How to Start Writing a Book – A Short Explanation
Books belong to different genres: science fiction, satire, drama, action, adventure, romance, mystery, horror, art, cookbooks etc. If you dream of becoming a writer but have no clue where to start, here are some steps to writing a book for beginners.
So how to start a book?
Here are some simple steps to get you started:
- Determine what your book shall be about – identifying the theme of your work is the most important step in writing a book. This will enable you to have a systematic flow of ideas and then you are going to come up with the storyline, characters and other important components. The aim is to sum them all up to get a captivating manuscript that will efficiently capture the reader’s attention and leave them feeling that the money they spent to purchase the book was actually worth it. Be sure to generate an idea or storyline that is new, different from other books in the genre and not overly complicated for you to write and express or for readers to comprehend.
- Setting a reasonable daily number of words to achieve – starting is always an issue and difficulties arise due to other commitments such as a family, job and much more. That is why having to achieve a given amount of words in a period of set time is really important as it keeps your book going and prevents procrastination. Make it attainable at your own comfort time creating that momentum.
- Identify your target audience – it is evident that people have different and diverse interests. People of various ages, social status, ideologies, life experiences, personalities have non-identical perspectives to life and hence what they choose to read will surely differ. To get the idea, it’s very essential for the writer to go through a number of already published book reviews. By comparing the stories, the writer will get a great flow of new and fresh captivating ideas.
- Try getting prior feedback – it hurts to have to rewrite a book that you thought was awesome only to get bad critique, which kills your morale as a writer. Earlier feedback can come from a trusted friend or family members.
- Determine the type of writer you will be – there are two types of writers popularly known as plotters and pantsers.
What you need to know first about how to be a writer
Before you try becoming a writer and begin thinking of how to start a book, it is good to identify your area of specialization and work method. Plotters are those writers who take a long time organizing their ideas, and invest weeks or months into planning ahead of time on what to jot down. The advantage of being a plotter is that one has a strong flow of his/her story hence it’s quite hard to get stuck; it requires a shorter time to write a story as the writer has his/her steps smoothly defined.
Plotters are too restricted to their already formulated ideas. When he/she wants to change the story even slightly, it will mean redoing the entire plan which can be really tiresome at times. Pantsers, on the other hand, are those writers who get their ideas as they write. They have vague or little knowledge of what they are going to write about. Pantsers simply play with their content and characters, hence letting their story flow as they write subconsciously. Their advantage is they can always find a way out if they get stuck applying the flexibility of their approach.
However, the fact that they have vague ideas makes them stuck more often leaving most projects abandoned for new easy ones.
Accept negative energy – failure is part of our daily lives, and as a writer always be ready for criticism, low sales, or negative feedback because it’s part of growth and sustainability. That should even give you much more motivation to further your work rather than kill your dreams as you can’t be perfect and man is to err.
Find resources to publish your book
Budgeting is an important factor to consider as an author. Budgeting your money and resources enables you to know the absolute amount needed and therefore the profits that you will gain once the book is in the marketplace.
Both time and money is costly. While writing your masterpiece is free, it will take some time and another problem comes with publishing it. This also involves promotional services, getting an editor, proofreader, and cover designer. It means needing some investment.
Get a view of experts on your book
By experts we mean a person who has the knowledge or who is skillful in your particular genre. He/she has majored in that area for a long period and hence is greatly experienced in the field and can make corrections or give you a review based on an expertise point of view.
All these are important elements to have in the back of your head as you collect ideas on how to begin writing. Research enables you to have a large perspective of what is required in the market at that particular time, what are the society’s and your audience’s interests.
Give yourself the timeline on the research and begin writing
Too much of something is poisonous. Too much research is as bad as is good for your writing. Most of the time authors lean on research which is leading to procrastination. Research can always be an ongoing process for you as an author. Begin the flow and keep collecting ideas along the way to avoid losing interest.
Setting a time limit as a deadline for your research is very important. You want to have just as needed and not too much information to start and keep going preventing you from over-editing your first ideas.
How long does it take to write a book?
Time management is very key for any writer because it will determine the length and quality of material that you will come up with by the end of the day. Mind mapping the flow of your own story in advance is very important and this may require even a little more time than the writing stage. This involves using ‘hands-on tools’ – more writing with paper and pen than typing.
- Set your timelines.
