Where to start on writing a book? Several questions.
I want to write a book (yes I know seems to be the popular thing right now). I really don't care if I sell one copy. This is more for myself since I have been wanting to do so for many years. Where do I begin when I am not the best of writers? Do I just write a lot of stuff down then come back and compile it into one? Is it best to turn a horrible life story into ficton in order to protect the people involved?
There are two things that I always tell people who are just getting started with writing a novel. The first is don't be afraid to jump around. A lot of times when we get an idea for a story, we have specific scenes or characters in mind. While you could start at the beginning and work your way up to these things, you run the risk of killing your interest in the project. Just jump ahead and start writing the parts you want to write. The stuff in between is surprisingly easy to write when the strongest sections are already in place. The second thing I tell people is; don't be afraid to write crap. A lot of times we think our writing isn't good enough, or that a project is too large, but thinking stuff like that is also going to kill your interest, and it isn't going to help you get the book off the ground. Write something, anything. Don't worry about spelling, grammar, punctuation or any of the other rules of writing. Just get those words on the page. You can always edit it later, but you can't edit something that isn't there. If you make a little progress each day, eventually it will be done, guaranteed. As for whether or not you should fictionalize a real life story, that's entirely up to you. Do you want to write fiction, or do you want to write a memoir/biography? Think about what you like to read, and use that as the model.
Having written two books, and by no means an expert. Just start writing down thoughts, ideas as they flow into your head. Don't worry about any organization. When you get an idea write it down. It will all come together.
Writing a book is not an easy task. If you are writing it for yourself you probably already have an idea what you want to write about.
Step 1) get an A4 sheet of paper. Write down a basic timeline for the book. Work out where you want your story to start, and where you want it to get too at the end. The middle bit (the journey) is always the toughest bit.
Step 2) Characters. Decide who your main characters are think of their back stories. Think how you want your characters to grow through the book. Note this down on paper as well.
Step 2) Once you have a packed timeline and character plans rewrite everything into a chapter plan. This time break the book down into sections and chapters, weather you have three chapters, or three hundred it is up to you. Work out where each chapter begins, what the goal of the chapter is, and where each chapter ends.
Step 3) Now you have a rough guide into what form you want your book to take start writing. Most importantly do not over rely on your writing plan. As you write ideas change and so do characters. Don't assume you have to stick with what you planned a few months back.
Do you just write lots of stuff down and then compile it? Yes. my above suggestions is doing that in chapter order. That is the only difference. Writing in chapter order will help your book form shape and help readers perceive a beginning, middle and end. If you write the book in the wrong order, more often then not that comes across to the reader as jumbled character development and jumbled ideas.
Turn your idea into fiction. Maybe the 'star' of your book likes the idea when you discuss it, but when the book is actually written they might hate it. If the book becomes a huge success, that person will always have the book and its story hanging over their shoulders. If you want to make the 'star' feel more involved just add a note to the front of the book stating you have written a true account of "Mr XYZs" experiences, or influenced by the life of "Mr XYZ".
Hope this helps!
I'm sort of having the same dilemma you are. I never gave writing much thought, but since I have gotten sick and lay in bed for most of the day I have kept myself busy by writing a journal, everyday, as much as I can write. At the moment I have four college 3 ring nootbooks full of my menadering thoughts stemming from the beginning of 2008. Along with every entry, I have the title and artist of the song that is playing as I write. The reason for that is I want to make it into an audio book someday with a soundtrack of my life.
What I remember about writing is this:
The first draft is always from the heart.
The second draft comes from the mind.
Pretty much everyone has said basically the fundamental part of actually starting a book, and that is just fill pages with words and thoughts, and judging from the Hubs you have posted throughout the months, you actually have something to say. I wish you the best, its going to be tough.
I think MT Dreamer said it perfectly. That's how I work. Not only do you run the risk of losing interest as MT said, but for me, I tend to forget things if I don't write them down so if something pops into my head that I don't want to lose, I type it and save it and let it all come together as I go along. I use a dashed line to seperate segments on the page where I'm pretty sure there will be a chapter break or a new section. That way I can keep going without feeling that I have to write an entire chapter before moving on. As the author, chances are that you will read and reread your own work over and over and make changes probably every time so keep that in mind as you write, each part doesn't have to be perfect to keep going.
If you are worried about using real people in your book, make sure to ask them each individually before you get started and maybe even have them sign a release stating that you can use their name and likeness. Otherwise, change names and places as needed. Best of Luck!
You have received awesome advice. I am a seat of the pants type of writer. I don't use an outline, timeline, plotline or any other line. I get an idea and run with it. Sometimes I start in the middle, sometimes with the beginning, sometimes with just scenes yet to be placed, I have been known to start at the end, but that's rare.
