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How Do You Write A Book Worth Reading

Updated on October 8, 2013

A Few Random Thoughts Before We Begin

Over the years I have heard many writers say that they don’t know if they have a book in them. Many others say they want to write a novel but they don’t know how to go about it. Still others, unfortunately, do not think they are good enough to undertake such a task.

I understand all of the above statements. The thought of writing a novel is daunting. It is a huge commitment of time and effort, and there certainly are no tangible rewards promised once you finish.

Still, millions are writing novels at this very moment, and millions more will do the same next year. True, they may never be picked up by an established publisher, but with ebooks now in demand, publishers are not needed.

When I wrote my first novel I had no intention of writing a novel. It began as a writing exercise and then gained momentum until one day I was looking at a finished novel. With that experience under my belt, the thought of writing another book, and then another, did not seem so daunting.

Have my books been a success? To me they have; they represent a huge effort on my part, and they are a living legacy for me as a writer.

I hope those of you who have hesitated to this point will finally decide to write a book. It really is a great experience.

What follows are some random tips that might help you during the writing process. They are in no particular order. They are the result of reflections that I had while thinking about my book-writing experience. I hope they help you in some way.

Bev holding my pride and joy....The 12/59 Shuttle From Yesterday To Today
Bev holding my pride and joy....The 12/59 Shuttle From Yesterday To Today | Source

A PAGE PER DAY UNTIL FINISHED

Break the novel-writing process down into manageable chunks. If you write a page per day you will have a finished novel in one year. Does that sound doable to you?

You might be thinking that one page is not very much, and I suppose compared to some prolific writers it is not, but remember that you want this book to be your very best. Writing one page of superb prose could very easily take an entire day if excellence is your goal.

DEEPEN YOUR CHARACTERS

Make your characters come alive, and to do that, make them appear to be real people. Think about this: in real life, none of us like shallow people, so why would we want the characters in our book to be shallow? Get inside the head of your character and find out what makes him/her tick. What are their likes and dislikes? What is the psychological profile?

Readers want to connect to characters, and as the writer it is your job to make that possible.

WRITE SCENES

Every chapter of your book has a setting. It takes place somewhere and that somewhere looks like something, right? It is your job to paint the scene so that the reader can picture it in their mind.

The scene should include action, setting, dialogue, new plot information and movement. You are the director of your own private movie. You can see the scene in your mind; now transfer that to your reader through your writing.

A pro's views on novel writing

The lady in blue ended up in one of my short stories
The lady in blue ended up in one of my short stories | Source

BE SPECIFIC

I believe in being specific when writing. It is not enough to say the lead character took a sip of pop. I want the reader to know that he drank Coke. It is not enough to say the scene took place on a cloudy afternoon downtown. I want the reader to know what the humidity felt like and the decay of the city.

If my character is middle-aged then she is 48 years old. If she has blonde hair then she should have platinum blonde or sun-bleached blonde hair.

Why is this important? Well duh! I want my readers engaged, and the best way to do that is to put my readers inside of the book. I want them walking around inside my words and I want them seeing exactly what I see in my mind. The only way to do that is to constantly be specific in my descriptions.

GO FOR HIGH VOLTAGE

If you want mundane then you should be a monk. Readers do not want mundane. Readers want reality suspended for the time it takes to read your book, and in order to suspend reality I need to give my readers a lesson in high voltage.

When you have finished your book, go back over it and figure out which chapters have a “holy cow” section in them, or a “shock and awe” section. If you have chapters that do not have that sense of electricity then you need to add it in.

Of course there are books that are character studies or love stories or whatever, and in those you will not have tense action, but you can still make sure that every chapter has something memorable in it. I don’t know about you, but for me, memorable is good and mundane is bad.

TAKE PHOTOGRAPHS OF CHARACTERS

Are you stuck trying to describe one of your characters? A trick I learned a long time ago was to head outside with my camera and take pictures of interesting-looking people. Then, when I got back to my writing studio, I had a real picture which I used in writing my descriptions. I found that having an actual photograph helped immensely in character descriptions.

And another tip: sit down and write
And another tip: sit down and write | Source

Always an interesting interview...Stephen King

DEVELOP GREAT ANTAGONISTS

I love bad guys and gals and I suspect all of you do too. The villain we love to hate….that’s who I want in my next book….oh, wait, I do have him. J

I think antagonists are invaluable in any novel, but they are only memorable if we, as writers, give them a great personality that has depth. I have mentioned this one character before but it is worth saying again. Hannibal Lecter is one of the great antagonists in literature and the movies. I mean, the guy was a serial killer….and yet….he was charming and funny and I loved him.

