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What writing project should I begin?

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I thought it would be nice to get some input on potential writing projects and see what some of you would be most likely to read if you were to encounter the below ideas. Or, feel free to suggest a different idea for me to consider. 


Project ideas:

  • A nonfiction book on religion and mysticism, and why the Objectivist view of atheism is correct. In a former life, I was a Christian and a graduate from a Baptist seminary. I have a master's degree in divinity, with a specialization in Christian thought and emphasis on Christian apologetics. Nowadays, I have little interest in thinking about religious or mystical notions. But with my background I'm thinking it might be a good idea to do this project.
  • A novel. Not much to say here except that I have a thousand-and-one story ideas I could choose from and get to work on. If I don't write a novel now, I'll write one (or a few) later in life. It might be a fun challenge one day to take an idea from someone in this forum and build the story around it. 
  • A nonfiction book on grammar and the craft of writing. I'm a journalist and have worked as a copy editor for various newspapers for several years. This project would focus on clean, precise prose from a copy-editor's perspective and give clear explanations for using proper grammar. 
  • A guidebook on how to have the sex life you desire, with fulfilling friendships and romantic relationships. I don't know if I'd name it exactly that way. It would probably be self-published as an ebook; I think that's the best way to market it and to reach the intended audience. My view on sexual relationships is one of the rare areas where I may differ with Rand to some degree (though I find no difference of opinion in The Virtue of Selfishness). A core aspect of the book would incorporate her admonition to pursue people with high values, whether in sex, friendships or romance.
  • An ebook on a defense of Ayn Rand and Objectivism against the most common attacks from naysayers. I'd aim for brevity and clarity so that the book could be educational to people new to Objectivism and serve as a refresher or pocket guide to Objectivists who might ask, "What, again, is the best, concise response to this attack?"
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I would be most interested in #'s 1 and 2. As for #1, I wonder how much new information you could contribute to the topic (ie: how would your book be different from other books about atheism, or other books about seminarian-turned-atheist?) As for #2, novels are everyone's favorite. :) I like the idea of multiple books (ie: Stephen King's Dark Tower series) with meaningful themes that are written over the course of years. I mention King because he's written some epic novels that are so unbelievably interesting and hard to put down- DT is like that over the course of 7 books.

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I think it really depends on your motivations for writing. I'm actually working on a novel at the moment, and I have another one shelved. I write because it's ridiculously fun, and since I'm out of school I need something a bit more 'productive' to do in my off hours (taking the place of homework). 


If you're going for productivity, then I'd recommend number 1 or 2 simply because they'll probably make more of an impact and might be more fun. The 'new atheists' (Dawkins, Hitchens, etc.) all have similar takes on God/religion. None of them really discuss why supernatural events go against reality - existence is ontologically prior to consciousness (Dawkins comes kind of close, but Sam Harris, in particular, is, I believe, a believer in mysticism.) Well written novels are always fun, so I'd pick whichever one you think you'll enjoy writing more.


Guidebooks on grammar and sex are all over the place and most of them have covered the basics. (If you have something really new to say, then ignore my misgivings, but most play on the cliche and obvious, or even spread misinformation.)


A defense of Objectivism isn't super necessary, in my opinion. You can, certainly, write one and it might be useful, but Objectivism's greatest detractors are:

1) Objectivists who squabble (open-closed system debate, who can call themselves an 'Objectivist,' whether academic Marxists are 'evil,' etc.) or

2) People who ridicule Rand's ideas without understanding them. 

While I know they exist, I've never met a person who's read, seriously, Objectivist literature and then proceeds to attack it while fully understanding it. To that end, I think the best 'guidebook' against attack is to understand Objectivism and recommend that people read it/ correct their misunderstandings. What I've learned when discussing Objectivism is to say what you believe, don't try to 'win' the debate. Because of this, I don't really think a 'guidebook' is something I'd use. 


Maybe you were meaning something closer to a list of concise arguments for a certain position, like the validation of freewill or the senses (instead of a guidebook of "What to do when someone says Ayn Rand believed "X" insane thing"). This I could see, but I'm not sure how it would depart from being a condensed version of OPAR (meaning you could just make a list of the arguments in OPAR/The O'ist Lexicon, list their page numbers to easily reference them, and have your book be less than a page of reference numbers). That said, depending on how it's approached, this one could be really good and interesting.


On a side note: Ebooks should be pretty synonymous with books. I know you can self-publish print on demand books through amazon and other places, so I'd do that with your ebook. Likewise, if you go for a novel or some other nonfiction book that you'd like to publish mainstream, then a ebook rights will be in your contract. Did you have something else in mind?

Edited by Mushroom
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