Thursday, May 1, 2008

How's the Book Coming, Part 2

For those of you paying attention to the title of the post, I skipped directly from part 0 to part 2. There is no part 1. The part zero comes from thermodynamics, where they elaborated the first and second laws and then some smartalek came along and elaborated an even more fundamental law and since they didn't want to renumber the other laws, they made this one the zeroth law of thermodynamics.
How's the book coming? I worked on it for a short time yesterday. What happens is that as I build boats or teach others how to build boats, a light comes on now and again and I have some insight into a better way to do something or discover what I think is a reason why something was done a certain way and then want to incorporate that into the book. And so, as one comment pointed out, the writer is under the illusion that he can never finish the book because there is always more to discover.
But regardless, I'm getting closer.
One of the problems of instructional book design is that I want to cover the construction of different models of baidarkas in this book as well as different construction techniques and am wrestling with the best way to approach this problem. For instance, you can join deck beams to the gunwales either by doweling them or by doing mortise and tenon construction. I favor doweling because it is faster and simpler. However, I do want to explain how to do mortise and tenon construction. Another instance of design variation would be the use of flat ribs vs. round ribs. My dilemma is how to best organize the information so as not to confuse the reader with a whole bunch of options.
I personally like information presented in a sequential manner and don't like having to skip around to consult appendices in other parts of the book, but to have all the options in the main flow of the book would be confusing, it seems. I think I'm talking myself into having a main flow, a recommended way of building the boat with options at the end of each chapter.
By the way, the second edition will have all the info from the first edition, but there will also be info on how to build different models of baidarkas, like the long skinny ones from Akun and a short version of my own creation, plus two seaters and so on. And there will be a lot more pictures. I want the thing to be more like a comic book with pictures leading the way.

1 comment:

Tom Milani said...

I'm not sure if this is realistic from a financial or printing point of view, but one way to show alternatives would be on fold-out pages. If the reader is interested, he or she can open the fold-out and read about the alternative, but if not, the reader can skp the fold-out without the book's flow being interrupted.

I'm looking forward to the revision, but I think The Aleutian Kayak is the best SOF building book I've read.

--Tom