If you can write a novel with a character that dynamic, you have got yourself a winner.

BUILD FROM THE GROUND UP

This falls under the category of do what I say and not what I do, because I cannot follow this rigid lesson when writing. However, many people are architects when it comes to writing a book, and as architects you begin with a vision and then you build from the foundation upwards.

Start with one sentence. Describe your novel in one sentence. Now, describe it in one paragraph.

Now, take each sentence in that paragraph and write a page about it.

Now outline.

Now write the book.

When you have finished writing your book on Day 365, it will be time for the next item on our list.

RE-WRITE, ADD AND PURGE

Let me tell you my process when writing a novel.

I write the bare bones of the novel first. I have it in my head, so I just start writing. Usually, when the entire storyline is completed, I only have about 100 pages. That is when it is time for the second phase of my writing. During this phase I fill in with loving care. I give the characters more depth. I paint the scenes with more detail. I add foreshadowing where needed and I toss in a few plot twists if necessary.

By the time I finish with the second phase my book is at the proper length and then it is time to toss out the sloppy and edit for grammar.

Using my process, the first phase actually only takes about a month to write. The second phase can take two or three months and then the editing and purging can take another month. If I write the way I am capable of writing, I should be able to write a book in six months. Adjust according to your own style and writing speed.

My writing process

And That’s All There Is to It!

I wrote that facetiously by the way. I do not intend to portray the book-writing process as a simple one. It is difficult and it takes a lot of work, but it is also very, very rewarding.

For those who have debated about doing it, I sincerely hope you give it a go. You just might end up with something you can be proud of for the rest of your life.

2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

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    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Wonderful tips, but then I would expect any less from you. That said the tip of writing one page a day is truly one of the best I have heard and makes so much sense. Seriously, I think I write more then that on any given day anyways!! Have, of course, voted and shared, too!! :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, there is no doubt that you write more than that on any given day. For many writers it's a matter of organization and determination. I think the thought of writing a book stops some writers in their tracks. It seems like too big a project. It doesn't have to be.

      Thank you and good morning. I hope you have a great day.

      bill

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      Since I am working on a book (not a novel)...I still found this advice helpful as I am having trouble getting started. I have set the goal of looking at the beginning of the book what I have written...everyday. I am looking for a pattern to write the book and so far it eludes me. So now I am going to write a page a day. As always great advice..Up and Pin.

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Hey, Bill, great advice here! The trick is to incorporate this advice. The wheels in my coconut head are spinning. The first thought that comes to mind, and something I will meditate on over the course of this day and maybe for weeks to come, is that there may have been another reason why I began walking long distances this year. I needed to find myself, and in finding out what I'm truly about, I might very well unleash something powerful from deep within.

      So, today, as I 'm reading your Hub, I began having more ideas...and with them came lofty dreams. Now, I want to get past the dream stage. I'm sticking with you for the long run, Bill, and we'll have a cold (root) beer someday celebrating the impact of this very moment.

      That's all I got this morning, my friend, except for this last piece. I'm digging into that large Tupperware container my wife keeps all the kids' school supplies in, and I'm going to find an unused notebook. It will be reserved for...well, we'll just have to wait and see...

      Aloha, Billy Bro! Stay tuned...your name appears in my next Hub in a most unusual way.

      Joe

    • To Start Again profile image

      Selina Kyle 4 years ago

      Well, I see that you and I have very similar writing techniques ;) I, too, write the bare bones first and fill in later and have advised others to do this as well. It is so much easier to fill in chinks later when you have an idea fleshed out of where the story is going. And with most writing being done on computers nowadays, it's easy to go in and take something out or change a scene. And finishing one novel-no matter how terrible you may think it is and even if you have no intentions of publishing as is- makes doing it again seem so much more possible! Great tips and I agree :)

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      These are great tips, as usual, Billybuc. I love the suggestion to write one page a day. True, like compound interest, it gets the brain working on the next chapter and the next twist. Still hoping to pen that great American novel. You're right about the sense of accomplishment. That would be the true reward.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Carol! Sometimes the bigger picture is too hard to see and we have to break it down into bite sized chunks. The bigger picture will make itself know after a time....just write. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Joe, I am excited about your new project, whatever it might be. You have what it takes to write a damn good book...we just have to unleash the power of your words and let them roam freely. Have a productive walk my friend and I look forward to your next hub. :)

      Aloha my friend

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      To Start Again...I love that you follow that writing pattern. I find it so much easier. The story flows from me without the hiccups that are associated with filling in scenes and fleshing out characters....by the time I have finished with the story I know my characters better and can do a better job of giving them a life on paper.

