Threads of yesterday's literature from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland to Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five and Richard Adam's Watership Down have been unravelled to reveal the craft of creating the whole cloth, duringLOST's construction, in Sarah Clarke Stuart's first book, recently published by New York based Continuum Press.
It is the latest structure in the cottage industry which has grown around the popular made-for-television series, fueled by fans as fanatic as the world-wide Trekkie phenomenon. The University of North Florida English Department Professor Stuart's earlier course, based on "Religion in Sci-Fi Television" was featured in the nationally circulating publication TV Guide Magazine.
Earlier this week she described to Clay County Writers, the process which propelled her first book from query to publication,the "traditional way", within 12 months. And placed her book Literary Lost ABOVE Stephen King's On Writing on the virtual LOST University Reading List!
If you're not a television viewer, and not in the LOST loop, you may think most of the aforementioned data doesn't affect you.
But, the basic process of getting a concept on paper in the form of a query which appeals to the publisher's bottom line, applies to any non-fiction project. What is evident in Prof. Stuart's "How-I-Did-It" tale is the research, leg work and pre-marketing she applied before creating her platform to pitch at an academic venue.
She was not coy listing why her proposal, and academic qualifications plus pre-publicity and potential high-profile author endorsements, would enhance the chances of Literary Lost filling a need. Part of her proposal included marketing potential.
Her focus on the narrow niche of an educational tool, compared to a more general mass-market entertainment option, emphasises there are always ready made markets for experts and specialists, no matter what the field.
She's currently working on her next book, targeted for the mass-market potential based on Nielsen viewer ratings of the Sci-Fi television show Fringe. The working title is Into the Looking Glass: A Companion Guide to 'Fringe'.
And again, the pre-publication research is given an intense workout before the "creative writing" portion of the project which will eventually be viewed by the public.