My Steps to Writing a Book
Since I was in elementary school, I have had a goal of writing a book. Earlier this year, I wrote my first book in its entirety and began writing my second book. My process is not perfect by any means, but it does get the job done. Here are the 8 steps I follow to take my ideas out of my head and get them organized into a book.
- General Notes
My first ideas are usually sporadic, so I find a place in my notebook to jot everything down before anything is forgotten.
- General Scenes
Since my first notes are crazy, I take those ideas and turn them into articulated scenes that are easier for me to deal with later.
- Beginning, Middle, and End Plot Notes
This is when I take all of my notes and sort them into a cohesive way to tell the story. My middle tends to have more notes than the beginning and end as the conflict builds.
- Character Descriptions
This is where I break down each character and write down every single detail I can think of. Having it written down helps me keep the facts straight. Without a written out log, I would probably end up making one of my side characters a different age and give them a different hair color by accident. It is easier to check on my notes than to scroll back through what I have already written to make sure the details are being kept straight.
- Exchanges Between Characters
I like to have a section in my notebook for interactions between my characters. This way I can easily keep track of the relationships they have with one another and keep it natural throughout the book. This section is filled with everything from dialogue snippets to minor details.
- Chapter Outline
My beginning, middle, and end notes come into play now as I plan out how many chapters I want my book to have and where the plot points fit within those chapters. Having a rough chapter outline helps me stay organized.
Now I just write. The first draft is never going to be perfect, so I gave up on editing each paragraph right after I write it. I now let my first draft be messy so I can stay in the flow of things. Letting go of perfection helped me get out of my own head and actually make progress on the writing process.
Since the first draft is going to be messy, editing is a must. Even if you are going to send your book out to an editor, I highly recommend looking over the story yourself. I was shocked to find how many typos I had, especially if I wrote a chapter at night. Sometimes when I read over a chapter, I find an entire scene to be unnecessary to the book. These are important things I want to look over and fix before I let anybody else see it.
Have you written a book? What method did you use to turn your brainstorming sheet into a novel?