I know my characters well and sometimes they take me to places where I would not have dreamed of going. I am currently working on my sixth novel. I'm hubbing about my daily progress, frustrations, excitement. Feel free to read the hubs and use anything helpful.
As to writing about real people, get releases. If you choose to fictionalize it, state in the front that while the incidents may have happened the characters are from your imagination. You should be covered if you do it that way.
Join a local writing group you can share your work with and get feedback. Or attend writing conferences where you an do that.
In the long run, just write.
Hi; spent years wanting to write a book myself. But didn't until my mum died, don't really know why. Still if you want to write a book start with something small. Plan out the story, a start a middle and where you want it to end. Figure out your main person hero you know. Then start writing. Remember you can always go back and change things. Also once you have finished your story give it some time before you read it back. A fresh look will sort out any major reading or continuity problems. But most of all, just enjoy the writing. That is what it is about, have fun and good luck.
peeples....An excellent decision and I encourage you to go forward with your desire to write a book, for whatever your reasons are. After reading several of your wonderful hubs, I have no doubt that your book would be something to be very proud of.
Actually, by having this desire and stating your intention, you have already "started." You may be aware that there is a good number of our own hubbers who have published e-books. Further, most of these writers have published informational hubs on what to do, where to go, "how to," in step by step format.
You may want to read some or all of these helpful hubs.
Our "Nell Rose,' just recently put out a fabulous hub, providing all the info you could possibly need in terms of e-books. Our Vincent Moore has published Poetry Collections and billybuc also has e-books to his credit, to mention only three.
If you're asking for an opinion to your final question, I would lean strongly toward a Non-fiction, peeples. Protection for individuals involved, can always be accomplished by giving them all a fictitious name. I wish you the best of luck.....
You have your own support team and help at your fingertips, right here in HubVille.....Isn't it a wonderful place to hang out?? lol
I would do a basic outline of the story. Then do character development on each character. Then do a more deep outline. Then go from there to fill in the story. Know your characters BEFORE you start to write. That way their words and actions fit them.
When I wrote my two books I did as above. My character development spans several pages for each of the main and secondary characters. Even if it isn't necessary for the story I came up with who their parents were and their personalities. Its so very important to know your characters.
what i would do is write down some of what is going to be in the book and then start a rough draft. as you go, things will come to mind , so write them on a separate sheet of paper and number them for when they occured. when you are done the rough draft, insert the number of each thing you wrote down on the separate piece of paper and then as you re-write your book, you can add them in.
Read a book of classic literature and then see if you get any inspiration. If not, read another one. If you still don't, read another one. Keep this going. Reading these books will turn you into a great writer who simply lacks a subject. At some point, figure out what your subject is. It can be anything: feminism; the sordid world of marketing and business; the great outdoors; American middle class society; El Salvador--anything at all. If you want to write a book based on your life's experiences and your experiences aren't much different from everyone else's, I would suggest making it into a comedy in which others can relate. Once you have your subject, just start writing. The plot is not quite as important as the ideas you convey to your readers along the way.
Awesome stuff peeples - I think deciding that you want to write one is the first step. I recently made a similar leap...
Different peeps (sorry, I could not resist) have different techniques that they are more comfortable with and generally the two schools of thought seem to be either that mentioned by Duchess - dive in and let the adventure take you where it will - or the more rigid approach - use a Mind Map, such as Freemind, to plan your attack.
Which version will work better for you is something that you alone can choose based on your creative process. Neither process is right or wrong, it is more about finding what suits you best and I have learned that my own technique is a mixture of the two.
I don't have the beautiful, free-flowing creativity that Duchess seems to have and would feel quite out of my depth without fairly determined structure.
Conversely, Duchess might feel quite limited and restricted by the structured approach I prefer with mind mapping and structured characters, plots, settings.
The only advice I would like to give on the foundation of the answers you have received so far is: follow the method that appeals to you, and if that method evolves and changes into something uniquely you, congratulations!
My experience has been one where the "great initial plot" was contrived and mind-mapped; then ancilliary bits of stuffing were added and this in turn necessitated the addition of new character etc. The entire process was still fairly organic, driving itself forward into new areas.
I personally believe that it is this organic growth, which has not been planned out in intricate detail, that will give your book a flavour of you.
Try a short story with a mind mapping-type download (you can find them on google etc) and see how you feel about that structure. Not for you? Broadly plan you plot, find a quiet space and start writing.
Best of luck and keep us updated. Tell us an awesome story!
As with anything else you should start with the end(ing) in mind.
What should the outcome look like? What should it feel like to hold the book in your hands, polished, finished?
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