Writing your first book? Here’s an overview of how to do it
This post is all about how to write a book.
So, it’s your dream to write a book, but you find the process a little daunting. You’re not alone! Read this post till the end and you’ll learn all the basics about how to write a book.
It can be really difficult to know where to begin when it comes to writing a story from scratch. As a writing coach, I love being the bearer of good news, and the good news is that there’s a pretty simple framework you can follow. Be willing to just start and you’ll learn as you go!
This post is all about how to write a book.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll earn a commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you. Our full disclosure policy is pretty boring, but you can read it here.
HOW TO WRITE YOUR FIRST BOOK:
Step 1: Brainstorm, brainstorm, brainstorm
Even if you already have lots of ideas for your book, don’t jump straight into writing it before doing some brainstorming and pre-writing.
Pre-writing is a term writers use to describe all the work they do before actually starting to write their book front to back. It includes planning, brainstorming, and unpacking your plot, characters, and setting.
The good news is that this can be a really fun process, and it doesn’t have to be difficult. My pre-writing workbook bundle comes with three workbooks that will walk you through different exercises and questions to help you map out your plot, characters, and setting. Grab the full bundle here!
The reason pre-writing is so important?
When you’re writing your book, you’ll inevitably get stuck. If you get stuck but you haven’t done any pre-writing, then you don’t have any ideas to fall back on… meaning you’re really stuck.
But if you DO have ideas to fall back on, then it won’t take long to get your creative juices flowing again!
Step 2: Write your first draft
So you’re wondering how to write a book from start to finish… you probably don’t want to hear this, but in some ways, the question answers itself. You just have to sit down and write.
During the writing process, you’ll be constantly fighting the urge to criticize your writing, pick it apart, and at times, delete it all out of frustration. But the best advice you could possibly take is to just keep writing.
The first draft is mostly about getting words on the page. It will not be perfect by any means, so don’t worry about making it perfect. You just need to have something there to work off of when it comes to revising & editing!
Step 3: Revise & Edit
This is the part that most people dread the most, but you might need to spend more time editing than you even spent writing. This is where all the magic happens.
We can’t talk about how to write a book and publish it without talking about revising & editing.
Revising is all about looking at large chunks of your story that need to be reworked. Pay attention to things like:
- Plot holes you might not have noticed before
- Inconsistent dialogue
- Problems with your story’s timeline
- The character development (is it strong character development or could it be improved? Are the characters’ personalities consistent?)
- Where pacing can be improved
- Descriptions that are too long or unnecessary
- Any other excerpts that need improvement for any reason
Then, you start reworking and even rewriting these sections of your story.
When it comes to editing, you’re looking for smaller things such as:
- Spelling and grammar mistakes
- Sentences that are wordy or don’t make sense
- Dialogue that doesn’t sound natural
- Any other issues that stand out to you
During the editing and revising process, you may need to write new scenes, but you also might need to cut entire scenes. It sounds counter-productive, but sometimes, it’s the best thing for your story. Here’s how to know whether you should cut a scene.
Step 4: Get feedback
Whether this is your first time writing a book or whether you’ve been writing for years, getting feedback is a critical part of the process.
Often, other people will see flaws, inconsistencies, or other areas of improvement that you simply would not have noticed.
You don’t have to hire a professional editor (although that’s certainly an option); you can simply get a few friends or family members to read through your book and provide feedback.
Yes, this will take some time because you’re asking them to do you a big favor (depending on how long your book is). But it’s better to publish a book that has been thoroughly inspected and prepared for the shelves than to risk the story getting lost in potential oversights or errors that you might not have otherwise noticed.
Step 5: Decide on a Publishing Method
There’s a difference between knowing how to write a book, and knowing how to write a book that sells. Once your book is actually written, you need to decide on a publishing method!
Traditional publishing? Self-publishing? A hybrid?
The actual publishing process is sometimes the most painstaking part because no matter which route you choose, there are certain decisions you have to make and various waiting periods that you have to endure before you can actually feel the joy of holding your book in your hands.
It’s important to look into the pros and cons of different publishing methods and then decide what works best for you!