Finish Your Book - A Writing Plan That Works

Tressa Sanders @ Travel Star Magazine

Writing a book is easier than you think! More times than not, when I share my own books with others they respond by telling me they have always wanted to write a book but don't have the time or don't know where to start. Most of the time they are just talking the talk. However, there are many who are genuinely interested in writing a book. For those people I give the following thoughts.

1. Do not over-think the process of writing a book. Writing a book should be tackled just like any other task. Decide what you are doing and how you are going to do it. Then get it done.

2. Decide what subject/topic you are passionate about and write about it. *Note: Unless you have an extraordinary life story, do not try to write some autobiography about the "trials and tribulations" of your life.

3. Write yourself an outline. You can use whatever method is comfortable for you. A simple "bullet point" system works wonderfully. *Note: All stories should have a purpose but they do not have to follow any specific format. Write from your heart and you will end up with novels you will be proud of.

4. Create your chapters using this outline. This is part of what will help you complete this book in a timely manner. This is also a danger zone for over-thinking. If you have 10 bullet points for your outline then you should have 10 chapters based on those bullet points.

5. Decide from your outline, how many pages you would like your book to be and how many pages you would like in each chapter. This is a very important aspect of writing a book in my opinion. This is where things get fun. What you come up with are just guides. Your book may be more or less pages, as well as your chapters but you do need a guide for you own sanity. But here is the thing ... When you are thinking about how long you would like your book to be, consider this, if you are writing a novel that will most likely be in its final form a 6x9 (or smaller) trade paperback, then there will be double the pages in the printed version of your book than what you have decided to write.

What? - For example, lets assume you are writing your book in Microsoft word or some other word processor and the page size is 8 1/2 x 11 (standard size) and you want your final printed book to be 300 pages. You only have to write 150 pages at 8 1/2 x 11. When the book is formatted at 6x9 or smaller, you will end up with double the pages. So if you wrote 300 pages at 8 1/2 x 11, you would end up with a 600 page book.*Based on single spaced typed pages.

So lets say you want a 300 page printed book and so you are going to write 150 pages at 8 1/2 x 11. You can determine from this how many pages you'd like in each chapter. Again this would be just a guide. If upon finishing your outline you see you will have about 10 chapters then you can play with the numbers a little bit depending on how much material you think you will have to write for that particular chapter. For instance you many not think you need as many pages for the story setup chapter that you need in the middle chapters or vice versa.

Lets put this to work shall we? - If you have 10 chapters and you are writing 150 pages then you could set a goal of 15 pages per chapter. That is 15 pages at 8 1/2 x 11. That is a typical college paper. You can do that! Give yourself a week or a couple of weeks to write the 15 pages. This time frame depends on how busy your life is. At the very least, try to write a page a day! If you can write 15 pages in a week then it would take you 10 weeks to finish your book. That is 2 1/2 months!

6. Once you create chapters using your outline, only tackle one chapter at a time. If your outline is "plot driven" you won't have to worry too much about your chapters not making any sense in relation to one another. Also only work on chapters you are "in the mood" to work on. It makes little since to fight your way through chapters you aren't interested in writing at the time. For many writers, writing involves a great deal of emotion. This should be your guide to writing. So take care of your emotional self and you will have less "stalls" because you aren't "in the mood" to write. Just be sure to write something every day. Even if you have to sit in your bathroom for an hour to write a page... do it!

7. Once you have your book written to your satisfaction you have a few choices:

1. You can get someone you trust to read it over and give you feedback. This should be someone who will give you honest feedback and who will not just tell you what you want to hear. You should also be prepaired to accept feedback and use it to your advantage. This doesn't mean you have to change everything they say to change but try to understand where they are coming from and see if you agree with it.

2. You could start sending query letters to publishers about your book and possibly sample chapters to trusted publishers if your goal is to have a publishing company publish your book.

3. You could send your book to an editor to be edited. Make all the necessary changes then self-publish your book by obtaining your own ISBN numbers.

Happy Book Writing!

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