Writing a book is a long process with countless steps and things you have to consider.
Even the thought of writing a complete book can sound intimidating, you shouldn’t give up your dream of writing a book. It’s a long task, indeed, but if your build your foundations correctly and keep a good attitude during the hardest writing times, you will succeed!
Thus, today, I’ll share four steps that you can follow to both flesh out your book idea and finish the book in its entirety!
Table of Contents:
Fleshing Out Your Story Idea
This is an important step since it will remain with you until the book is finished.
As writers, we may have hundreds of ideas every single day that make us write notes in excitement. I’m guilty with this, for simply watching art, listening to music, or just walking in the park may fill my head with ten new book ideas.
The key here is to figure out the ones that actually have legs. If you just go on with your first idea without considering it through, you might end up giving up in the middle when you realize the idea doesn’t have substance.
But how do you actually test your idea’s legs?
Well, it’s a relatively simple process.
The key is to wait.
As Jerry B. Jenkins said, the ideas worth writing about are the ones that stick with you.
This means that if you have an idea that keeps you awake at night, fills your notebooks, makes you wonder new ways the story can move, fills you with excitement… that’s the kind of idea you probably should write a book about.
It will take time, yes, but the results are worth all the time used. I have noticed this in my own writing experience and it truly is kind of a magical thing.
Subscribe to my blog and receive notifications when a new helpful article about writing and creativity is published!
Writing The First Draft
This is probably where most of your struggle will come. This is the step that may be the hardest thing for writers to actually do, but don’t worry–I’m here to help you.
There are a few things you should keep in mind when writing your first draft.
- Don’t worry about spelling yet. Those will be fixed later
- Don’t stress about your story being perfect. No first draft is perfect.
- You can always add details later.
Many writers start editing their first draft before it’s even done. Many more writers stress about the quality of their first draft, focusing on all the small mistakes and flaws it has.
Well, the nature of the first draft is to be flawed and have mistakes. It’s just part of life, but yes, I too have stressed about this.
It was only when I started working on my second novel when I broke free from the thought that the first draft must be perfect.
Realizing that you can have mistakes in your first draft kind of gives you immense freedom to just write. The point of your first draft is to get the story down, to see the entire path, the point of your book.
It’s like building a house. First, you lay the foundations, which aren’t that pretty to look at, but later on, you start adding some colour and some furniture etc.
When you’re writing your first draft, keep your inner critic away from your mind. Allow yourself to just write the story as it comes out and only after writing that should you allow the critic to re-emerge and start working.
Write every single day to build up a habit and you’ll have your book written in no time.
If you want to read more about building a productive habit, check out this article: Writer’s Mindset For Productivity
This is the part where your inner critic should really shine.
After you’ve finished your first draft, you must go back to the beginning of your book and start looking at the chapters with a critical eye.
I suggest you take a break from your book before moving to edit it because if you’re editing just after finishing the thing you’re going to edit, you can become blind to your mistakes, which is not good.
The editing basically includes
- Adding details such as characterisation
- Making sure the story has inner consistency
This means that you should go through every single chapter, making sure your character’s don’t act out of character, if it’s not your intent, your story makes sense and there are no inner conflicts, such as a character named Mikael is a hunter, but halfway through the book, he’s suddenly a wizard.
Small things like that are what you should be looking for because they really affect the experience your reader will have.
You should also use this editing time as a way to improve your work even more.
This may include adding more descriptions, character moments, details, you name it!
Think of that like the polish you give to the story, to really make it shine brightly.
There are many ways to do editing. Some like to first finish their first draft and then edit the whole thing.
I, on the other hand, like to do a light edit to a chapter after around a week, then when the first draft is done, I go back and do a heavier edit.
I think the benefits of my approach is that it makes the heavier editing a bit easier because there are not as many mistakes to fix.
In the end, it’s up to you what suits you the best, but remember that editing is necessary. No first draft should be published as it is.
Before you publish your book though, I suggest you go through your story one last time.
After light editing, heavy editing, you should really have a good and polished book in your hands. There should be no spelling errors and other minor mistakes, but this one last read will really make sure all those errors are fixed.
It also serves as a way to make sure you are completely happy about your book, though do keep in mind that an author will figure out a million reasons to be unhappy about their work.
After the final read and possible edits, congratulate yourself! You’ve achieved a marvellous thing and should really be proud of yourself!
You worked hard and really gave this story your all! Now what remains is for your book to get published and see how the readers will react.
Hopefully, you found this article helpful and inspiring. Be sure to follow my blog for future articles about writing and that one upcoming article about publishing a book.