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Topic: How do I start?

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Subject: How do I start?
Date Posted: 9/28/2011 3:27 PM ET
Member Since: 9/27/2008
Posts: 370
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I often get ideas and think, "I should write a book about that."  But then I never do.  This time, though, I want to actually write a book.  So how do I start? 

Date Posted: 9/28/2011 10:05 PM ET
Member Since: 9/8/2010
Posts: 40
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Ray, I totally sympathize with you. I've tried writing a book so many times before, maybe this time I'll actually finish. Here's some advice though, take it for what it's worth:

1. Before you start, make sure your idea is big enough to see you through an entire story, that it isn't too similar to anything else you're familiar with, and that it's something you're really exited about it.

2. Make sure your lead is someone you (and your readers) care about and is believable. The believable part goes for the entire cast.

3. While I'm not necessarily an advocate of planning your whole story out before you start, you at least need to know generally where you're going with it. You can plan it all out, but don't let planning sap your enthusiasm for writing. One type of planning I do recommend absolutely is character sheets that give all the relevant info about your main characters (appearance, job, likes, dislikes, lifestyle, bio, etc.). This helps you get a feel for the people in your story as well as keeps you from making continuity errors.

4. Just write! Don't stop writing to edit or make corrections. If you think of something that would improve the book while you're working, make a note in the margins or on a sheet of paper. It's your choice whether to share your work before it's done or not, but I prefer not too outside of my writer's group.

5. Don't overlook editing. When you're done, go over once, fixing the most obvious spelling and grammar errors and making any major story changes. Next, show your work to someone else and ask for suggestions. Fix any other plot issues. Then edit again for stylistic errors. Have someone else look for spelling and grammar problems. You're done!

6. Finally, avoid two of my major pet peeves: overused characters and deus ex machina (when some previously unknown element comes in and saves the day at the end).

Edit: NaNoWriMo is great, you'd be supprised what a time limit does in terms of making you just sit down and write, even when you don't want to.

Last Edited on: 2/1/12 1:28 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/29/2011 8:51 PM ET
Member Since: 8/14/2008
Posts: 3,574
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Join Nanowrimo to force yourself to get it written out. Get it written - then edit later. Just put it on paper. Start by writing outlines - a paper of what you know, to guide you. If you finish Nano, you will feel accomplished and better able to do the next book. I promise! And you'll probably become addicted and want to do it every year!

Date Posted: 1/8/2012 10:32 AM ET
Member Since: 11/23/2009
Posts: 1
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Just start an outline. Create a background story incase there needs to be explanations throughout your book. Don't have lose ends. Write the first chapter...2,000 to 4,000 words...and let the thoughts flow from there. Good luck!