So, you want to write a book? GREAT! Go for it!
But what do you do to start?
I recommend that you start with a brief summary of your book. It can be just a few lines, but write down the basic concept.
Next, work out the message, the purpose of the book. What is it that you want your reader to get from reading your work?
Now, I highly recommend that you create an outline. Don’t get too much into the details, but lay out the basic scenes or incidents of the book. These will help keep you on track, guiding you as you write. I consider them mile markers of sorts.
Make sure each scene has a purpose in the story. If it doesn’t, get rid of it or change it. This is very important, as it will save you time in the long run! Each incident from your outline should forward the motion of your story.
Once you complete that, review your overall message and make sure the outlined story matches.
Now you can start writing! But please don’t edit as you write! Just write and write and write. Work to complete your first draft.
Once your first draft is done, NOW you can edit. Read over your story and make changes.
When you think it is just about right, read it out loud to yourself or someone else. This will help you spot problem areas, especially in the dialogue. If it doesn’t sound right to your ear, chances are it won’t sound right to your readers, so change it until it does.
If you are self-publishing, you’ll want to hire an editor/proofreader next. I know a few great ones, so please email me if you need an editor. Their fee is typically 4 to 10 cents per word, depending on the amount of work needed.
When you have the full edited version in your hands, it is time to look for test readers. Find friends and friends of friends who are willing to commit to reading your book and giving you honest feedback. Make sure they know that you want to hear the bad with the good.
Microsoft Word has a wonderful feature called Track Changes that is ideal for noting comments and corrections. It highlights all the changes and allows people to comment on passages.
Once you have your feedback and feel that your book is ready, it is time to head to the printer!
If you have recently published a book, please share your tips for writing a book here. What steps did you take?
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