In my previous articles I briefly touched on how to write thrillers, editing, and the differences between nonfiction and fiction. But some people might think Steve that is all well and good but how do I get started and actually write a book?
First take a sheet of paper. If you have an idea put it down on the paper, fill both sides of the page, fill all space with ideas to add to this story, anything that comes to mind.
Then crumple the paper and throw it in the corner of the room. Take a second piece of paper and write anything you can remember do not look at the first page, that is trash. New ideas will come to you, the stuff that you remember now becomes ironed out and suddenly you have the beginnings of a plot.
Next step is the world building, if you aren’t creative you are definitely going to need to world build. This is more writing. I know people that just write to begin their books, I start books that way, but I always I return to the world building stage. This is where you design the setting of your story, what country are they in, where do they sleep, how many kids do they have. Many factoids are hammered out during this stage its like building a machine it need the right parts to work and function.
How much world building do you have to do, every book is different, also this is a continuous process, more details will be added. But personally I never keep a master document, however if I added up the writing that takes place during this stage, I would say about 30,000 words are written between paper, power point sides and my white boards. Most of you might be like wow I have to write that much on top of my book? That is why books are hard to write, it requires an enormous amount of discipline and effort.
I am a man of 29 at the time of writing this article, I believe I am now disciplined person. I wake up and go to sleep using a planned-out schedule. I don’t stay out drinking and I exercise regularly. All of this helps to keep my mind fresh. Alcohol is a good way to access your creative nature and relax, it will help make your thoughts true and fluid. It is a lie that has been sold to artists like snake oil, the need to drink or smoke to expand their minds. In television writers are tragic characters and lady killers. A show that is an example of this is Californication. Hemmingway and Faulkner are synonymized in a frat boy love feast as party animals. In the end these men slip down dark paths, take Hemmingway who shot himself. His antics have been glorified with catch phrases that can be scribbled on a piece of wood and sold at Hobby Lobby. I have heard a few of these catch phrases and supposed quotes, there is one phrase I will share with you that really annoys me, I don’t think he actually said this but the phrase goes. “Write drunk and edit sober.”
To expand your mind for writing you need it clear, an alert mind will be able to critically think and work through issues of morality, which is much harder if you are sick and laid up two days per week following a weekend bender.
With a clear mind, clean home, and plenty of water your brain will be at its sharpest for when you need it. But discipline is more than trying to do the right things it is also about being consistent with your writing routine. Taking a few days off between your chapters is okay. Taking two weeks off is unacceptable and you might as well pack it in. I make the time to write even on vacation. I once went on a carnival cruise, it was packed and cheap, absolutely horrible. Still I found solace in my novel and wrote the climactic scene to Ann’s Tale. Another story of mine titled Hurley island was finished while being crammed in the back row of a Southwest plane from Orlando to Islip, that flight route is dubbed the Mickey Mouse express, full of screaming children. I always make time for writing, waiting in airports, or the morning you wake up on vacation are good times to sit down and hammer out a scene. Avoid doing it around family and friends they will whine and moan that you’re not spending time with them, annoyingly at the same time if they have a signal their phone won’t be out of their hand. Also don’t sit in coffee shops or bars while writing you will look like a fool.
Come up with the best time for you to write, there are times I need no distractions in order to write, other days if I am very stressed out it becomes a therapy and an outlet for me to escape. Somehow on my worst days my best work comes out. There are stressful situations at work, to handle the stress I channeled my energy into my novel, which I can write while working. Writing can be just as stressful as life as it is such a vulnerable process, it can leave you worse off should the wrong verdict be issued. I don’t read reviews, people aren’t helpful unless you pay them, that is why an editors notes are worth more than a dime store reader.
To leave off, getting started is easy just take a breath and write, try to write about matters of the heart or they will just be empty words. Personality sells a book at the end of the day, put your personality into your book after all it will be your name on the spine. Keep up the same routine and your body free of toxins to maximize your work output. Finally there may be a point in your book where you don’t like it anymore, I have had that happen 40,000 words into a story, that is why I like to work on two books at the same time, it gives me another outlet so that I don’t become rusty.
Thank you for reading my post on how to get started. See you next time we will discuss story structure and graphic details.