I don't want to lie to you; writing a book is not easy at first, but if you follow this guide you should be able to finish one in around a year, without too much trouble. (This guide is mostly meant for handwriting the book for people in school, but it will work for others as well.)
- A notebook, go for a 500 page spiral multi-subject if you can. If not, get the one with the most pages you can find. No more than 500 pages. The multi-subject is not necessary, but it will help.
- Several pens set aside specifically for this book.
- A binder with nothing in it except for a few dividers, and several sheets of loose-leaf paper.
- Your own schedule will be important to have/know so that you can work your writing time around it.
- A ZiplocTM food-storage bag.
Getting Started Edit
- Label a divider "Characters." Then take a sheet of loose-leaf paper and write on it a list of characters you plan to have. If you are not sure whether or not you will have certain ones just leave them out.
- On another sheet of paper write a background for the first character on your list. Then a list of personality traits. Then a list of attributes (strong, funny, brave etc.). This will help give your characters more depth. Complex characters are extremely important when writing a book. Do this for each character (every character should have his/her/its own paper), then put the papers together with the list in the "Characters" section of your binder. It will be helpful to do this for minor characters who don't do much as well (for example: messengers who appear once, soldiers who are only mentioned by name, authors of a book your characters find).
- Label a second divider "Story." Then take another sheet of paper and outline your book. Each chapter should take up about three lines of the paper. Number your lines and outline each chapter. Make sure you leave room after you finish each chapter outline just in case you want to add more later.
- If you want (this also will help) take another sheet of paper and outline each chapter on its own sheet, as well as on the other sheet, in more detail.
Put all of these papers in the "Story" section of your binder.
- Label another divider "Schedule." If you have your own daily schedule put that in this section. Take another sheet of paper and map out all the free time you have (for example: 1:30-2:00 Lunch. 4:45-5:00 Bus ride home. Etc.). For each amount of free time you have, set a goal. These goals should be small, for example; 4:45-5:00 bus ride home-write 7 lines. Keeping the goals small will help you stay motivated and instead of saying to yourself; "Oh, I have to write an entire chapter during lunch today." you could be saying "I only have to finish a page." Also, if you are in school and you are to taking a class that you don't really need, or want to take you can write during that class (I am by no means condoning that, however). Put these papers in the "Schedule" section of your binder
Writing the Book Edit
- Try to stay on schedule as much as you can. Remember, you can skip a day as long as you don't skip the next day. If you wait too long in between writing sessions you will lose the flow of your story.
- If you ever get writer's block stop writing. Don't write for the rest of that day, give your mind a rest. Don't write when you have writer's block because this can cause your story to sound dull, cheesy, and drawn out.
- Always be ready for criticism. Nobody's work is perfect. The people who are going to criticize your work are not out to get you. The critics are prospective readers. If there is something in your book that they do not like, strive to fix it. If you get no criticism, don't feel left out, or cheated, it means you did a great job.
- Always know what audience you are writing for. If your audience is children then don't use big words etc. Find some members of the audience for which this book is being written and have them read your manuscript before you send it out for review by publishing companies.
- Watch movies and read bestselling books in the same genre as you book to get inspired. Remember every author started out where you are right now: a beginner.
- Make sure the beginning of your book is just as captivating as the climax. You want to ensnare readers with that first word.
- Be ready to be shot down. Most publishers don't like new authors. They would prefer guaranteed bestsellers, than a newbie. Find the publisher of your favorite book (in the same genre) and ask them first. Never send your entire manuscript to a publisher all at once. Send the first two or three chapters. If they ask for more you know you did a good job capturing them at the beginning.
Finishing Up Edit
If you write religiously and finish about a page a day, you should have a 300 page handwritten book by the end of the year. What you want to do next is type it. You have a good 300 pages to type. This may seem monotonous and boring but it will give you a chance to look over your work. If you see something you don't like you can change it. Even a name, if you don't like it you can change it to something better. Of course 300 pages handwritten is not a big book. It's going to end up being about 200 pages typed. So there are two things you can do:
- You can format the book on your computer (for example: make the font size bigger and the lines further apart). But the publisher would probably format it a different way.
- You can write a longer book. That's why I said at the beginning you should get a 500 page notebook. 500 pages of handwritten wrk should equal about 350 pages typed. Now even if it ends up being a little less it's not too bad. 300 pages is a nice sized book (depending on the thickness of the pages and the dimensions of the book), my copy of the 1st Harry Potter book is about 300 pages.
Of course you can go for longer than a year and write a bigger book.
The reasons for the items listed in the "Supplies" section are listed below.
- The reason for a 500 page notebook is so that you won't run out of room to write.
- The multi-subject part is so that when you finish a subject you feel a sense of accomplishment when you finish a subject. It will encourage you to continue.
- No more than 500 pages is because if the notebook seems too big you will feel like you have such a long way to go before you finish. This feeling can be extremely discouraging and may make you think about giving up. If you finish your first 500 page notebook but still have more to write then buy some one subject, 70 page notebooks.
- Pens so that you have something to write with.
- The binder so that you don't lose important papers like your character outline.
- Time is self-explanatory.
- The schedule is so you know what times to write.
- The plastic bag is for your notebook. If used correctly this bag will help your notebook keep from getting ripped, dog-eared, or messy. Having a neat notebook will make it a lot easier to write in. Just keep the notebook in the bag.
When You Finish Edit
After finishing your manuscript there are two more things to do, one before you get the book published and the other after you get it published.
Before you get the book published you might want to create a map of the world your characters live in. If it is an old time fantasy book there should be lots of forests and rivers. If the book is futuristic it should have lots of cities. You might want to make the map before you start writing the book. If you do make the map before you write, you should make two copies of it. One copy your should keep in your binder, and the other copy you should keep with your book. In the copy that you keep with your book you should trace the route that your characters take as you write. This will be a good thing to place before your story in the final published product that is your book.
After your book is published what you might want to do is click on this link and create a wiki about your book. You already have the character's backgrounds, so why not? If you have a big enough community you should create a fan fiction wiki based on the book. This will give fans a chance to create their own stories with your characters and will also (hopefully) give you ideas for a sequel! Good luck.