How to Write a Book

By John Focht

This title sounds simple enough; especially if you are a writer.  Just open a new Word doc, give it a title and start typing away.

Is it that simple though?  For many writers and authors, getting a book started is a lengthy process of researching story lines, ideas, and characters that fit best their story.  Even before typing a single letter, there is quite a bit of prep work required in this process.   For some, this is a very effective means of writing a book.

Other authors, though, go the old school way and simply sit, type and see what it looks like at the end.

While still others go through a process of writing, reading, re-writing and re-reading their story as it evolves; incorporating their entire writing, editing, and proofreading process into an inter-twined writing process.

Writing a book can be a challenging endeavor, particularly for first-time authors.  Trying to get the perfect match of story line and characters can be an ever-evolving process throughout the whole writing cycle.

When writing a first book, authors should focus beforehand on what the general idea and story line of what their book is about.  This sounds simple enough, and it should be.  Creating an outline of the book will enable authors to get a good sense of what they are looking to achieve in their book.  Whether the book is a fictional story, a screen play, a reference book, or a non-fictional book, creating an outline provides would-be authors a good sense and vision of their own story line and plots.

Once an outline is created, start the writing process.  With a general outline in place, the writer will be able to flow through the path that they outlined for themselves.  Of course as writes begin getting into the details of their story, and the plots and sub-plots begin to develop, the path of the initial story may take sudden twists and turns that weren’t initially planned.  That’s ok, continue with the writing.

Writers should keep an eye on the initial outline though to see how the new story line still fits into what was initially planned.  If not, perhaps re-review and update the outline.  While writers don’t want to lose the creative juices, they still want to have a general sense and purpose of the overall story.

Of course there is no harm to sitting and writing – it’s similar to the old golf adage “grip it and rip it”.  As in golf, sometimes overthinking the process too much may cause a case of writers block as authors try to write a story that fits an outline.  Authors and writers don’t want to block themselves into a rigid outline, but they also don’t want to get to the end of their book and realize that they have taken the story in a few different directions and nothing ties together.

The “grip it and rip it” vs. outline approach will generally come down to individual authors styles and likes and dislikes.  Experience level may also dictate what type of approach an author may take in writing their book.  The outline approach may work best with first-time authors, but not as well anymore with more experienced authors.

And of course there are the writers who are in the constant write, edit, and re-write cycle throughout their entire writing process.  This sounds like a complicated process, but as the saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.  Some very successful authors and writers create their work in this fashion.  If you fall into his category, you’re on your own with this one.