Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Nail fungus infection is not a choice of yours.

I'm sorry! I was cleaning out the spam this morning and came across that gem of a title. I just had to use it.

What I mean by it is: here is a report on book writing progress. The book's content is between eighty and ninety percent done (hard to say exactly). The more I write the more I like it, but it is not yet done. Five of my closest colleague-friends, those who may see what I have written before anyone may see what I have written, have received "early-early" review copies of the incomplete book. All others on the reviewer list (and I thank each and every one of them for their patience) will receive the "early" version for review as soon as anybody may see it.

However I will show you the high-level table of contents, in case you have any feedback on the book's structure, and so you can see that I am still writing it. Color key:
  • new writing in red
  • writing from the blog (cleaned up and improved) in blue, blue for blog
  • writing from the original book (cleaned up and improved) in green, green for growth
  • parts yet to be finished in shocking purple
The contents:

Part One: Introduction and Evaluation
Chapter 1: Introduction
What this book is for
Why I wrote this book
This book and you
Notes on the book
Chapter 2: Why Work with Stories?
Why work with stories?
Why work with stories?
Why work with stories?
[Summary/Resources/Activities repeat in each chapter, some done some not]
Part Two: Fundamentals of Story Work
Chapter 3: What Is a Story?
The ant and the dove
Definitions of story, stories of definition
A working definition
Chapter 4: What Are Stories For?
Stories are maps of experience
Stories are sounding devices
Stories are elements of play
Stories are packages of meaning
Chapter 5: How Do Stories Work?
Stories in society
Stories in conversation
Stories in use
Stories in stories
Stories in personalities
Part Three: A Guide to Participatory Narrative Inquiry
Chapter 6: Introducing Participatory Narrative Inquiry
PNI definitions
PNI phases
PNI principles
Chapter 7: Project Planning
Knowing your storytellers
Knowing your topic
Considering privacy
Chapter 8: Story Collection
Methods of story collection
Asking people to tell stories
Diverse questions for diverse motivations
How many stories to collect
Asking questions about stories
Facilitating group story sessions
Story collection exercises
Chapter 9: Narrative Catalysis
Chapter 10: Narrative Sensemaking
Chapter 11: Narrative Intervention
Chapter 12: Narrative Return
Part Four: Advanced Topics in PNI
Chapter 13: Advanced Introduction to PNI
PNI justified
PNI in context
PNI opportunities
PNI dangers
Chapter 14: Becoming a PNI Practitioner
The essential skills of a PNI practitioner
Breadth and depth in story work
Evaluations of story work
Chapter 15: Advanced Topics in Project Planning
Habits of story planning
Planning projects with the story uses triangle
Planning projects with stories in personalities
Transparency in PNI projects
Resolving tensions between needs
Practical ethics in story work
Chapter 16: Advanced Topics in Story Collection
Habits of story collection
Story collecting venues and story personalities
How not to ask too many questions about stories
When you can't ask questions about stories
Transcribing storytelling
What to expect when you're expecting stories
The story fundamentals questions expanded
Chapter 17: Advanced topics in Narrative Catalysis
Chapter 18: Advanced Topics in Narrative Sensemaking
Chapter 19: Advanced Topics in Narrative Intervention
Chapter 20: Advanced topics in Narrative Return
Part Five: PNI Stories
Chapter 21: PNI Stories from Other Lands
Collecting stories in a poor urban community (Jonathan Carter)
Helping a community market listen to its customers (John Caddell)
Evaluating effectiveness helping youth in foster care (Stephen Shimshock)
Using a specific narrative process to face conflictual situations (Stephane Dangel)
Chapter 22: PNI Stories from My Journey
Incorporating narrative into e-learning
Probing a wound gently
Holding up a mirror
We said, they said
Too much and too little
Contradicting ourselves
Shooting the messenger
The near miss
Discovering the obvious
10-15 more of these stories left to clean up
Acknowledgements and biography

You could look at this and say, "What? You have so much left to do! All those shocking purple parts!" But of course the introduction, planning and story collection parts would be the longest. The other parts will be much shorter and faster to write, so I do see a sort of light at the end of the tunnel. I am working on the catalysis section now, writing by PNI phase, sorting into basic and advanced as I go.

The "PNI stories" should end up at between 20 and 25 when I'm finished: this will be a sort of (highly anonymized/fictionalized) "folk tale collection" of stories about things I've learned from projects I've done: not "case studies" or "best practices" but more like a trial and error parade. The format is the same as in the previous case studies, but there are just lots of them now. I have notes on all of these stories but about half remain to be cleaned up. Sort of like a nail fungus infection, which is no choice of mine or yours, just something that remains to be dealt with.

Why I am I telling you this? Because the blog was hungry; to let you know I'm still writing; because I wouldn't mind some feedback on the organization of the material; because winter is coming; because I found such an excellent spam title.

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