If you want to know how to write a book, the first and most important thing you can do is dedicate time to write every day. Write in 15-minute blocks of time, then take a 5-minute rest, and repeat for as long as you can – up to 3 hours each day. This will help you to establish a writing routine and that book will get written in no time at all.
Then you may wish to incorporate these additional ideas into that routine once it has been established.
#1. Consider writing an outline first.
It’s a lot of fun to just sit down and write. It can also be a very frustrating experience. If you write without direction, then you are relying on your own creativity to be present that day. If you write with an outline, you are able to rely on your creativity from previous days. This can help you to avoid many writer’s block issues.
#2. Interview your characters.
The biggest flaw in a book tends to be the undeveloped character. Your readers are going to see your characters as real people when they enter your world. If the character is integral to the plot, but the reader knows nothing about them, then the book will feel unrealistic. Try interviewing all of your characters to avoid this. Ask them questions about their life. What is important to them? Who do they want to be? Is there an end goal to their actions?
#3. Think of the worst-case scenario and then make it happen.
Conflict is what drives a story forward. Readers are inspired by a character’s ability to keep going in times of hardship or tragedy. Within the context of your book, think about the worst thing that could happen. Then have that happen. Explore how your character reacts, feels, and thinks. This will help to hook readers and give you a potentially powerful story to tell.
#4. Even fictional books are not 100% fiction.
Writers tend to produce their best work when they are writing something with which they have a personal experience. It’s why John Grisham tends to write stories that involve lawyers – he went to law school. What that means for Stephen King… not so sure. You’ve got to find what works for you. Incorporate your personal experiences into the narrative and you’ll be able to give the book an added layer of authenticity.
#5. Don’t worry about the first draft. Worry about the other drafts.
It’s easy to get caught up in trying to be “picture perfect” with the first draft of your book – especially when you’re writing your first-ever book. Because of the length of a book, it is more important to get your creative ideas into the narrative before trying to make sure all of your words are correctly spelled and notated. Let the second draft of your book be the place where you correct those errors. That way you can focus on the story first, and then focus on the editing.
#6. Set a reasonable writing goal.
Have a target to reach when you are writing that can be met on a daily basis. If you’re working full-time and writing a book on the side, then 500-2,000 words per day is a reasonable goal. If you’re writing full-time and working on the side, then maybe 5,000-10,000 words per day is possible. Explore your limits and don’t be afraid to go beyond them if necessary.
#7. Throw in a twist that makes sense.
The narrative must make sense to the reader from front to back. It can be fun to throw in a twist at the end of a story, but if that change in direction doesn’t make sense, then you’ll do more than throw your reader off. They’ll feel like they wasted time reading your story because you didn’t give them a way to try to figure out what was going to happen. Twists work when you drop hints at what will happen throughout the narrative. Limit the surprises.
Knowing how to write a book can sometimes feel like there are a lot of rules to follow. Although there are some industry standards that must be met, such as manuscript formatting, length, and general genre content, there really are no steadfast rules that must be followed. That’s the beauty of being an author.
You get to write your own story. So start writing. Want more useful writing tips? Check out this post on how to write a kindle book.