How to Write a Book or “How do I write a book?” is the most basic and yet the most complicated question I get from other writers.
For fun, I plugged this question into Google and got some really bad advice. Like starting with the names of each chapter. Maybe that works for someone???
Okay, so how do you write a book? I really can’t tell you everything you need to know to write a book in this one little blog post. Most of this website is dedicated to how to write a book. But I can give you a few basic steps and point you to some articles to get you on your way.
2.) Read more
And, no, I don’t mean articles like this on writing a book. I mean fiction, preferably of the type you want to write, but this last isn’t a requirement. Find books that resonate with you and read them. Any books. But please don’t think this means I want you to copy anything about them. Not plot. Not voice. Nothing. I just want you to get the heart of storytelling. I want you to learn how words go together and how characters and plot matter. You can get all of this from just reading other books.
3.) Have an idea or premise
You can’t write a book about nothing. You need to start with an idea. It doesn’t have to be the most unique idea. There are very few truly unique ideas. Usually what is heralded as new is just a new twist or mashup on something that’s been done before. Plus, this article isn’t on writing a blockbuster. Maybe you will with your very first book, but let’s just work on getting that first one under your belt, shall we?
Now this idea or premise may be anything from “all the men have disappeared and women have to figure out how to keep the human race alive” to “prisoners use rats to dig tunnels out of a prison to escape.”
Again, I’m guessing if you want to write a book, you already have this down too. If not, check out some of our creative writing prompts.
So already at step 4!
4.) Decide what type of book you want to write
I put this next because I think it’s good to have some idea from the beginning. You can change it later, but writing a tragic romance is going to be a lot different from writing a zombie thriller. The type of book is going to change everything from point of view, to number of characters, to length, to tone, to… well, everything.
5.) Decide who this book is about
Who is your main character? or main characters?
Before you do anything else, decide what this character wants, why and what is going to get in their way. This is their Goal, Motivation and Conflict.
It may help to do some other character development before completely nailing down the Goal, Motivation and Conflict.
6.) Decide what happens, otherwise known as PLOT
There are a number of methods you can use to plot, but let’s start simple with just a few key scenes.
That’s right, just write the book. As in put words down on the page, hopefully in an order that makes sense and entertains others.
You will need to revise. If you think you don’t, well… trust me, you do. (And probably revise some more…)
Then type The End and sit back. You are a writer.
For more on How to Write a Book, check out all of the other articles under Writing Craft here a the How to Write Shop.
Want to see if you are on the right track?
Think about joining a writer’s group for your genre or buy a critique.
Lori Devoti is the author of paranormal romance, urban fantasy and young adult fiction. Under the name Rae Davies, she writes the USA Today Bestselling Dusty Deals Mystery series. Check our her books at www.LoriDevoti.com and RaeDavies.com. Looking for help with your writing? Lori also does developmental editing and critiques for other authors and publishers. See our Editorial Services page for contact information and pricing.
Hi my name is Marsha
My goal is to write my first book and finish it before September 30 2018 I’m looking for accountability partner to help Mr along the way and any guidance would be an great help
First welcome to the crazy world of authordom. 🙂 What kind of book are you writing? I’d look for groups in that genre. When I first started, I was writing a cozy mystery and joined Sister’s in Crime. They had an online critique group which was a huge help. (There’s an article here listing some groups… I’ll look for it and post in the comments.) There are also a ton of writer groups on Facebook. Do be careful about who you work with, and don’t be afraid to walk away from a critique group or partner if the fit isn’t right. Again.. there’s an article. 🙂 I’ll be back with a couple of links.
This is one on critique groups.
This was a guest post, but it’s a group that is billed as a support group for writers. I’m not sure what all it offers, but sounds interesting. http://howtowriteshop.loridevoti.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=8826&action=edit
My name is Aidan, and I am currently writing.. well, not my first book, but the only one that I have felt really passionate about. One of my best friends is working with me, and I’ve developed the characters a lot.
The premise is kind of a mish-mash of Harry Potter and Marvel’s Runaways, in that there are three kids who gain mutant powers and discover an entirely new civilisation where everyone has those weird and wonderful abilities. Whilst we have developed the villain almost as much as the main trio, I’m still not sure what his motives or evil plan would be…
I’m fairly young (like, below 18), and I’m not looking to actually publish this book, but some guidance would be greatly appreciated..