      Thanks for a great comment.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Peg! One page a day is doable for anyone, right? Get started on that great American novel...it is screaming to get out of you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Tennicut, very true words. If you are serious about your writing then you should be serious about making time for your writing. That just makes sense to me. :)

      Thanks for a great suggestion.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      So I saw the title and said to self "not interested". So I pondered, if I read this hub will I only learn about writing a novel, in which I am not interested. So then I concluded; Reading Bill's advice on writing has never disappointed me. Because they are lessons as much about life in general as they are about writing.

      And so I read and as anticipated I was not disappointed. That is a true gift. Thank you much Bill.

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Great advice, Bill! I wouldn't expect any less, but sometimes it's hard to believe how much amazing info you have to share with us! Thank you!

    • Radcliff profile image

      Liz Davis 4 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Does this mean you have an actual photo of Tweetie?!

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Dear Bill,

      Having a short children's book under my belt, I am surely thinking of a novel as a challenging thrill. Like Peg, I appreciate the one page a day...

      May I ask if there is a typical word count for a novel? I know I have read books of all lengths...write the story and all that... Just wondering your thoughts.

      I am intrigued with Vinaya's street photography and now your suggestion of writing with a photo as my mirror...very cool.

      Voted UP and UABI. Love, Maria

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Eric, that is a kind thing to say and I thank you sir! I'll try to never disappoint you. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      My pleasure, Randi! Thank you so much for always being here.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lizzy, I have a great picture of him in my head. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Good morning Maria!

      Length...it is suggested at least 75,000 words....which is close to 300 pages....again, that's just a suggestion, but it is a suggestion given by publishers, so it carries some weight. :)

      It's always nice having you stop by my dear. I hope you have a great day.

      love,

      bill

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Perfect, Bill...thank you!

      Hoping you have a wonderful day too. Love, Maria

    • CMHypno profile image

      CMHypno 4 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      Thanks for sharing your writing journey billybuc.

      I think that all we authors have different writing habits. Despite all the blogs that say you should write x amount every day, I tend to write a great chunk, wander off for a while and then come back and write a chunk more. But the first of my science fantasy series for YA is now an ebook, second will be released in a couple of weeks and am in the middle of writing no 3.

      Good luck with your novels and keep us posted on how they are getting on.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      My pleasure, Maria. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      CMHypno, bravo to you and congratulations. Yes indeed, we all have different styles. For me it depends on the book. I wrote my first novel very quickly...the one I am working on now is more of a chunk by chunk with breaks in-between type of writing experience. :)

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 4 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks for the really useful tips!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It's always a pleasure, vkwok! Thank you!

    • jonmcclusk profile image

      Jonathan McCloskey 4 years ago from Cinnaminson, New Jersey

      I find your articles on writing rather interesting, billybuc. They always put me in the perfect mood to sit down at the keyboard and start typing away at my dreams. Excellent work.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Jon! If my articles do that for you then I've accomplished what I set out to do. :)

    • wayne barrett profile image

      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thanks again Bill for the tips and the inspiration. I am one of those who have been working on a novel for over a decade. I have always had one excuse or another as to why I wasn't working on it, but recently, since joining Hubpages, I have become very inspired. I especially like your point about writing a page a day, because that is the goal that I have set for myself but was wondering if that was not sufficient. I am such a perfectionist that it is a labor just to finish a single page.

      It is the friends that I have made here and the uplifting advice and articles like yours that has really spurred me on. Maybe when I finally get to, "The End", I will be giving Billy a call for some advise!! : )

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Bill,

      Love your tips and suggestions and they are incredibly useful no matter what the book is about. In my early 20's I always felt I wanted to write a book, a creative novel as my mind would wander off into the realms of fantasy. That book still lies inside and maybe one day it will be my reality. i think photographing interesting faces is a great tip for character building and could relate to that for my humorous Irish hub that you loved! I found the photos of the "lecturer's" and built their character, background around it.