This involves planning on what number of words you need to achieve as an author in a particular period. It also means a clear understanding of the number of words published in the market for shorter books, typical novels and so on.
Are you an everyday kind of a writer?
Set the reasonable targets that you are sure of achieving. This can be simply done using a calendar.
- Write down a messy sketch of your ideas.
It’s hard to get the whole idea out on a clean sheet of paper at once, but it acts as an excellent starting point. This guideline will enable you to have an easy time while you are writing a book because it acts as a great reference.
- Use time management.
Having an already fixed timeline for your write-up is a start. It depends though if you are a full-time writer or are working part-time and if you have commitments such as a family; a job or family can be a distraction.
- Follow up on your day to day progress.
Have that daily word goal as a must achievement for you as a writer. Take it as a self-expectation and then see how much you can reasonably achieve without too much strain.
- Take a short break.
After weeks and weeks of working on your draft, it’s best to leave it completely untouched for a while. Later review sessions should then follow to correct the previously unseen mistakes.
- Do more drafts of your story outline.
Rewriting your story outline helps in patching up greater problems due to further research. In the process, check for originality, capturing your audience with the introduction, pay attention to the presence of clichés, unnecessary adverbs and adjectives, weakest points and so on.
Tips for writing a book
When writing a book, the idea of every author is to capture the reader’s attention. For their book to get good sales, a writer should consider certain aspects as he/ she writes the material. A good book writer should follow these steps to writing a book.
Those certain catchy aspects include:
- Ensure your introduction is a bomb – for every book, the first thing that grabs the reader’s attention and gives them the motivation to continue unravelling more pages is the introduction. Making your start boring means that hardly anyone is ready to get to the end of the story, reading it becomes a struggle.
- Throw a few proverbs here and there – this also includes using other English aspects such as great verbs, non-technical terms etc, making it catchy to the reader.
- Make your story original and captivating- the flow should be noticeably authentic. It becomes boring when a reader of your book gets to determine the end of the story in the middle of the book. Bring that twist and make it saucy.
- Your story should be what your readers can relate to, or at least nothing too much imaginary. Create ideas that give an awe to your audience. That is very important.
- Your characters should be realistic. Making your characters active from beginning to end shows you are an experienced writer.
- Make a book that you would want to read yourself.
- Try being really creative.
- Working on a non-fiction book does not mean that it should be poorly written. Art of good writing must also be applied here. Try communicating your message to the reader.
- Ensure that as you write, you stick to your genre from beginning to the end, keeping the flow going.
- There is so much to look on, but at the end of the day take care of your physical and mental health as writing requires much more energy than you think.
The need of an editor
Editors are professionals who help turn your piece into a fascinating story that can be enjoyed by readers. Outsourcing help is of great need in your book writing process. Though you might have re-read and edited the text several times, it’s sometimes hard to notice the tiny mistakes in your story. The presence of an editor eases removal of roadblocks hence saving on time. This will involve money for hire and time needed for the review.
The need of a proofreader
You should know how to write well in order to avoid common errors. After writing you need to go through your work. This can be done personally but it is time-consuming, and one tends to overlook the mistakes which majorly are typos. Proofreaders might include your trusted friends, members of your family and this won’t cost much but still should be budgeted for. Better ensure they are keen and very interested.
Formatting and publishing your book
Formatting is all about making sure your manuscript looks professional, and the presentation is kind of consistent regarding your layout and size of the text. Good design of your book makes it easy for the reader’s eyes.
Introduction of diagrams, photos, and illustrations is really important as an add-on to popular science and children’s books as it makes a book more understandable and appealing.
Use of the best printers – capable of printing high quality black, white or colored pictures is also a necessity for formatting.
Use of Microsoft Word is a recommendation. Take a look at your page formatting and setup (allow set-ups like introducing a one-inch margin on the top, bottom, and sides).
Formatting also involves looking at your header and footer, page arrangement, individual page titles and more.
For publishing you need designing your book cover, choosing methods of distribution, budgeting on the printing costs. And before you publish your masterpiece, it’s really necessary to have your copy for you to proofread your work for typos and spelling before you are ready to send it to the market. When you do so, you will see that all your efforts are worth.
The result of your efforts
You will tire as it takes much time and of course mental and physical energy.
Perfectionism should not be in your mind as you write your book. There will always be a difference between what you had as an idea and the finished text you are ready to publish and it is normal.