Now doesn’t that sound like fun? Actually, writing a book is hard work.
Most authors will tell you, I love to have written a book. The actual writing, ah, not so much.
I don’t want to discourage anyone with a book idea and a desire to write. If I didn’t love to write, I wouldn’t do it. But it is a bit like a pregnancy. Some days it’s sickening. Other days, everything is working and you feel energetic and euphoric. Good days or bad, you have a growing love in your heart for the baby that you’ll be able to hold, and a burgeoning pride you’ll feel as a new parent. And that never gets old.
So you have an idea. It’s good to know what kind of book you want to write and what the story is about.
This can be sketchy or very detailed. Is it going to be a boy or a girl? You might not know that for a while, but at least you know it’s going to be a baby.
Some options (but not all). Fiction or non-fiction? A full-length book or a collection of short stories? Mystery, romance, adventure, memoir or self-help, etc. What’s your genre? I advise figuring that out before you start. I wrote two books before I realized genres have parameters, and I hadn’t met them. Those two manuscripts are in boxes in storage. They were excellent learning tools, but I could have saved a lot of time and brain-energy if I’d understood what I was writing.
There are other steps, which I’ll talk about next time, but if this is your first book, you might skip them and start writing.
How I started:
Twenty-six years ago, I took a two-day seminar on writing a romance novel. I took it with my sister out of curiosity. I had no thoughts of writing a book. As I listened to the instructor, I realized I had a story idea that I could tell. So I went home and started writing. It didn’t take me long to realize I needed a bit more instruction. Natural childbirth is a lot easier if mother took Lamaze classes and exercised along the way. Book writing is the same. So I took adult education and community college creative writing classes. I read every book on writing I could find. Each attempt at writing got better and better.
Where I started:
Each story has a beginning. That often changes, so it isn’t important at first. Beginning writers often have to go back and lop off a chapter or a scene or two. Start with the action. Start with the day everything changes for the hero or heroine. That’s usually good advice. In my newest book, due out in October, I started with a verse. Though this isn’t a book about theology or the Bible, this verse set up the premise for the first chapter.
“The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.”
~Genesis 6:11, The Bible, KJV
There are many opportunities to learn the craft. Attend a writers conference. Check out library presentations and opportunities to meet authors. There are many wonderful books about writing. Check with the library or browse the bookstores. Soak up as much as you can, then put what you learn to practice. Write, write and write some more. The more exercise you do, the easier the labor and childbirth will be. Honest.
Next time: Birth of a Book, Part Three: The Lamaze Method