How to Write a Book

Reading time ~3 minutes

The Book Writing Process: Step-by-Step

Over the next few weeks, while my book-baby is in the capable hands of my editor, I’m going to share my process of taking an idea to a fully published book! I’m splitting this topic into a few posts because…she’s a big one!

Week One: Rough, Messy Beginnings

  1. Brainstorm ideas.
    • Most writers have at least a few story ideas kicking around in their head, all vying for some one-on-one development time. It’s a good idea to keep a folder/document with these ideas and add tidbits to them as they come to mind. In the end, you have to pick one to focus on.
    • How do you decide? They’re all so special! Well, you have to choose the one that’s either A. the loudest and most seductive attention grabber in your mind or B. the most marketable idea. In that order.
  2. Idea selected, now write the book.
    • If you’re a plotter, get that outline done. There are SO many awesome tools out there to help with this! Some writers love fancy software, while others prefer the more hands-on approach of Post-its, whiteboards, or cue cards. I suggest trying a few ideas until you meet your true planning match. Although I’m a pantser, I really like WriteItNow for times when I need to outline (it also has great character profiling tools, and you can try a demo here)
    • If you’re a pantser (like Moi!) then just get to writing! This can take weeks, months, or ehem, years.
    • If you are doing a series, it’s beneficial to have the blueprint/plan for the whole series before you release book 1 (EVEN if you’re a pantser. I know, it’s hard). This is important because if you’re still planning after release, you may have painted yourself into a corner during book one. You may decide that you actually needed your MC (main character) to be a fast runner, or small enough to fit in an air duct. Unfortunately, in book one, you wrote that they were 6’3” and hated all forms of physical activity. It’s also really nice to put some hints about future plot lines as early as possible.
  3. Edit that book, not so it’s perfect, but so it doesn’t read distractingly bad.
    • Read it, edit, read again, repeat…forever! (not literally…but it’ll feel like forever).
    • I find listening to a text-to-speech really helpful for finding missed words or awkward phrasing. There are lots of free options online. It’s worth the time. Let me know in the comments below if you want examples of the software I’ve tried.

And just like that, you have a great start to your story! Next week, I’ll get into the wonderful world of critique partners (CP) and beta readers! If you have any questions or comments, let me know below, or on Facebook/twitter

Part 2: CPs and Beta Readers
Part 3: Professional Edit and Publication

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