There are some things to consider before making this new venture. First let's talk about the Muse. Have you had thoughts running through your head about a great character, or seen something as you pass by or see on television where you say, "That would make a great story!"? That, my friend, is your muse talking. Some of us brush it off saying, "Yeah right! Like I could ever write a book." Others of us run at full speed and just accept the fact that the Muse is aching to get out. There may even be some of us that are scared to death to put our thoughts on paper thinking it's just an unobtainable goal or worse yet, (gasp) people will laugh at us.
Well let me tell you some of the greatest books come from those that never thought they could do it!
Decide what you will need, a computer, a journal, coffee, music, silence, night or day. Then set goals for yourself. How many words per day are you aiming for? No matter what, write everyday and reward yourself when you've met your daily goals.
So what needs to be done for the creation of a good book?
First, you need an idea/thought. Ideas come from all around us. Something we see while driving a car, something a kid may have said during supper, a television commercial, a leaf blowing in the wind.
Once you have a thought or idea, then you need to decide where you want to take it. Who will be your main character? Will it be a man or woman? What is he/she like? Caddy? Strong? Sarcastic? Beautiful?
Once you decide on your main character, decide what type of book you'd like to create with that character.
Maybe your character fits the bill of a romantic cowboy. Maybe he/she is a vampire looking for ways to fit into human society. Maybe they like time travel. Create a resume' for your character. What have they done, what will they do, where have they been and where are they heading in the future?
Now you have the character established, what will happen to this character in your writing? All books are the same in the fact that they have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Usually if you have a character in mind, you already have a plot forming. All you have to do now is put it all together and make it believable.
How do I do that?
READ! Read in the genre you are wishing to write. This will give you the knowledge on how the story should look once it's finished, but in your own words and your own writing style.
Then... Start writing. Introduce your character and build from there. Invite the reader in, creating an atmosphere that will leave them wanting to turn the pages. Often times if you start out with an action, you can build on that action to create a wonderful back story along with an exciting plot. Depending on where you are going with it, you may need to do some research. Remember, readers will know what's what and you want to have your facts straight. The key is you want it to be believable and enthralling at the same time.
Write down your ideas on which direction you want the story to go. Maybe you know it already, so make an outline. It will be easier to follow and help you keep the story flowing. Once you decide on your writing style, you may change from an outline to a free writer, (as I like to call them). As a beginner though, I suggest an outline.
Once you have your outline with the basic ideas of your plot formation, you can start writing. Even if you're still stuck on some ideas, don't worry. Trust me, once you start writing you will be surprised how the story just starts flowing from your fingertips. Write from your heart, and write for yourself. Don't worry about what other people may think, and don't worry about misspelled words or grammatical errors. This will be addressed later.
What happens if I hit a road block?
Ask yourself these simple questions.
- How would you act in a certain situation?
- How can I make this worse or better?
- How would others react in real life?
Don't be afraid to ask for help either. Just because it's your story, does not mean you can't toss ideas around with another person. Get a writing buddy, or a critique partner. They can help you and support you along the way. I constantly toss ideas around with other people, I even got the plot for my next book from my readers who won a "Develop my next character" contest. What great ideas they had too!
Once you have your story written, now it's time to go back to the beginning. This is where a great critique partner will come in handy. You can go chapter by chapter, which makes it so much easier, and see where details need to be added, maybe a new scene, you may even have to re-write a scene or two. More depth may be needed, more back story for your character(s), or even more action to heighten the story. Once you have your story just how you want it, find an editor.
The thing I'm finding most people hate, especially reviewers, is an unedited book. These mistakes take away from the reader, and your story. You want the reader fully engaged in your book, not cringing in the corner afraid to finish it because of the distractions caused by poor grammar and misspelled words. Even the wrong word, such as, their vs there, can be a huge distraction for the reader. So please make sure you edit your book properly.
After you've finished critiquing and editing, it's time to decide how and where you want to publish your novel. Please refer to our workshop - "You've Written Your Book, Now What?"
It will take some time, but I promise you when you have a finished product, there is no greater feeling in the world!
If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to contact us. I am looking forward to your feedback and am always happy to help in any way I can.
Until next time,