      Great job as always, have a wild weekend, look after those chucks and love to Bev!

    • poetvix profile image

      poetvix 4 years ago from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country.

      You give the best tips. I'm liking the action one best. It's true. If I'm bored, I'm gone. A book, huh? It is a most interesting and appealing concept and with the advent of e-books and self publishing, not an out of the question prospect. Thank you, Bill. I think you may have just given me the challenge needed to finish something, or at least get in a few more chapters.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Wayne, that perfectionist thing can be a burden, can't it? :) You can call on me for advice any old time you feel like it. I'm always happy to help if I can.

      Thank you my friend and good luck with that book.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Suzie, I love that you followed the process for your humorous hub....I'm willing to bet we could do that every single time if we went out and took pictures of people.

      Don't stop doing what you are doing...it seems to be working just fine. :)

      Thanks my friend. Tell the Mickster I said hey!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Vix, I hope so. I happen to think you are an excellent writer, and I'm not blowing smoke when I say that. If you have a project in mind then I say go for it.

      And I want to read it when completed. :)

      Thanks, Vix! I always appreciate you vistiing.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. You know this is something that I have never really considered. Hmmmm... Very interesting. Maybe someday. Right now I don't think I have the time as I can barely keep up with HP's but down the road I can see giving this some serious consideration.

      As always you have some great tips and suggestions when it comes to writing. Thank you. Voted this up,and shared it around. Have a great day.

    • nybride710 profile image

      Lisa Kroulik 4 years ago from Minnesota

      I would really like to write a second book, but I'm not sure about what yet. Congratulations on your success so far and thanks for the tips.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Bill, I still have 2 of your videos to watch, but I want to provide my 2 cents before I do.

      First, I must say, your book "The 12/59 Shuttle From Yesterday to Today" is proof of what you speak. (Wow, it just hit me what the 'shuttle' part of the title means! - but see how your book continues to speak even after the last word has been read?!)

      I like your idea of writing a page a day; that makes the thought of writing a novel so much less daunting.

      When I write creatively, I never know what's going to come out. My mind seems to take over the pen or the keyboard once I set down the first sentence. That may be why I've not yet begun the exercise, but at the same time, that's exactly why I must begin.

      I really hope your other followers are realizing the value of the information you provide. Many other websites charge big bucks for this kind of guidance. You go so far beyond guidance. You offer challenges via prompts, links to helpful websites, proven methods and so much more.

      You're more than a teacher, Bill. You are a mentor for those who are willing to recognize what you have to offer and how selflessly you do so.

      As I tell my dad, "I love you higher than a star". You want everyone to be a star and you are leading the way.

      That, my friend, is your legacy!

      Love,

      Sha

    • Jordan Hake profile image

      Jordan Hake 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri, USA

      These are great tips! I've actually finished a few short novels (nothing I'd like to share now, a couple years out) but I didn't use even a loose outline, I just allowed the story to carry me along and then tied in the loose threads when it was finished.

      Maybe if I had employed these techniques they'd be a little more "share-worthy". I'll be certain to try these next shot I give at fiction.

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 4 years ago from Minnesota

      Great tips Bill. I know that if I keep reading all of your "just stop putting it off and do something already!" hubs, eventually I will get off my arse and just do it. I really appreciate reading your hubs and someday, I truly believe that I will be able to say I've written a novel--and add you as one of my inspirations in my dedication!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      I love the idea of taking photos, I never thought of that! lol! I did write a book back in the eighties, still in the drawer! and of course my ebook is on amazon but thats about me so it was relatively easy. bit like chatting to a friend. but I seem to have come unstuck with a new book. I read so many awesome books I am a bit scared that I won't be able to do it, I have started but its still sitting there on my pc! great ideas though billy, and thanks for giving me a push, voted up and tweeted, nell

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, I know for a fact you have a book in you. When your working days are done you can start working full time as a writer....the job you will love. :) Thanks my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you nybride....I'm sure that second book will appear for you soon. Good luck!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Awww, Sha, there you go making me blush again. I do want everyone to be a star....I get a thrill out of hearing about successes. There is more than enough glory to go around for all of us. We should be our cheerleaders at HP...otherwise, it's not a community. :)

      Love you too

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jordan, hold onto those short novels. Maybe some day they will take on a life of their own and you will finish them....when the inspiration hits it will happen.

