How to Get Started Writing a Book
Have you always dreamed of becoming a published author, with an acclaimed book to your name? Or perhaps you have been mulling over a story idea for some time and have finally decided to put it down on paper. Writing a book, which are typically around 80,000 to 89,999 words, can seem daunting. Tackling the writing process a few steps at a time can help you build the confidence and gusto necessary to get started on your book.
1. Preparing to Write
Determine what you want to write about
Think about the story that only you can write, or that you feel most passionate about. This could be a how to book on urban beekeeping, or a memoir about your complicated family background. The best way to get a good start on writing a book is to choose a story idea that you feel committed to and willing to spend a significant amount of time on.
Choose your genre
Some writers begin with a story idea or a character first, rather than a genre. But it can help to pick your genre before outlining your story idea
Read three to four examples that are similar to your story idea
Try to pick newer titles so you can see what the market is like for your story idea
Analyze the examples
Read through three to five books that relate to your story idea and look closely at several details
2. Developing Your Story Idea
Determine the setting of the story
Think about an area you know well, such as your town or city, or a geographical area you would like to learn more about. You will then need to research certain elements of the setting to ensure it seems believable and clear to your reader
Write a one sentence summary of your book
This sentence will act as your ten-second selling tool for publishers. It should be a statement of the big picture of your book.
Come up with a working title
Creating a working title will help you answer the reader’s questions about the book and provide a good sense of the book’s overall goal or theme. Try to match the title to the tone of the book
Create a table of contents for the book.
If you are writing non-fiction, your table of contents will help you organize your thoughts and act as a guide to writing the book.
Develop a rough story outline
For fiction books, you should create an outline of your chapters or sections
Create an engaging main character
If you are writing a fiction book, your protagonist, or main character, is going to act as a guide for your reader as they read your story. Your main character should be interesting and endearing enough that your reader cares what happens to her
3. Writing the First Three Chapters
Dive right into the conflict. Make those first several sentences count.
Begin with action, dialogue, or a description that sets the mood of the story. Start as close as possible to the story’s catalyst, or the aha moment for the main character. This is the moment where your main character’s life shifts from ordinary to extraordinary and the plot of the story takes off
Start with a hook paragraph.
In non-fiction books, it helps to draw your reader in if start with an attention grabbing first paragraph.
Avoid editing your writing until you finish the first three chapters.
Focus on getting through the first three chapters, using your rough outline and your one sentence book summary as guides. Avoid stopping to revise or edit your writing, especially in the early stages of drafting
- example of procedure text