A lot of people tell me they’ve dreamt of penning a masterpiece, but they don’t quite know where to start.
Now, I’m not saying the whole journey is easy, far from it, but it helps to break it into sections, doesn’t it? Trying just to write a novel all at once is a little like trying to look at the whole universe in one go — it will probably drive you mad.
Anyway, enough precursor. Here are five steps that will help you write a book:
1: Plan Your Book
Before you dive into the ocean of ideas, it’s crucial to have a plan, even if that plan is more of a question.
I think my favourite words come from a question I don’t know the answer to.
If you’re a planner, you’ll want to make a comprehensive book outline to follow. It’s a little like drawing a roadmap for your book.
If you’re like me, the plan comes later. But the question and the book’s main theme is still important. If you don’t have an outline, that question is what will guide you.
2: Set a Writing Schedule
Look, cultivating a regular writing habit is not easy.
I’ll say it again so you pause on this point: habitually writing is not easy.
But sitting down to write often and deliberately is what is going to get you where you want to go.
We all get busy in our lives. So, if you can, designate a specific time each day for writing and stick to it. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a long period; even 15 minutes daily can make a significant impact over time.
If you can’t set a schedule, set a habit of writing when times are quiet. Instead of scrolling through Threads or watching TV, write a few words.
3: Create Characters that interest you
Your characters drive your story. And, if you’re anything like me, they determine the plot!
If you’re not interested in them — where they came from, what they want, what they fear — you can’t expect others to care.
I tend to love a lot of people by their flaws and the things I notice that tell a hidden story. I focus on those first. I like to find not what makes them the best at something but where the cracks are.
4: Show, Don’t Tell
Where would we be if I didn’t mention this time-honoured tip? What exactly does it mean? It means think on how actions, words, and items influence the world around them. Imagine you’re looking around a scene instead of directly at it, and then show me what that is.
Tip 5: Seek Feedback and Edit
Look, sharing stuff is scary, but never underestimate the power of a second pair of eyes.
Authors most often have beta and alpha readers, did you know that? Beta readers look for inconsistencies in plot, voice, and tone, and assess a book as a whole. Alpha readers will read a book before it’s finished, asking important questions or even just cheering you onwards when the words get tough.
Both are important!
Hey, writing a book is no small feat. Here’s the thing: if you’re reading this then you’re ready to start. So, why wait? Open up a document and see what happens. Flirt with a blank page, make sexy eyes, and find out what might happen if you let the words come.
I’ve written a tonne of posts on writing in the past if you need more encouragement. Here they are: