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An Interactive Challenge

Writing a social and cultural issues manuscript can be quite fun.

As with writing a historical nonfiction manuscript, by “fun,” Innovative Editing means the nerdy kind. Which, in some people’s opinion, can be pretty awesome.

According to some people's opinions, when you truly delve into a subject matter of your choice and interest, exploring it for all its worth – its societal, scientific, global, personal, intellectual, emotional, spiritual and/or psychological implications – it can lead to eye-widening, mouth-gaping, spine-tingling moments of illumination.

Plus, when writing a social and cultural issues manuscript in particular, you have the added benefit of being able to…

Get up close and personal.

When you’re writing in the social and cultural issues genre, you become a sociologist or anthropologist since sociologists study human behavior and development in general and anthropologists study human behavior and development among more specific groups or areas.

Either way, it’s your responsibility to get up close and personal with the facts and artifacts available. More of the former than the latter. That means relying on a whole lot of first-person accounts through interviews and interactions.

(Editorial Disclaimer: In describing sociologists and anthropologists, the Writing Challenge above is no doubt just scratching the surface of the two studies. In fact, being neither a sociology nor an anthropology-specific business, Innovative Editing might be slightly inaccurate in its understandings of the subject...

(So if there are any sociologists or anthropologists reading this, feel free to write in with a correction to clear the matter up.)

Editorial disclaimers aside, considering how much one-on-one interactions you’re going to have to do in order to put together a proper account, here’s hoping you’re not an introvert. Otherwise, you’re going to start feeling pretty cranky pretty quickly.

Or perhaps you can partner with someone in writing your social and cultural issues manuscript? You can handle the theorizing and writing while your co-author takes care of the field research.

Because when if you're going to accept this Writing Challenge (i.e., handle this genre the way it should be handled), there really is a lot of field research.

Here's just a taste of what you might need to do...

  • Interview as many experts as possible.

  • Interview people who disagree with your premise or theory, who see the situation from uniquely different perspectives or who are otherwise on the outside. That way, you can better paint a picture of how your chosen group is viewed from the outside in.

  • Create questionnaires for people who fall into your selected category. Hand them out to as large a population as possible, making sure people know that the results will be used in a published study.

  • Schedule some interviews with people within your key group or study. The more the better. Ask them how they feel about themselves, their causes, their group and so much more. Along those lines, notice more than what they say. Also pay attention to how they say it. Any hesitations they give. Any topics they flat-out refuse to talk about.

  • Fully immerse yourself in the culture in question. Eat with them. Live with them. Get to know them and let them get to know you to foster as open and honest data-gathering possibilities as possible.

Now, you don’t have to do all of those. But you really do want to do as many as you can.

That way, when you’re done writing your social and cultural issues manuscript, it’s going to be as amazing an adventure as possible.

And, more than likely, you’ll have had some serious fun along the way.


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