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 get it written and published. So, what’s next? How do you get from an idea to publishing a 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-fire way to get confused and frustrated. You’re a lot better off trying a method 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 your idea, 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, some writers can just start writing on a blank page and not 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. Now add bullet points for linking up your story. So, what major thing happens before the climax? What happens before it? What happens after it? You don’t have to write detailed 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. Make sure you have at least one sub-plot running through the book; otherwise it may seem too one-dimensional. Congratulations! You should now have your first draft, don’t worry, there are many, many, more drafts to come. I eventually ended up with almost 50 revisions to my book, and that was only 50,000-words.
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.