Tag Archives: questions

How Do You Know That You’re Ready To Write A Book?

How Do You Know That You’re Ready To Write A Book?

NaNoWriMo is on the horizon, which means lots of questions about writing. I had a plaintive cry for help from one woman, who’s been listening to people tell her what she can’t do. Basically, her friends were laughing at her and telling her that she couldn’t write a book.

Oh dear. As you might imagine, that made me very cross indeed. Since none of this writer’s friends are authors, how dare they crush her dreams? (While calling themselves “friends”…) On the other hand, perhaps those friends are helping her more than they realize.

I’ve always said that you will know that you’re ready to write a book when you want to do it — and that you’ll learn what you need to know about writing a book in the process of writing.

With any luck at all, this writer will decide to prove that she can indeed write a book, by writing and publishing one. 🙂

Write a book one idea and paragraph at a time

“How do I know I’m ready to write a book?” is a very common question.

Here’s my answer. If you can write a letter, you can write a book. You just keep writing, putting down one idea after another, and one paragraph after another. Keep writing, and you’ll end up with a book. You don’t even have to love writing, nor do you need to be talented, or even good at writing.

Only writing teaches you writing. The more you write, and the more you want to improve, the more you will improve.

Here’s the thing. No one knows what YOU can do — not even you. So, if you want to write a book, just start writing.

Desire is everything: writing a book will teach you how to write it

Of course people will have opinions. 🙂 To avoid getting side-tracked by those opinions, don’t discuss what you’re doing. Your nearest and dearest mean well when they tell you that you “can’t write a book.” They’re trying to help. (Most of them, anyway.) They don’t want you to be hurt.

When I offer this advice to writers — to write a book, get started and write — they have many more questions. However, if they’re not actively writing, they can’t implement the advice they get. So you need to start writing, no matter how many doubts and questions you have.

NaNoWriMo offers you a great opportunity to discover what writing a novel is like. Basically, it’s a lot of sitting and writing. 🙂

If you’re like the writer above, and wonder if you can write a book — join NaNoWriMo and find out.

Angela Booth’s Easy-Write Process: Write The EASY WAY… Like a Professional Writer

Angela Booth’s Easy-Write Process: Write The EASY WAY… Like a Professional Writer

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Genre: Writing
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If you've ever dreaded writing, or felt that writing was too hard, you'll love the Easy-Write Process.

The Easy-Write Process changed my life; I developed it over several years of struggling with writing. When I taught the Easy-Write process to my writing students, they achieved great results too. Please enjoy the Easy-Write Process -- I wish you much success with it.

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Map It: For Writing Success — Fiction And Nonfiction Outlines Made Easy

Map It: For Writing Success — Fiction And Nonfiction Outlines Made Easy

eBook: $5.99

I developed the tactics and strategies in this book to help myself. My students have found them essential to producing both fiction and nonfiction almost effortlessly.

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Writing Your Book: Write First, Research Later

Beach laptop

I’ve had some questions from members of the novel-writing Challenge, so I’ll answer them here.

Writers are always being told to “write what you know”. I’ve had several questions from members about stories they want to write, but feel they can’t, because they don’t know anything about whatever-it-is.

Forget “write what you know”. 🙂

Focus on “write what you want to know, or can look up, or ask someone about.”

For example, this is a wonderful interview with Ryan Nerz, who was a ghostwriter for Sweet Valley High, How Your Sweet Valley High Gets Made | The Hairpin. So, he’s male. How does he write about teenage girls? Here’s how:

“You know, one of the things that I would do for scenes where, say, one of the girls was getting ready to go out with a guy that she really liked, and she’d be putting on makeup, I [would call] my sister and say, ‘Tell me the details. What you do when you put on your makeup? Tell me step by step.’ And then I would write it. And my editor would say, ‘Jesus, are you a woman? That’s perfect!’ It was all just stolen from my sister.”

You can always research what you don’t know, however, there are traps when you research.

Write first, research later

ALWAYS write the first draft of your novel while you’re researching, and leave most of your research until the first draft is done. Otherwise, research is just too seductive. If you love to read, you’ll spend your time reading, convincing yourself that you’re “working”. I’ve fallen into this trap many times. There are at least two books I “researched” right into the ground; I never wrote them.

Use your imagination first. Research the details later.

For example, let’s say you’re writing an adventure novel. Your lead characters’ plane crashes into the Amazonian jungle. You’ve got a mile of things you could research:

* Small planes, makes and models, number of seats, interiors, navigation, flight routes…

* The Amazon: crash site, plants, trees, animals, weather, people who live there…

If you’re wise, you’ll forget all that research in your first draft. Just get the story down.

Just crash that plane. You can research later. Once your first draft is written, you’ll know exactly what you need to research.