You just finished reading your favourite, and now your dream is to write the next bestseller. You have a slight gist about what it’s going to be and have created a rough outline, but you know nothing about writing a book. The key to doing something new is to break it down into simple steps and following them. Take a deep breath; relax! Here are some necessary steps for writing a book.
Your brain is filled with endless ideas, but they are all scattered. With a busy schedule, how do you organise them? Majority authors confessed that by keeping a writing pad on them at all times really helped them. How about you do that too? Doing this helps you be organised and save time. Try doing this first for a few weeks until you get a fair idea on what your book is about.
The setting is a significant element in writing your book. Without a setting, there is no story. When does the story happen? Where does it happen should be decided. Sidney Sheldon’s masterpiece Master of the Game was set in the 19th century in South Africa. The setting helps in reaching your target audience. While you think of a setting, try to get into minute details as well. Which city is the story happening in? Which street? What year? What month? What day? Not many think of this, but every detail helps readers relate to the story.
This depends on the story you want to write. For example, if you’re going to write a book on zombies, you have to do in-depth research on it. Read various books on zombies by different authors, know the best selling books on zombies, authors who write about them, etc. Take something real, create something of your own to add uniqueness to your work.
Imagine you read somewhere that zombies will die only if you shoot them in the heart. Suddenly it hits you.
Who is telling the reader the story? And who is the narrator? Let us take Ramayana, for example. Do you want Rama to narrate the story in the first person (I)? Or do you want to tell the story from the second person POV (you)? Or the third POV (he/she)? An omniscient author is someone who writes a book from different people’s perspectives in a single book or chapter.
Although there are quite a few narrative styles including unreliable narrator and observer-narrator, I suggest you can begin with simple narrative styles such as first-person narrator (I) or limited third-person narrator ( he/she ).
It is all about consistency. Writing is like running a marathon. You don’t stop. I’m not saying to write continuously, but to write every day without skipping. Have a realistic goal. Set a daily word count goal and try to finish a page. Before you know it, it builds up to a chapter and leads to a book.
Since you have to write every day, make some writing time and stick to it. Try to write at the same time every day, or you’ll end up procrastinating. It should become a part of your daily routine and not just something “you will do if you have the time.” Think of it as something which is going to lead to something big. Pick out a convenient time for you. When you start writing, you learn to be more organised. When you write, make sure you have no distractions during the allotted time. Don’t think of it as something you have to do.
Like I said earlier, the average word count of a chapter is around 2,000 – 5,000 words. Although some writers exceed this and write longer chapters, it should be done sparingly, or it will lose its effect. Have a rough idea as to how many chapters your story needs and sequence them properly. Do not be in a rush to finish, but at the same time, try not to drag on and lose the readers interest. Patience pays. If you’re thinking or writing a chapter with around 3,500 words, one chapter a week sounds reasonable. If you want to write more than 5,000 words per chapter, setting a daily word goal and probably a chapter every week looks good.
Relax once you’re done, but don’t get too cozy as you will lose your tempo.
This is the last deadline you need need to have to finish your manuscript. Depending on the chapter length and number of chapters, it must be decided. If it’s a children’s book, a month to complete it sounds okay as it doesn’t have more than 2-3 lines per page. If it’s a book with around 200 pages or more, you can set a deadline in terms of weeks, months and years. Words make sentences which lead to chapters, and chapters make a masterpiece. Do not rush to the finishing line and do not lose focus.
Now that your first draft is done, try getting feedback for it. Remember that this is only the first draft. There will be many changes you might make later. Don’t get excited and show it to everyone out there. At the same time, don’t show it someone close to you like a best friend or your mom. They might feel obligated to say they love it because they love you. Show it someone who’s a writer as well and get feedback. There is just one author to the story, you.
After you finish your book, let it sit for a few weeks or months before you make any edits to it. Keep your draft aside and go on with your life. After your mind is all clear, reread your draft from a different point of view and see if any changes should be made.
At last, your story is completed, and now it is time for the world to read it. Now your only job is to hunt for the perfect publisher and find the perfect package for it.