      Thank you my young friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Melissa, when the day comes that you write your novel I will rejoice right along with you. Hurry up, thought. I'm not getting any younger. :)

      Thank you my dear! Is it spring yet in Minneapolis?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Nell, it is not unusual to be afraid to finish something like a book. It takes a lot of work and eventually we all have that self-doubt about whether it will be good enough. The thing is, all you have to do is satisfy you. It's a great accomplishment even if nobody reads it. :)

      Thanks for stopping by my friend.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      Great tips here, Bill! You hit on a most important fact . . . is it memorable. I had just ask that question here on HP!

      That page a day is a great idea. I like to look at each sentence and ask myself, is that the best sentence I can come up with as far as being descriptive, as you were saying.

      Blessings, Faith Reaper

    • Careermommy profile image

      Tirralan Watkins 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Thanks for another insightful hub, Billy. Writing a novel is definitely on my goals list. These tips also seem applicable to writing a screenplay. Your articles continue to be encouraging and educational. Thank you once again.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for the tips, Bill. Writing a page a day sounds like an excellent plan for creating a novel!

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thanks so much for this, Bill. I have something I've been working on for a while now but never really felt sure about my method. According to you, I've been on the right track all along. That's a relief. (I really should trust my instincts more. They're usually spot-on.)

      I especially like the idea of taking photos. That would be so much easier than trying to remember it all. Another hub to keep by my computer.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      I nearly forgot. Have you done a hub on how to write a book review? I want to write a review of your book for Amazon and I don't have any experience in doing reviews?

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this.Writing the books was easy. The marketing...

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      Actually Bill

      The reason I came to HubPages is that I have always wanted to write a novel, children's books, something of that nature. Not knowing exactly what I would find at HubPages I came here thinking that might be the way to begin.

      Reading your suggestions brings back to mind all that I need to keep in mind to become a novelist. One day....

      Thanks for sharing this Voted up, and shared :) ps

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      Well honestly Bill I've always had dreams of writing a novel in the back of my head...I thought I might be the next Margaret Mitchell and publish one fantastic novel. So, I keep reading every word you write about writing, which by the way is outstanding, and I keep thinking once the Apprentice Program is over I am going to re-read all your fabulous works, check out your writing website and get to work!

      Voted up, useful, awesome, interesting, and shared.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Faith! Memorable and the best.....I think those are so important...it's too easy to publish a book nowadays, and I think, for some, that means publishing second rate work. Obviously that will never happen with you. :)

      blessing always,

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Career, most definitely they apply to a screenplay. Good observation and I hope one day you realize your dream and write a novel. Thanks for stopping by.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Alicia, I think it breaks the task down to a doable amount for many who think it is overwhelming. Thanks as always for the visit and have a great weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Phoenix, if this helped you then I am happy. I hope you get that "something" finished soon....best of luck to you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Phoenix, I have not done one of that subject but it's on my to do list. Thanks for the reminder and thank you so much for thinking about doing one on my book. I appreciate that very much.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Martin, I agree completely. The marketing is a tough process.

      Thank you my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      PS, one day indeed. Make it a priority and it will happen. That's my problem....setting priorities and then sticking with it. :)

      Thank you my dear and I hope your weekend is filled with angels.

      Blessings and a hug are yours

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, I hope you do just that. You are a very good writer and I'd hate to see that dream die.

      Thank you my friend. Enjoy your weekend!

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 4 years ago from Deep South, USA

      When I'm writing an article, I tend to begin with an outline. With fiction, I have the story line in my head (or sketchily typed) before I begin, but just let it flow from there. Since I always write too much, editing is mainly a trimming or cutting process.

      It remains to be seen whether or not I can get two unfinished novels completed and (hopefully) published. I feel that I've learned a lot about developing fiction from writing short stories; however, a full-length novel requires much more depth. One thing I know: I'll keep trying!

      Voted Up++ and shared

      Jaye

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jaye, that depth thing is a challenge for sure. My outlines are in my head as well. I'm working on a novel now and there is no outline written down. I can see the outline in my head and I'm just following it.....and I'm pretty sure I know where it will end up. LOL

      Thanks, Jaye! I appreciate you stopping by, and have a wonderful weekend.

