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51. The bucket list or life list

A bucket list is so named because it’s a list of things you want to do before you kick the bucket (i.e., die). A life list is another name for the same thing—a list of things you want to have done by the end of your life. What exactly this entails as far as a book for your niche goes will vary depending on the niche. If you are a homesteader, create a list of 50 or 101 homestead experiences to have before you die. If you are a surfer, write about all the places that people should aspire to surf at before they die. If you like gardening, create a book that lists a bunch of things people should try to grow before they die.

Questions

  • In a perfect world, what things relating to your niche would you like to have accomplished by the end of your life?
  • What are considered the “best” or “ultimate” things in your niche? Has anybody done, accomplished, or made them all?
  • What would it take to complete a bucket list?

Examples

52. In 140 characters

Social network and microblogging service Twitter imposes a 140-character limit on each piece of content (known as a tweet) that you publish to the site. While 140 characters might not sound like much, put together enough of them and you’ve got a book. Note that these 140-character tidbits that make up the book don’t necessarily have to be things that you’ve tweeted before, though tweeting out the tidbits can be helpful in both getting feedback from people and building an audience that could potentially be interested in your book.

Questions

  • What value would you be able to add to a topic by writing about it in 140-character chunks?
  • Can you break down your tips, wisdom, jokes, observations, etc. into short, digestible chunks?

Examples

53. The personal quest

The personal quest style of book deals with your (or someone else’s) journey or quest. There is a goal in mind, and the book documents the steps taken to reach that goal. It’s less of a how-to and more of a documentary.

Another take on this idea that also ties into one of the previous ideas is to create a bucket list for yourself (possibly a truncated version) and then document your efforts to tick off everything on the list. This would be doable if the scope of the book were something like the 10 greatest rock climbs in California as opposed to the 101 greatest climbs in the world.

Questions

  • What is something you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t yet done?
  • What is something big that you could do that would entertain or inspire others?
  • What is something that you think would be really difficult for you to do?
  • Do you know someone else who has struggled with and accomplished something really big?

Examples

54. The stunt

This is similar to the personal quest in that it documents your (or someone else’s) attempt to do something significant. The difference is that the “something significant” in this case is less… noble, for lack of a better word. You could say that it’s more for fun or an adventure than anything else. If you love all things relating to Japan, go eat at every Japanese restaurant in your city. If you love to paint, see if you can make everything you need to paint—the canvas, the paints, the brushes—yourself by hand. If you want to write about minimalism, see if you can live for a month (or year!) with one of everything—one shirt, one par of socks, one bowl, etc. The main goal here is to do something that is unorthodox or just plain crazy and then write about your experiences.

Questions

  • Find and look through a copy of The Guinness Book of World Records. Is there anything that catches your attention that you could do on a smaller or more localized scale?
  • Is there anything crazy that you’ve always wanted to do but never done because it wasn’t practical?

Examples

 

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