7 Steps to Writing Your Book and Getting it Published
As I work one-on-one with writers and those who want to be writers, I get to hear all sorts of questions and concerns. One which keeps popping up lately is; “How do I start writing a book?”
There are heaps of people out there who have a great idea for a book in their heads. Their problem is the art of knowing how to get that idea down on to paper. Many say they haven’t written since their college days, and that every time they go to start, they experience a complete ‘blockage.’ Others say they don’t have the time to write, they aren’t creative enough, or they lack the stamina to sit down for a set period to begin. But for most there’s something else too; they simply don’t know where to begin!
Do they start with dialogue or a paragraph of text about the scenery? With the main character, or with the lady who gets murdered? With a dramatic scene, or something more subtle to lead the reader into the book? All this depends on the genre of book you are writing, the theme of your book, the target audience of your book, and the plot of your book. It’s not a good idea to simply sit down one day and say to yourself, “Today I’m going to start writing a book.”
Your book is precious, it will take a lot of your time to complete, and as such it deserves some proper thought and planning. Characters need to be determined and analyzed, scenes need to be carefully considered, hooks devised (especially for at the end of chapters) and the structure and theme plotted. If you’re still struggling, and you’d like to get those creative juices flowing, then I’d suggest some exercises to wean your way into writing. Try free-writing, or morning pages – both are great ways to overcome writer’s block and get yourself on the writing road…
PS. To learn about how to start writing your book, click here to get a copy of my ebook Ready Steady Write: How to Prevent Stumbling in the Starting Blocks.
Let’s face it, without the odd slither of tension, life would be dull and boring. Well, it’s the same story when it comes to writing – without a little tension in books, they become tedious too. By creating tension in your writing and raising the emotional level of the text, the reader is forced to remain interested in the story. Unfortunately, many writers are afraid to add tension, as they think people can’t handle it. However, they’re as wrong as wrong can be!
Creating tension in your writing involves constantly raising the stakes for your character, so he/she has to work hard to get what he/she wants. Tension hooks readers and ensures they continue to turn the pages. Authors use many tricks to invoke tension in their books. Here are a few methods of creating tension in your writing that you might like to try:
If something has a time limit it signals automatic pressure. If your character has to reach his/her goal by a certain time, mental and emotional tension are a cert.
Conversations between characters can elevate the tension. For example, if your protagonist wants something from the other character but doesn’t want that character to know.
Well written fiction ebbs and flows to match the pacing of the story. Each time your character hits a crisis point, the pacing should speed up. Once the crisis has been solved, tell the story at a gentler pace. Not long after another crisis appears, greater even than the last. The ebbs shorten as the plot quickens, finally reaching a climax. Your reader will anticipate these peaks in the tension, and as a result won’t be able to put your book down.
Short sentences with active verbs signal tension. On the other hand, long, meandering sentences filled with adjectives and adverbs indicate a relaxed pace.
Different genres require different kinds of tension. Tension is generally much greater in young adult novels, but in one form or another, tension must be present in all books in order for them to sell.
Can you think how the last book you read affected you? Perhaps you shed a few tears at a particularly sad (or happy) moment? What caused you to react like this? It’s ultimately to do with characters, timing, plot, believability, and of course tension!
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