This is probably the dream of many, to write a book once in a lifetime. But since most people think it was difficult to do so, many don’t even start. There are also the other ones, that start but don’t finish, whether it be in the middle of the story, because they find no end, or if it be at the first page.

Like a lot of people know, starting to write a book can be like trying to write an essay for school. You sit at your table, pens and papers in front of you, ready to start. Then you hear the clock ticking and ticking and ticking. Maybe you already found the headline or wrote the first couple of sentences. But then: Nothing.

There is probably noting worse that sitting if front of a paper, or maybe a word document, that doesn’t fill itself, even if you desperately want it to. To avoid the catastrophe of giving up, I’d advice you to start otherwise. You’re probably not a Stephen King, that writes and writes and writes and everything is gold. You’re probably a starter and to begin, be proud you have the courage to do so!

First of all, think about your main character, write down all of her or his characteristics. Then go to the next characters, if you already have an idea who they are going to be. Afterwards write down in a few sentences or pages what the story will be about. For this, you’ll probably need a lot of time to think. You don’t have to think it through to begin with. The most part of the story will unfold while writing. You also don’t need to know how exactly it’ll end, but think about some possibilities in the process.

If you have all of the characters that you need at the beginning, start with writing the first chapters. Proceed likewise: start with writing a few sentences, that explain, what you want to happen in the chapters. While you do this, you’ll probably remark that that you missed something in chapter one, while you’re writing the short summary (or notes) for chapter five. With this tactic, you don’t have to rewrite so much at the end.

When you’ve done with most of the chapters, or when you come to a point, where you don’t know how it’ll go on, start writing out the chapters. Maybe start with chapter two or three. This is also exactly what I did, considering the point I mentioned before. By the time you go though the chapters, trying to write it already best as you can, you ALSO don’t have to write it, as if it was the end version. Just try to expand the summaries you already wrote.

When you’re again at the point where you stopped in the first place, try again now. Or maybe and most likely you already had an idea while going through the chapters and hopefully wrote it down. Then you proceed as already said: Write summaries and then go back, when you are at a critical point, or maybe the end. I would recommend you to write out the chapters, before you write the end.

I had a long break in between writing out some of the last chapters, till writing the end. So I decided to start with writing out the first chapters more closely, and then go though ALL of the chapters again. This can be partly like rereading your story. But most likely you’ll rewrite a lot of stuff, or try to expand the chapters. To do this is really good, while you have all your chapters ahead, because you’ll tend less to strive your story in a whole new direction.

Then again, when you come to the last chapter: finally write it! When you’re done, be proud! You wrote a book! But after that, you should read it though a least one more time. This time, to get a glimpse of how it is to actually read your book and to eliminate some last errors. After that you should give it to a friend to proofread it and then you’re ready to send it to publishers!

I also want to mention, that this is not necessarily a master plan, but this is what worked for me.

Wishing you all the best,

Laura

PS.: If you want to know how to make your story interesting to read and why you’ll need evil antagonists, read this article next.

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3 thoughts on “How to write a book systematically

  1. I loved this post! I have been thinking about writing a book for some time and I hope to actually do so one day! This will help me when writing my short stories (: I’m new to blogging give me a follow (: I’m posting my poetry soon!

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