One of the first thing people say to me when they find out I’m an author is, “I always wanted to write a book.”
My answer? “So what’s stopping you?”
Just write. Just sit down and start writing.
Okay, it may not be as simple as that but you have to start somewhere. Sometime you have to begin typing out your thoughts, today’s version of ‘putting pen to paper.’
The question is what. What do you want to write about?
I hear many answers from autobiographies, memoirs, science fiction, and high tech thrillers.
It’s amazing the things people think about – from killer plagues and government conspiracies to documenting their fight with cancer or family issues.
All ideas are good ideas. The prevailing roadblock is starting.
I have no golden ticket of answers. I can only relay my journey.
At first, I dove right in with a story that started with a woman finding her own life after her husband died and went ‘back home’ to start over again, that morphed into finding true love, involved a stalker at one point and a ghost.
That’s a lot of crap going on in one book! I wasn’t focused and had about three stories in one book. Bad idea. Thank God I don’t even know where that script is now.
The next time I slowed down and created scenes and visions in my head answering my own question about ‘what if’ which led to many other what if’s and answers.
I developed my first published book from these questions building a story of good and evil vampire style.
My suggestion is to start with encapsulating your story in a couple of sentences. Then make an outline of or draw that story, a very general description of how your story starts, major milestones or scenes, what are the things that must happen or develop to get it to the end.
Use that outline to begin writing your story.
But know a few things. You won’t write a cohesive story, you’ll go on dirt paths that get you nowhere, you’ll start over, and you’ll change your mind and may give up.
And then you’ll start again. Your characters may change – in fact you may find a secondary character becoming so important, so loved that you have to tone him/her down and save them for another story.
You’ll also find you have to learn to write again. Academic and business writing is a different language than retail writing.
You must learn to show versus tell your reader about what’s happening.
You have to capture all senses – sight, hearing, smell, and touch – to bring the reader into the story.
Oh, and you’ll find that the placement of commas and periods for dialog, writing believable dialog and the punctuation of dialog will drive you insane.
Also know your ‘final’ manuscript is far from final.
Establish a set of trusted friends to read your book for criticism and suggestions – and edit, edit and edit.
I suggest you re-read your favorite authors to observe their writing styles, find books with writing basics targeted to authors (Reference section of book stores).
Surf the internet for “writing fiction” or “writing a book” – anything to give you resources for reviews, and enter writing contests for valuable feedback.
More than anything, just write.