The Jacke Wilson One-Word Test: Are Your Themes What You Expected?

Years ago The New Yorker ran a cartoon after Ken Burns had just come out with his second major documentary, Baseball. (The first, of course, had been the masterpiece The Civil War.) The cartoon showed a man’s hand holding a piece of paper with “Ken Burns To-Do List” at the top. Underneath the title it said:

WAR

SPORTS

BABES

I thought of this when writing the third book I plan to release. My list could be:

POLITICS

LAW

MONEY

Fascinating! As a trilogy, you could call it AMERICA and not be far off. I’ll put the series name in bold:

POLITICS

LAW

MONEY

AMERICA

What would you call the Ken Burns trilogy? That’s the joke, really. In the cartoon it would be: 

WAR

SPORTS

BABES

DUDES

But we knew that wasn’t really what Ken Burns had in mind. And in fact, this third documentary was Jazz, giving us something more like this:

WAR

SPORTS

MUSIC

AMERICANA

Revealing! (Side note: I couldn’t give him America! I already took it for myself. This is Jacke’s blog, not Ken’s.) And so… announcing….

The Jacke Wilson One-Word Test

  1. Take three books you’ve written or plan to write.
  2. Force yourself to encapsulate each one with a single word.
  3. Are all three words the same? (And if so, are you okay with that?)
  4. If they’re different, what word most plausibly fits as the summary?
  5. Are you happy with the results? Is it what you expected? Is it consistent with how you view your work?

Feel free to post your results in the comments!

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