I already keep a notebook to record my day-to-day thoughts. This includes my free writing sessions or any ideas that might come to me during the day. Once you have an idea, identify an appropriate genre for the concept and then take a look at the demand and other authors already working in that niche. Marketing is the key if you want others to be able to find, read, and share your work. There are lots of great resources out there for creating a killer marketing strategy and editorial calendar.
I will be detailing my own book marketing strategy in a future post. When it comes to outlining your book, there are lots of methods to choose from. I tend to go the more traditional route, dividing the book into sections, and then those sections into chapters. Under each chapter heading, I create a bulleted list of the content that chapter will contain. I then reference this list as I write.
Instead of using a word document, I create a new notecard for each scene, listing the type of scene dialogue, action, suspense on the front and including a short summary of what happens on the back.
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I then organize these cards into chapters. The great thing about using note cards is that you can easily remove or move scenes around, placing them where they make more sense as you edit. You can also pin them to a cork board to create a visual breakdown of your book.
Instead of using scenes, you could organize by points or discussion topics. Here are a few options for eliminating distractions and keeping yourself on track:. Just write. Anything will do. This is what you want.
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This is why you read this article. The Writing Cooperative is sponsored by. Grammarly makes sure everything you type is easy to read, effective, and mistake-free. Take your writing to a new level. Try it for free! Sign in. Get started. Create the path of least resistance. Dani Lee Collins Follow. Choose a Filing System Finding the right program s for creating and saving your work is important.
Ready your Writing Toolbox There are many ways to outline and many ways to write.
Physical: Legal pads A variety of pens My writing journal Sticky notes in multiple colors Notecards in multiple colors Bulletin board Push pins Digital: Hemingway App: I write directly in Hemingway and use it to test the reading level of my work and simplify my language. At the end of the writing session, I copy and paste into a Google Doc. Grammarly ; During the editing stage, I copy and paste my work into Grammarly a chapter at a time. Write an Outline When it comes to outlining your book, there are lots of methods to choose from. Use a to-do list application to set deadlines. As boring as this sounded, I decided to commit to it and was surprised at how simple and easy the exercise was — and how it served to guide the writing of the book.
Then you put them together in five key plot points that will drive the story. A story, in its most basic essence, is a cast of characters in a certain setting who experience an unexpected situation. Here are some familiar examples:. Takeaway: Before you write, you first need an idea of what your story is going to be about. Good story ideas typically involve putting ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances and seeing how they rise to the occasion.
I think this makes sense to do after you decide your story idea. There may be some exceptions to this, but for me, it worked best in this order. Regardless, after you have a story idea and select your genre, you need to study it. In his book , Shawn is bullish on the importance of genre. Before you get too far into writing anything, you need to get clear on what kind of story this is.
These are the rules of the genre. Here are some examples:. How do you find these conventions and obligatory scenes in your genre?
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You consume a lot of stories. So what did I do? In the past week, I skimmed every book I could think of and watched a half dozen movies I was already familiar with. As I read and watched these stories, I took notes, writing down each scene and noticing if something positive or negative was happening to the character. This is something Shawn Coyne teaches — a scene either adds positive energy or negative energy as it contributes to the overall narrative. You can get deep into genre and spend a lot of time thinking about sub-genre, but be careful not to get lost in the weeds.
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What do you want them thinking when they go into reading your story? Be mindful of that as you write and try not to do anything that would violate their trust. Takeaway : Writing fiction is not just about making up whatever story you want. There are rules and conventions to every genre, and before you get too far into telling your story, decide what the genre is, and therefore, what rules and conventions you are going to follow. Depending on whom you ask, every story has anywhere from three to twelve, or even one hundred plot points.
There are scenes, sections, parts, chapters, themes, beats, and more. It can be kind of complicated and a tad confusing. But I take great comfort in the simplest version of a story, which looks like this: 1 beginning, 2 middle, 3 end. The more I studied different story structures, the more overwhelmed I felt. Instead of surrendering to the complexity, I went back to the basics and picked the three main story parts so that I could just start writing it.
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I did this by following what Steven Pressfield calls the Foolscap Method, handwriting the story elements on an actual piece of paper. Of course not. The beginning is where the hero meets the situation that sets the story in motion. This is where the story really begins and it must grab the reader.
The middle is where the hero faces all kinds of trials and conflict, where his abilities are tested. The conflict gets worse, and the drama heightens. Coyne calls it the Middle Build, because everything builds in this section, and you wonder if the hero is going to get out of this one alive.