Svec: Balance, Our Most Delicate Sense

Balance cover

Balance cover


Carol Svec
Chicago Review Press, September 1, 2017, $26.99
ISBN-10: 1613734824; ISBN-13: 978-1613734827
Also available as e-readers for Kindle and Nook,
and as an audio book (MP3 and CD)

Svec reports:

Balance was inspired by witnessing my mother fall head-first onto a concrete floor, resulting in two skull fractures. She was walking up three steps and simply lost her balance. That was a powerful impetus. Happily, my mom is doing well today.

Carol Svec

Carol Svec

Developing the proposal was … different. For 15 years, I had been a coauthor or ghostwriter for medical professionals. That requires a specific set of skills, including writing in someone else’s voice. Balance was just me. I went through several iterations of the proposal, but my agent always sent it back with a note to “make it sound more like you.” Eventually, I got a little snarky and submitted a proposal that was totally, completely, over-the-top me. I expected to be advised to rein it in, but my agent loved it. That’s the style we went with.

I chose Chicago Review Press as my publisher because I love their eclectic mix of quirky authors, and because they keep a strong backlist of books, which is important in today’s market.

If I could go back and do it again, I would change the way I initially researched the topic. My usual method is to suck up every bit of written information available, organize by chapter, write the basics, then use expert interviews for support and interest.

With Balance, that initial research grab left me in a sea of paper — about 400 articles that couldn’t always be clearly categorized into my chapter list. The scope of Balance is huge.

My process changed to identifying and interviewing leading experts first. They explained the intricacies of their particular slice of balance in ways I couldn’t get from research alone, and they were happy to introduce me to other experts and recommend seminal journal articles. They set the tone for each chapter. I wish I had known that before complicating the process with a glut of paper.

My advice for aspiring writers is to not be afraid of putting yourself into your writing. Your personality is part of your style. Embrace it. Be a science storyteller.

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Oct. 11, 2017

Drexel University online