How to write your first book

Writing a novel can look like a daunting initial task. To make things easier, I’ve broken how to write your first book down into five easy steps.

  1. Think of an idea

The first step to writing a book, is to think of an idea. Harry Potter was thought up of on a train ride, Torpor first began with a dream, and The Hunger Games sprang from a tv programme about war. The idea for your first book won’t necessarily come to you overnight. It’s something that you should consistently hold a place for in the back of your mind, and when the time is right, your idea will take hold.

While that doesn’t mean you can’t put aside some time to give it your full attention, it does mean that you shouldn’t force an idea that doesn’t captivate your full interest.

2. Make a rough plan

I know the idea of creating a rough outline of your book, won’t appeal to everyone. Trust me, it didn’t appeal to me either. However, I forced myself to do it, and while my idea changed a lot from that initial plan, it did give me a focus and helped me to avoid writer’s block.

Your plan can be as detailed as a 20,000 page first draft or as brief as a 10 word spider diagram. Stick to whatever works for you. In my case, it consisted of a line or two detailing each chapter.

3. Start writing

This part is the fun part (well it should be if your book idea is any good). Writing your book is time consuming and may take months if not years to fully develop. Setting aside an daily allotted time frame or a target word count is an easy way to keep you on track and avoid procrastination.

While you may not be in the mood to write your book everyday you should be aiming to work on it at least four days a week. How long you spend on it will depend on how much free time you have, but even a half an hour of editing is better than nothing.

4. Edit, edit, edit!

The first draft of your book, should never be your final product. There are always storylines to expand on, and grammar mistakes to clean up.

5. Ask for help

Once you’re happy enough with your book, it’s time to get a reader’s opinion. Send your book to family and friends and gauge how an outsider feels about the different elements of you story. Did they want to get to know a character more? Did they find some parts dragged on? Did they think it had a solid beginning, middle and end?

It’s easy to become attached to your work, and take any criticism to heart, but if it’s coming from trusted members of your circle, know they have your best interest at heart. You will thank them later, when you have an improved final draft.

If you enjoyed this article, please think about purchasing my new book, Torpor. Available in e-book format and softback from Amazon now. More information here.

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