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I’m studying a writing Masterclass at the moment with James Patterson. It’s really good. If you have any interest or desire to ever write a book, I highly encourage to sign up. Could be the best $80 you ever spent.
I’m taking the class because I’m in the middle of writing UBERNOMICS and I want it to be a good read. I want the content to be valuable. I want the opening line to be a killer. And I want people to feel like the time they took to read my book, instead of the millions of other books out there, would be time well spent.
Writing a book is tough.
More than 1 million manuscripts are currently searching for a publisher in the US alone. Only 1% of them will get the nod. If those stats aren’t daunting enough for you consider that only 30% of books ever turn a profit.
“Books are never finished. They are merely abandoned“. Oscar Wilde
These days, it is so easy to publish a book that the barriers to entry are pretty low. Self publishing means that anyone can be an author, in proud possession of their very own ISBN number, but of course that just means there is a lot more average writing than at any other time in history.
So what should you write?
And why should anyone care?
We all have different motivations for writing. Some want to be published to become famous. Others want to have a successful book in order to command speaking fees on the conference circuit. Others just want to tell a good story and feel the satisfaction of creating something.
I just want to tell the story about Uber that hasn’t been told properly before. I think it’s a very interesting story, and a dramatic one as well, not just for business readers but for anyone interested in mystery, crime, politics, gossip and celebrity.
But it all started with one question…
I started by asking myself, “What if I wrote a book… what would it be about?”
The two protagonists in my book, Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp (the co-founders of Uber) started their story with a question of their own, “What if we could push a button and a car would arrive in 5 minutes?”
All good stories what with a “what if….?”
That’s why I love that James Patterson’s writing masterclass starts with a link to the What-if-inator. It is a playful little writing tool with the sole purpose of trying to get you thinking differently about plots, stories and what might make a good narrative.
What if…. Henry Ford was like Mozart?
What if… Prince Charles was connected to Saladin by a secret society?
What if… Wilbur Wright had access to virtual reality?
I watched the Good Dinosaur on my way back from Sweden this week. Cute film. It started with the same question (as do all Pixar movies)… “What if the meteor missed the earth and the dinosaurs didn’t become extinct?”. and there you have it – the premise of a good movie.
What’s YOUR “What if….?”