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

      Ooooh! So timely for me. I have several books floating around in my brain. But they're not going to do me or anyone else any good if I don't get a plan in place and act on the ideas. Thanks, Billy, for sharing your inspiring tips on bringing out the 'book' in us!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Marcy, open the doors of your brain and let them out. There are a lot of us who would love to read a book by you.

      Good luck with that plan.

      bill

    • Made profile image

      Madeleine Salin 4 years ago from Finland

      Wow, so many great tips. I want to start writing a book right away. Bill, what would we do without you on HubPages? You inspire so many people. Me too. Wow again! :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Awww, Made, that was sweet of you. I have no plans of leaving HP so you have no worries. Now, get busy on that book. :)

      Have a wonderful weekend my friend.

      bill

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

      Beginning and ending are the most difficult parts of writing a book. If we manage time, we can continue our writing process. I find ending more difficult than beginning.

    • ketage profile image

      ketage 4 years ago from Croatia

      Fantastic tips for any novelist, I especially liked the, take a photo of interesting people for a visual representation of your character in a book tip.

      Could do the same thing with photos of celebrities I guess, Kate Beckinsale would be the perfect muse :)

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Great work, Billy, I never had a clue what the process for writing a book was and is. Again, thanks for this invaluable information.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Vinaya, the beginning has always been easy for me. Dialogue is my toughest challenge....I think it is different for all of us. Writing is not easy and quite frankly it shouldn't be. :)

      Thank you my friend and have a great weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      ketage, I so agree with you about Beckinsale. I love that lady. Have a great weekend and I hope your muse is with you always.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Deb, it is my pleasure. Take what you need and leave the rest. :) Have a great weekend at Boomer Lake.

    • weestro profile image

      Pete Fanning 4 years ago from Virginia

      Great advice Bill, will be implementing these tips on my next project. Thanks!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hey, Pete, good to see you my friend. I hope you find these helpful.

    • cherryseeds profile image

      KABILIGI Clement 4 years ago from Kigali-Rwanda

      thanks billy for these nice tips. It does not look easy for a beginner to understand how someone takes a year to write a 300 page thing to carry in a pocket. one more thing, people who don't read are unlikely to be able to write as well. For some communities it is the exact case, like in my country where people like to listen to radio to get information.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Cherry, you make an excellent point, one that those of us who live in the U.S. never consider. Thank you for lending that perspective for us all.

    • WalterPoon profile image

      Poon Poi Ming 4 years ago from Malaysia

      This hub is one of the best articles, if not the best, that I have read so far on "how to write a novel". Not only is it concise, it is comprehensive and packed with practical tips. I just visited your blog, "Artistry With Words". That's really a godsend! I've bookmarked it for further reference.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Walter, welcome to HubPages and thank you for following me and my blog. I do appreciate it my friend and I'm glad you find it all helpful. Blessings and thanks to you.

    • Fossillady profile image

      Kathi 4 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

      Sounds good to me in all practicality. . . My story started with an idea and then it intensified where I would wake up thinking about it first thing and would write all day and sometimes into the night. It was as if it took over my life, but life sometimes would get in the way and so it took me five years of which the last two would be the filling in and adding plots and then, oh my, the editing!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kathi, the editing separates the wannabes from the real writers. LOL I know what you mean my friend.

      I wrote my first book in a similar fashion over a three year period. Hopefully this current one will be done much quicker.

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image

      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Novels are lower on my list of things-to-write-when-I-have-time, but every time I read your advice about it, it makes it seem more possible! Thank you. :-) Lurana

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lurana, it's funny, but non-fiction is way down my list. I love novels and that's what I feel comfortable writing. Best of luck to you my friend, no matter which direction you take.

    • WalterPoon profile image

      Poon Poi Ming 4 years ago from Malaysia

      MrsBrownsParlour , a novel is 20% facts and 80% fiction; a non-fiction is 80% facts and 20% fiction. Try autobiography, which is 50% facts and 50% fiction, and you will soon be on your way to writing a novel.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks, Walter! I always appreciate you stopping by.

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image

      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      WalterPoon---I've never heard it put that way, and that's funny! :-) And thanks, Bill. ~Lurana

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Lurana!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 3 years ago from south Florida

      Very meaningful suggestions and writing tips, Billy - especially since they are written by a talented and perspicuous writer like yourself. I started writing my own non-fiction book by typing a Table of Contents and then expanding the outline from that. Thanks for sharing your writing methods.

