needed to implement leisure activities (e.g., magnification: large print books, large print cards, adaptive sewing supplies, etc.)
c. Providing instruction
d. Providing encouragement by working together
e. Celebrating accomplishments.

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