Friday, March 14, 2008

How's the Book Coming, Part zero?


Every few weeks or so, I get email asking me how the new version of The Aleutian Kayak is coming. Then I type something to the effect that I have taken all the photos and have written a good deal of it and have all the chapters in place and all that's left is editing and more artwork - line drawings and then layout and so on.
If you've ever done a book or pamphlet or anything of the type, you know that that means the book is only about halfway done. If it were text only, a month of sequestration and lots of coffee in the morning and beers in the afternoon and a sore butt and calloused fingers later and the thing could be done. But it's more complex than that. Every time I sit down to work on the book, new ideas arise and I go off on making notes for new stuff to add to the book or revise stuff I've already written. At that rate, the book will never be finished. My wife perceives my dilemma accurately. Recently she asked me what I was doing and I said, working on the book. And she said, oh yes, the never ending book project.
But honestly, I want to finish this thing. For one thing, people want me to write this book. For another, I have more good info to share since the first version. After all, a decade and a half have passed.
No doubt you can't wait to hear what the real reason for the three-part keelson is, or the bifurcated bow, or the bones or the transom stern. All these mysteries will be turned into non-mysteries by the new book.
So anyway, keep writing me and asking me how the book is coming, because the more people I tell that it will be finished soon, the greater the pressure will be to actually finish it.
And someone at SSTIKS 2006 told me that they thought the first version was funny. I promise you, the next version will be even funnier. I don't remember putting any jokes in the book. The humor must have been unintentional. Still, if people want funny, I'm willing to give it a try.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I for one am looking forward to the newest version of your book.

Right now used ones on the online book chains are $120. I have been taking the copy out of the library in the meantime.

From the sounds of things I will be done my boat before you are done your book, but it is my first, and I am sure many more are on the way!

wolfgang said...

You're right. You can build a boat faster than I can write a book about it. But the fact that people ask me about the book encourages me to strive toward a deadline.

Anonymous said...

The ordeal of revising a book must be excruciating on many levels, especially a book that everyone agrees is the best resource available. I would bite the bullet and buy one of those horribly expensive used copies (none of my local libraries have a copy), if I didn't think you were going to issue a new edition, eventually. I've found your "instructable" on the Greenland Kayak and that has been a tremendous help and resource in building the boat I'm working on now. Thank you very much for that, by the way. A book that instructs how to do something as complex and "artful" as the Aleutian kayak is probably never truly perfect...I look forward to a new version that is "good enough".

Niels said...

I also bought my book for about 100 euro(!!) in an onlineshop. But I like it verry much and build my first Baidarka last year. I will start the second one in one of the next weeks.
Now hurry up Wolfgang help me with the third, fourth...

Lance said...

I see I'm one of many eagerly awaiting the new version. I've only built Greenland boats, but would like to try a baidarka after I see the book.

Your Greenland-boat construction techniques are unlike what I've seen elsewhere. Do you plan a book or article laying out how your approach and techniques differ from what else is out there?

Wolfgang Brinck said...

In answer to Lance's question about Greenland style kayak construction, my way of building these boats derives partly from personal invention, partly from Petersen's book "Instructions in Kayak Building" and partly from watching Danish boat builder Svend Ulstrup build boats. I've also had a chance to look at some Greenland kayks in the flesh and that has influenced some of my technique.
The difference between what I do and what other books tell you to do seems to be mostly in the way that other people do the ribs. I find their explanations for sizing ribs overly complicated.
If you have some specific questions about my approach, go ahead and ask and I will try to explain either in this blog or on my website.