The Starting Point



” I didn’t set out to write this book. It crept up on me when I wasn’t looking, when I didn’t know I was writing it.”

– Mark David Gerson


There is one question that absolutely terrifies a writer. It’s the inquiry that makes you shrug nonchalantly on the outside and squirm on the inside.

How do you start to write a book?

I know when I hear this question my first reaction is to roll my eyes and let out a silent groan.

The answer is quite simple, yet oh so complicated.

Writing a book is not an exact science. I think we’re all different in our approach. I love the quote from Mark David Gerson because for me, that is exactly how I feel right now.

I had a plan a few months ago as I was finishing up The Fae Witch Series, but now that’s pretty much shot to Hell. I was hit with this sudden inspiration for a story and now it’s all I can think about. I can only answer the question on how do I start writing a book from my perspective and try to give you insight into my thought process as I navigate this wild journey.

I have said it before and I’ll say it again, I think outlines are imperative when you are writing a book. To sit down and try to wing it without any preparation is very difficult and I also think you will end up with a mess of a rough draft, if you even finish at all.

I always start with a fresh notebook and from there I jot down ideas. I begin with the major characters and their back story, as well as, a fairly long synopsis before diving into a rough draft of chapter outlines.

The best part for me is the daydreaming.

I love to let my mind wander and imagine my book from start to finish. I create and rewrite my book so many times in my head. I then go back and scratch out some of my outlines before furiously writing my new ideas down so I don’t forget them.

And then the real work begins.

I don’t think I can explain or teach the crafting of writing your first chapter. It is, to me, the most difficult part of being an author. You have to grab the readers attention and make them thirsty for more. You are also tasked with introducing your characters and providing a set up for the entire novel in just a few short pages.

So, how do you start writing a book?

I guess the only answer I have is that when you truly want anything in this life then you just do it. No matter how many blog posts you read or classes that you take, none of that will ever prepare you for the moment when you sit down to write your story.

You will have feelings of panic, doubt, and fear. You will be filled with anxiety and a slew of excuses of why you can’t start today may overwhelm you.

But then there’s those first few words that come pouring out of you and onto your screen. Suddenly the gates open and shaft of creative light streams from your fingertips as you hesitantly type out a sentence which turns into a paragraph.

When you’re done, the smile that breaks across your face is one of relief and then you’re entrenched into a world that only you can enter.

It’s that hard and that simple.

I guess I better get started…







3 Comments Add yours

  1. Kelly T says:

    Your a talented writer and I love your mind, I love how it works as I read through your books.

    Thank You Shannon Barczak!

  2. Mark David Gerson says:

    Wonderful post. So glad I was able to contribute to your inspiration!!

    1. I’m just honored that you even stumbled upon my little blog!

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