    • WalterPoon profile image

      Poon Poi Ming 3 years ago from Malaysia

      Drbj, what does "perspicuous writer" mean? Is it a "sweaty writer who perspires a lot?"

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      drbj, my table of contents is always in my head. I write the bare-bones story and then I fill in necessities on the second write.

      Thanks as always.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Walter, what am I going to do with you? LOL You crack me up!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 3 years ago from south Florida

      I like your definition, Walter, more than mine - which is 'easily understood.' Just thought it would add a bit of irony to Bill's tips.

    • WalterPoon profile image

      Poon Poi Ming 3 years ago from Malaysia

      Drbj, just pulling your legs... a joke a day keeps the doctor away. By the way, are you a doctor?

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      drbj, enjoy Walter and his sense of humor. It took me a little time to get used to it. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Walter, what am I ever going to do with you? You are the unofficial jokester of HP.

    • WalterPoon profile image

      Poon Poi Ming 3 years ago from Malaysia

      Billybuc, I'm trying very hard to be a clown but I can't find a cherry that fits my nose yet.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Walter, keep searching my friend, just as we all are. :)

    • WalterPoon profile image

      Poon Poi Ming 3 years ago from Malaysia

      Billybuc, HubPages must be penalizing me for joking too much. My hubscore has fallen from 93 to 87, LOL. Guess I am not cut for HubPages. Will do 25 hubs and then moved back to my own websites. Traffic has been down, ever since I came over here. I often got more than $10.00 a day from AdSense but yesterday, I got below $1.00 for the first time... 87 cents to be exact. Also, I will spend time to start a novel because as I said, I have tremendous saying power. I say and say but haven't even written a single word yet, LOL.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Walter, I have no answers about HubPages and their earning program. I just write for the love of it and to build my platform....the earnings are a joke at this site....and I'm also here because of people like you. You and my other friends make this a must stop for me daily.

    • WalterPoon profile image

      Poon Poi Ming 3 years ago from Malaysia

      LOL, Billybuc. It's not the Earnings Program. Actually, what I've received from HubPages so far is more than what I had expected. It took me almost 5 years to receive my first payment from Google AdSense from my group of websites that number over 20! More than 60, if I were to include the inactive ones.

      I'll drop in once a while to see you, which could be quite often, judging from my Facebook participation, hahaha. You are the main motivator that starts me believing that I should start writing at least one novel before I say sayonara to this world.

      With the internet these days, I could sell it in Amazon, if I cannot find a book publisher. Worse come to worse, I'll publish it in a blog. The most important thing is to start. Nothing else matters.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Walter, I completely agree. HubPages is a small blip in the life of a writer. There are much bigger fish to fry my friend, and I hope you begin with that novel soon.

      Take care and I'll see you down the road soon.

    • WalterPoon profile image

      Poon Poi Ming 3 years ago from Malaysia

      Billybuc, there's a big book fair in my town... hard cover books selling at 75-95% discounts. I bought almost 30 copies as reference materials for my novels. After buying, I told my wife... what if my novel were to be sold at 95% discount? Would it be worth writing? And she said, "If you use 95%-discount reference materials, then you should expect that your novel would likewise end up in the 95%-discount section! Sounds logical, LOL.

      Hope you will find me down the road and not down the drain, hahaha.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Walter, your wife carries some wisdom with her. LOL I'll look down the road first and then check the drain. :)

    • WalterPoon profile image

      Poon Poi Ming 3 years ago from Malaysia

      LOL.

    • WalterPoon profile image

      Poon Poi Ming 3 years ago from Malaysia

      Billybuc... I just remember. In life, we always talk about probabilities. You won't want to waste time looking for things in the most unlikely places. You start with the most likely places, right? But so as not to waste your time, I will make sure that I will be down the road so that you can find me, hahaha.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Walter, I appreciate the assistance. Thank you my friend and have a great evening.

    • epbooks profile image

      Elizabeth Parker 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Great advice. Some of it I've done with my own books, and some I may carry for my new one. I like the idea about writing a page per day. I write fairly quickly, so I may break that rule a little, but stick to the premise. I think that setting a goal like that each day does help eliminate writer's block and gets you further along in your novel. Great hub!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you again, epbooks. I don't take my own advice with regards to writing a page per day. I usually go way over that, but for some, writing a book is a daunting task, and I think if they could just do one page per day...what's that, 500 words?...then they would find it a much easier task. :)

    • epbooks profile image

      Elizabeth Parker 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I agree -500 words can go by fairly quickly!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well, it does for some of us at least. :)

    • WalterPoon profile image

      Poon Poi Ming 3 years ago from Malaysia

      Epbooks, that little "controversy" can easily be settled by adding the words "a minimum". As far as I know, Arthur Hailey wrote a minimum of 600 words a day, so good, old Billybuc is giving a 20% discount.

