How Do I Start Writing A Book?

The number one question we receive is, "I have a great idea for a book, how do I start?" The answer is simple, start writing!


How To Start Writing
When you have a concept or idea for a book, the best way to start, is to sit in front of your word processor and begin writing. If you're not sure of the
story line or perhaps the order of a technical book, begin by putting your thoughts in writing. There are two ways to accomplish this. One is by
agonizing over every word attempting to get it perfect. The second is letting your thoughts flow into your writing in no organized or particular order. If
you already have an idea of the story line, follow it. Otherwise, just let your thoughts flow into your manuscript. Don't worry about perfect
punctuation, grammar or sentence structure. Just keep the thoughts flowing into the manuscript. Some writers just start with a rough outline and go
from there. Whatever works best for you is the proper method.

The Rough Draft
Keep in mind, the first manuscript is a rough draft and a concept of your eventual finished product and nothing more.  Soon you'll note that the
content seems to be coming together and making sense. If you have literary or writing experience, that's all the better. Utilize those skills in your
writing. If you don't initially have those skills, don't worry as you'll develop writing skills sooner than you think. It's been said that writing skill is the
least necessary part of any good book. What's most important is the story. Anyone can become accomplished in writing, but not everyone has what it
takes to write a good book.

Dedicate Time
You should set aside time to write on a daily or weekly basis. Try to write one or two chapters a week at a minimum. If the words are not coming
easily, don't worry about it at this point. Just get your ideas down on paper. Some writers have written their entire book in a few weeks and then spent
a year or more revising and polishing it to perfection. The idea is to get your core thoughts into a rough draft. You can correct the grammatical issues
and add the flowery descriptions later. Remember the window dressing comes after you have the window in place.

Keep Your Work Yours
If you intend to publish for profit, you might consider keeping your work confidential. Don't take your rough draft and offer it to others for their input
or suggestions. Initially, keep all of your work private and to yourself. It's OK to discuss the general concept of your story, but try to stay away from
details. Don't allow someone else to evaluate an unfinished work or something that doesn't yet exist. They may think it's worthless, causing you to
discard a story that may have become a best seller. At the point where you are satisfied with your basic story line, then bring in your advisors, if you
need them.

An artist will rarely allow their work in progress to be seen. Generally they cover their painting with a cloth until it’s close to completion. Others might
comment or make suggestions, and suddenly the work may take an entirely different direction from what the artist originally intended. The artist
might subconsciously incorporate the comments and suggestions of others into their work. Keep your work original and yours. If you want an un-
official co-author of your work, allow others to read it and make suggestions before it’s ready, otherwise, keep it private. Your own ideas and
perspective is what may make your manuscript unique and a best seller.

Polish and Perfect
After you've written around six chapters (usually six to ten pages per chapter), go back and read the first three, making rough corrections. When
you've finished nine chapters, go back and read through the first six chapters making rough corrections. Follow this pattern until you have completed
the first draft of your manuscript. After you've finished this first draft, set it aside for a few days and then read it again, making additional corrections.
Some writers follow this process a dozen times, each time refining their work.

Embellishing The Story
When you feel comfortable with your basic storyline, begin adding more descriptive and flowery phrases, adding and deleting content and generally
refining your words into a more concise and cohesive story. Edit your manuscript as many times as you feel it’s necessary to perfect the story,
incorporating corrections to grammar, punctuation and sentence structure. If the rules of grammar in some instances interrupt your story flow or
change the intent of your words, ignore them, keeping your intent and thoughts intact. Many well written books don't sell, and other less perfect ones
become best sellers. Keep in mind, "
less perfect" does not mean a book with a poor story line filled with glaring errors, it merely means something less
than perfect. A quality manuscript rarely needs an excuse or qualifier. Make your work the best it can be.

The Title
If you haven't already decided on a title, now is the time. Your title should, in some way, reflect the content of your story. The title is more than just a
title, it's also a marketing tool. Just remember, in most instances it's the first thing people see or hear about your book. Sometimes successful authors
will have very basic titles because just their name alone may be all that's necessary. Unless you're already famous, your title should be a little more
descriptive, creating enough interest to get a reader to pick up your book and take a look. If they are still interested after browsing the cover and
maybe the first few paragraphs, they're hooked and buy your book.

The Rules
You'll find many rules regarding writing. Rules dealing with format and technique, commonly accepted practices, grammar, punctuation and a host of
other professional recommendations. As a novice writer it is best to make every attempt to follow the rules. The most important rule however, is if it
works, forget the other rules.

These suggestions are based on comments from successful authors. What works best for you, is what you should use.


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