Tag Archives: starting a book

So, you want to write a book…

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I think the question that I, and probably most writers, get frequently is how do I write a book. I must confess that I’m not sure how to answer that question. I kind of feel like, in the words of my dad, you either poop or get off the pot.

I’m sure there are a billion articles out there floating on the internet which addresses this subject in detail. I am certain that there have been hundreds of award winning books written by impressive individuals.

I do not claim to be technically inclined when it comes to writing, grammar, or even at times spelling, but there is one thing I do have in abundance of at my fingertips.

I have quite the imagination.

I can’t pinpoint when it started. I remember the woods behind my house transformed into an entire town and I had houses, stores and even a small parking lot for my bike.

I never needed to be entertained by my parents because I had more than enough entertainment going on inside my mind and I always loved to make up stories in my head.

It’s actually something I never gave much thought to and I rarely thought I could parlay my stories into a career or would it become my driving ambition. It has just always been there and when I finally realized that maybe I should share my stories, I balked because I had no idea how to even go about it in any way, shape, or form.

Until Isle of Skye.

It was a story that I had to get out of my head and literally one morning I started writing a brief synopsis before diving into chapter outlines. I didn’t know what I was doing and I had no clue on how this would change the course of my life.

I just did it.

The finished project was riddled with mistakes and errors, but the guts were there, as well as, my heart.

Writing a book is not easy. It’s like there is a shadowy figure looming over you, sucking out every part of you, and pulling it onto  a blank screen until there is nothing left, but your words and your soul.

It’s exhausting, both physically and mentally.

But when you are done, it’s the most exhilarating feeling that any creative person can possibly have come over them.

The fact of the matter is this…

No one can tell you how to write a book. There are no articles or five hundred page novels that can give you the step by step process. There are no workshops that you can attend or writing groups that you can join that will ever propel you to start on your novel.

Those are all helpful tools, but in the end, there is only one thing that you can do to write a book.

Sit down and start. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to make sense. The more you write, the more organized you will become, but don’t worry about that right off the bat.

Start telling your story and watch how it comes to life the more you type. I guarantee you that there is nothing you have ever read or heard of in a lecture that will compare to those first wondrous moments when the words start to take shape.

So, you want to write a book?

Here’s what you’ll need.

A good story, a dash of courage, and a belief in yourself that no one can ever take from you.

You’ll encounter haters along the way. You will be overwhelmed by the underwhelming non-support you receive ( even from your own family). You will be pushed to the brink of sanity sometimes and sleep will become a vague memory.

But just know that when you are done, none of that will matter, because you can walk with your head held high.

The phrase, ‘I want to write a book’, will become, ‘I wrote a book’, and boy, it is a phrase you can say with every ounce of confidence and swagger because you did something not a lot of people start or even finish.

So, what are you waiting for?

 

~Shannon

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The Starting Point

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” 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…

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