05 March 2010

The FIST Handbook

Writing magazine articles, as I have done for several years now, requires a significant degree of restraint and summarization, because there’s only so much you can say about a topic in a couple pages. Inevitably an article writer is forced to gloss over certain nuances, omit interesting sidelines and neglect many possible sources. It goes with the territory.

I’m not complaining about this – I chose to write short magazine articles, and I happily accept the restrictions of my chosen medium. But it is something I’m always aware of as I write. It’s an interesting challenge to make sure the article covers the essentials, as honestly and completely as possible, without giving in to distractions or unessentials. And yeah, sometimes I struggle with the necessity of leaving out stuff that I'd like to include, facts I'd like to mention and nuances I'd like to explore.

Over the past few years, I realized that many of these articles, as limited as they are, have become part of a larger story. It occurred to me that I’m not really just writing a series of articles – I’m actually writing a book, but I’m publishing it 2500 words at a time. That doesn’t mean every article I write is part of this "virtual book," but I have come to view many of my articles as chapters in a larger opus.

So, I've collected a bunch of the related articles into The FIST Handbook. When you put them side by side like this, they ARE able to investigate, explore and address many of the nuances and interesting sidebars of the bigger picture. Each article stands alone, but I'd like to think that when you put them all together like this, the result is greater than the sum of its parts.

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