Writing Tips : How to Write a Book

Write a story. It might help heal your broken heart

The writer receiving recognition for his prize winning story, The Longest Day, From ASCCA President, Nan Bosler, OAM in 2008.  Yes, and he was runner up (2nd Place) in 2007.
The writer receiving recognition for his prize winning story, The Longest Day, From ASCCA President, Nan Bosler, OAM in 2008. Yes, and he was runner up (2nd Place) in 2007.

Can writing heal a broken heart? One thing I do know: write a story. It makes things better

Welcome to Writing Tips - How to Write a Book. Welcome to what I hope will be the first of a number of segments on how to write a book - and this particular piece titled Writing Makes It Better.

Writing does make it better, and you get better at writing. True. Writing can have a tremendous cathartic effect. You can loose an awful lot of angst by writing. It can ease an aching heart. Certainly it’s something worth looking at just from a happiness point of view. However, most people don’t look at writing that way. They just like the idea that, one day, they’ll write a book.

There is a book in most people. You might have heard that phrase. Most people would like to write about their lives. Or they say they would. Most don’t get around to it. Not because they can’t write. They’re all literate enough to do that. But the main ingredient isn’t there: desire to get it written. And that desire must be stronger than the inertia which keeps you from starting.

Don't know how to get started?

Let’s assume you really do want to write that book. You’d love to start, but don’t quite know how. How do you go about it?

Start small! Don’t commence writing something you’re not sure how long it will take, and how big the book will be in terms of wordage. A few lines about your life could take you into an autobiography as long as Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. So don’t start with a book at all. Start by writing essays, or letters to friends about things that are of interest to you. For if you’re going to become a writer, you probably already have become one in some small way.

If you can, write about what you've experienced.

My naval background allowed me to authentically portray navy life.  From this came my book, Sailor Boy Blue
My naval background allowed me to authentically portray navy life. From this came my book, Sailor Boy Blue

How to write a book - Write a Story - Anyone who can write can do it

I never saw myself as a writer – that is a long-term, lifetime type writer – until one day my daughter, then in her twenties, remarked that I was. “Of course, you’re a writer, Dad, you’re always at it.” It was only then that I realized what she had said was true. I did write most days: letters to friends, the odd poem, heaps of essays. And by then, I’d also written a couple of novels and a couple of works of non-fiction. Yet, still I did not see myself as a writer. Perhaps you don’t see yourself this way either? Don’t worry about it. The actual writing makes it better.

Writing Tips - How to Write a Good Book

So let’s say that you’ve already ‘ started small.’ You do write a lot letters. You find Emails too brief, so you nearly always include an attachment which explains further what you mean. You’re considered by your peers to be a bit old-fashioned because you don’t text much on your cell phone, you prefer to write a letter and send it ‘snail mail.’ That way you can read it thoroughly before you send it. Can alter it. Make it sound just right. And you’ve already developed the habit of finding out whether it sounds right by reading out aloud what you’ve written.

Whoops! You are a writer. You’re into it.

 

A Douglas DC6- Airliner

I spent a decade in Civil Aviation, much of it as an air-ground radio operator, hence I could write my book: Searchtime Expired.
I spent a decade in Civil Aviation, much of it as an air-ground radio operator, hence I could write my book: Searchtime Expired.

How to write a story: a few hints on writing that best-seller

Now you want to know how to write a story? A big book? That novel? That major work of fiction on non-fiction?  You're already into the shorter stuff...

A couple of hints. Start where you want to start. Go with the urges. You don’t have to go from beginning to end as in chapter one, chapter two, chapter three, etc.. You can start in middle, at the end, anywhere. But be careful! For when you write this way you have to be able to ‘dovetail’ all of the story together. One way is to have a story-board, pieces of paper with a summary of what you’d like to include in each chapter. You can move the pieces of paper around; make the plot, the characters all fit just right. I’ve never worked that way, but I’m told it’s a good method.

I hope this short essay: How to Write a Book, has been useful. Writing makes it better. It really does. Writing makes things better because in your clarification comes an acceptance of how things are.

Good luck in your writing.

Tom.

Some Royal Penguins on MacQuarie Island

Because I spent a year as an expeditioner on Macquarie Island in the sub-Antarctic I was able to write my book:  The Sealers.
Because I spent a year as an expeditioner on Macquarie Island in the sub-Antarctic I was able to write my book: The Sealers.

A wide variety of life experiences is an asset to a writer

Here I am at forty-one.  This shot was taken on Macquarie island and the film developed in black and white  there.  We didn't have color facilities
Here I am at forty-one. This shot was taken on Macquarie island and the film developed in black and white there. We didn't have color facilities

When its completed to your satisfaction - put it away for a later review

Another hint. Do the introduction well after the book is written. Same with an prologue or epilogue. Oh, and remember, a prologue has to not only loosely set the scene but create atmosphere. I’ve used both prologue and epilogue in two of my novels. Keep both of them short, no more than two pages, for the prologue, preferably one, and certainly no more than a page – preferably half a page, for the epilogue.

A third hint on how to write a story - and you might have heard this before. When the book is done, put it in a draw for at least a couple of months. The temptation is to try to get it read by someone else, even marketed straight away. Resist that. Put it away in a safe place, then pick it up and read it through. You’ll find with time that you can view what you’d written with just that much more objectivity.

But I’ve said enough for now. Let me know if you’ve enjoyed Writing Tips : How to Write a Good Story.   

Good luck

Tom.

2 comments

Dee aka Nonna profile image

Dee aka Nonna 6 years ago

Just found this little gem... as I have begun the process of writing a book....and found myself overwhelmed to the point I put it down...you have now inspired me to either (1)start where I left off --- or (2) begin again at that place...any place. Thank you for the inspiration.... the kick-in-the-pants I needed.


Tusitala Tom profile image

Tusitala Tom 6 years ago from Sydney, Australia Author

Thank you, Dee aka Nonna. It's the sort of feedback we all delight in.

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