You have an idea for a brilliant book in your head, and it won’t go away. When you tell your friends about it, they all say you should write a book. So, what’s next? How do you get from an idea to a fully published book that people want to buy? Hopefully, this and my other articles will help you achieve just that.
The following is by no means the only way of doing things, there are others, many in some cases that work just as well. But one thing I soon discovered when I first started writing was that trying to absorb too many techniques into your process is a sure way to getting confused and frustrated. You’re a lot better off trying a technique and seeing if it works for you. If it doesn’t, then move onto the next one. You won’t be completely wasting your time as each time you try a new technique it will help you expand your storyline.
The kernel of an idea
So, you have an idea for a book, and now it’s time to get some words down on a page, isn’t it? Actually no. The first thing you probably need to do is create a storyline. You’ve probably heard of the term “storyboard” in relation to films, well this is the same sort of thing. Now, there are some writers who can just start writing on a blank page and don’t stop until they’ve finished their first draft. However, these writers are very few and far between, and most of us mere mortals have to use some method to grow our ideas into proper stories.
Create a bullet point list, and in the first one write how your story starts, and in the last one how it ends. Somewhere in the middle is your idea or maybe that’s how your story ends. Now add bullet points for linking up the story. So, what major thing happens before the climax? What happens after it? You don’t have to write great big sentences, just one line ideas.
Expanding the idea
Now write how your story starts in your first bullet point. It doesn’t matter how real this is yet; it’s just important to get something down. As you think how to get from one bullet point to the next your story will start to take shape. Don’t worry whether it makes any sense at this juncture, just keep adding bullet points as you think of ideas.
Hopefully, as you go along you’ll start seeing natural breaks in the storyline, this could be where your chapters are. Now you need to break out the bullet points into sperate groups, one for each section of the story. If you get stuck at any time don’t worry, go out and talk to people, try to get your brain active.
Starting to write
Now comes the exciting part. Now all you have to do is to join the bullet points up with sentences. Congratulations! You should now have your first draft, don’t worry, there are many many more drafts to come. I think I eventually ended up with 50 odd revisions to my book, and that was only a 50,000-word effort. The rest, I’m afraid is up to you, from here on in you just have to keep exploring your story. Make sure you have at least one sub-plot running through the book; otherwise it may seem too one-dimensional.
So, what are you waiting for? Go and get writing your book. I wish you every success in getting your book published, the most important thing is not to give up. You will hit brick walls when you just can’t seem to think of what to write next, so go for a walk, have a drink (or two), take a break and come back to it. It may take months, or even years, but you can get to the end and you can get published.