      Billybuc's idea, as with Arthur Hailey, is that one must develop the habit of writing everyday, whether one has the mood or otherwise. Point is it doesn't matter whether those 500 words are good or bad. You can always edit it weeks later, when your mood is good, or when you have a better idea, or throw it out completely. The point is to write. And when you are in good mood, you can tap away as much as you want before your mood vaporizes. I guess that's how prolific writers are made, LOL.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Walter, I obviously concur....if writing is a craft, and I believe it is, then the only way to improve on that craft is to write. Seems infinitely logical to me. :)

    • epbooks profile image

      Elizabeth Parker 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Walterpoon- I agree that writing every day does help. There are times when the keyboard is 'our friend' and others, not so much! So by getting into the habit of writing each day, it keeps us practicing and improving.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      epbooks, how nice of you to respond to Walter. LOL He just hangs out pestering my followers and rarely gets the attention he deserves. :) Kidding, Walter, you are a pure joy to have around.

    • epbooks profile image

      Elizabeth Parker 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Hee hee- I can see you two have a funny banter going :) I'm just the new kid in town...

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      epbooks, before you know it you will be a grizzled veteran like the rest of us.

    • epbooks profile image

      Elizabeth Parker 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I'm trying! Plugging away and writing hubs. Loving it though!!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      epbooks, you do something most Hubbers don't do....you go back to see the comments to your comments...that's refreshing and thank you. If you ever need help on HP let me know and I'll be glad to answer questions or steer you in the right direction.

    • WalterPoon profile image

      Poon Poi Ming 3 years ago from Malaysia

      QUOTE: "epbooks, you do something most Hubbers don't do....you go back to see the comments to your comments...that's refreshing and thank you."

      WRONG! Errrrr...., right! You said "most", right? So I'm wrong. I do go back to see the comments to my comments and like what Billybuc says: "He just hangs out pestering my followers and rarely gets the attention he deserves." In short, I don't see any comments to my comments until Epbooks came along.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Walter, one out of fifty isn't bad, is it? LOL

    • epbooks profile image

      Elizabeth Parker 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      LOL. When I receive the notifications from hubpages, it piques my curiousity. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It did mine, too, until I had 1500 followers, and then I realized I needed to sleep at some time. LOL

    • WalterPoon profile image

      Poon Poi Ming 3 years ago from Malaysia

      Epbooks, you will become seasoned after a while, when you find out that it is one out of fifty. Everything has a reason and there's a reason why nobody bothers to find out whether anyone makes a comment to the comments that they have made, LOL.

    • epbooks profile image

      Elizabeth Parker 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      billybuc and WaterPoon... Funny you should say that because even with my small amount of followers, I'm thinking of switching off the email notifications. I've never been this "popular" in my life. You're right. Sleep is definitely important!!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      epbooks, you are learning faster than I am...I had to almost be driven crazy before I shut off the notifications. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      True words, Walter. :)

    • epbooks profile image

      Elizabeth Parker 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Well,I had some help- the both of you confirmed it for me. I never received so many emails before!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      epbooks, before long you will have more emails than you know what to do with. I'll help you in any way that I can, but if you take my help you'll end up popular and then you'll be answering emails all day. LOL

    • epbooks profile image

      Elizabeth Parker 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I want to be popular! Just kidding. LOL. In all seriousness, any tips are greatly appreciated. I'm still learning the ropes here, but I'm catching on each day. I disabled the emails (and yes got some sleep)!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Elizabeth, drop me an email if you have questions or if you want to be a part of the Facebook writer's groups.

    • mdscoggins profile image

      Michelle Scoggins 2 years ago from Fresno, CA

      I stumbled across this one and so glad that I did. I am at the end of my down and dirty first draft which is roughly 100 pages and I was a little worried. But now I can see the vision of the next process and how I can approach things. Thanks for the undying guidance.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I love to hear that, md...keep at it, and give me a holler if you need help.

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