Become an established author is the goal of every writer and likewise writing a book is one of the most challenging and rewarding things you will ever do.
Every writer is gifted with her own way of writing a book. Some like to pump out hundreds of pages of rough drafts, others deliberate over each and every word put to paper. As you develop a taste for writing, you will soon discover a method that works for you. But for absolute beginners, this blog post should serve as a good starting point.
Step by Step Guide to Start Writing a Book
Step 1: Pick a Genre (What You write about)
Picking a genre is the first step in writing a book. Don’t base this choice on what genres sell best, but what you like to read. A hardcore sci-fi fan writing a ‘new adult’ novel is only going to produce a shoddy book – if she finishes it at all.
In other words, write for yourself, not the market. Stephen King puts it best:
“When you write a story, you’re telling yourself the story. When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are not the story. Your stuff starts out being just for you, but then it goes out.”
Write from what interest you, your passion and what you are inquisitive about. At the same time, never forget your audience: Always put their interest and need before you
Step 2: Start from the End
Endings are the hardest part of any story. Don’t take our word for it; just ask any writer buddy of yours. Most beginners start out strong but find themselves flummoxed by the time the ending draws near. It doesn’t help that the ending is also the thing that stays longest with readers.
So before you put a single word to paper, figure out how your story ends. Not how it begins – that can be redrawn and revised indefinitely – how it closes. Work your way backwards. How does the character(s) reach his/her ultimate fate? What are the catalysts that lead to the close? What was their origin? And so on.
Always have the all concept on ground (in your mind). Understand and know what you want to achieve, to which group you are writing.
Step 3: Make an Outline
Once you have your book scope firmly in place, start creating an outline of the plot. This is meant to serve as a very rough guideline to hold the plot in place. You don’t have to follow it word for word; feel free to improvise while you write.
Chiefly, the outline should:
- Give a brief overview of what happens in each chapter.
- Delineate the primary struggle in the novel.
- Show how different events and characters interact and affect each other (A murders B, C takes the fall, etc.)
- Allow plenty of room for improvisation
Step 4: Write the First Draft
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed”
The first draft is where you discover the story by yourself.
As you write, you’ll find characters, ideas, words and plots growing in directions you’d never thought possible. The outlines you wrote earlier will often be discarded as you experiment with characters, plots, styles and forms. This is a place for you to break the mold and push yourself creatively. Don’t bother being perfect; the faster you can jot down ideas on paper, the better. Eventually, this rough collection of thoughts, ideas, and plotlines will come together into a comprehensible book – after due editing and countless revisions of course. For now, focus on writing – anything.
Step 5: Rewrite And Rearrange
This is the part where most writers fail. Slinging out a rough draft is easy enough; turning that incomprehensible mess into something readers would want to read takes time, patience and practice.
Ideally, you should give yourself a few months between first draft and first rewrite. This gives you the creative distance necessary to analyze the writing dispassionately.
Ask sharp, pertinent questions – does the plot make sense? Are the characters convincible? Is the pace too slow? Too fast? Is the writing crisp and creative enough? Is the story fun to read?
The first rewrite should take you considerably longer than the first draft. Don’t worry about getting every word right – you’ll take care of that during editing. For now, focus on pulling the rough ideas in the draft into a narrative that actually makes sense.
Step 6: Edit
“Write Drunk; Edit Sober”
– Ernest Hemingway
Done with the first rewrite? Don’t start partying yet. There is still lots of work to be done.
Editing is the opposite of creative writing. Instead of spinning beautiful metaphors and creating lush imagery, you have to actually delete linguistic flourishes. The amazing adverb you found after an hour’s search in the thesaurus? Gone. Those long-winded, poetic asides? Deleted.
Step 7: Party!
Congratulations – you’ve now written your very first book. This is the time to hit the clubs and party ha