Writing is an effective and fun way to express yourself and show your creativity. To write a book when you are in the “zone,” it feels like words seamlessly flow from your mind into paper. You feel motivated, confident, and quite frankly…unstoppable. Nothing beats the feeling of knowing the exact words you need to use to put all your thoughts into paper.
Now that you’ve had some extensive experience in writing, you’re probably eager to take the next big step and continue your writing career. For most writers, that next step is to write a book. When you write a book on fiction, you participate in an adventurous undertaking. It allows your imagination to run wild as you create characters and build worlds. While there is no definitive list of rules you should follow when you write a book, there are several widely-used techniques to help you start writing, do it effectively, and craft a great story. This time, maybe you’re asking yourself, are you ready to write a book? Or maybe you’re born to write a book. Try reading The Book You Were Born to Write: Everything You Need to (Finally) Get Your Wisdom onto the Page and Into the World, and who knows, maybe you’re born to be a writer.
Seventeen Tips on How To Write a Book
When you write a book, you need to put in a lot of hard work and dedication. However, there are several methods to make the process of crafting a good book easier. Here are seventeen tips for writing fiction:
1. If you plan to write a book, make sure that you love your story
Every writer has a list of story ideas at the back of their mind. However, there is likely one idea that you are most excited to write about. It’s recommended that you start with a story idea you are passionate about. Many authors perform their best writing when they’re sincerely interested and invested in their characters and plot.
2. When you write a book, don’t overwhelm your readers with information
When you write a book on fiction, it is best only to provide readers with the information they need to know at the moment. Ernest Hemingway introduced the iceberg theory in writing. This theory suggests only to show your readers just the tip of the iceberg. The supporting details, such as the backstory, should remain unseen, just like the mass of an iceberg under the water’s surface. This technique prevents readers from getting overwhelmed with information and allows them to use their imagination to fill in the blanks.
3. Write simple sentences when you write a book
When you think of Shakespeare’s famous line, “To be or not to be?”, it possesses brevity and manages to describe a character’s toiling over their own life quickly. As enticing as it is to sound knowledgeable by using more powerful words and denser text, there is a time and place to use them properly. Still, you can get story points across in simple sentences and language. Try using more straightforward language when you write a book so that every word and sentence has a clear purpose.
4. Try mixing up your writing
If you plan to become a better writer, you should try emulating different types of writing. If you’re comfortable writing fiction, take yourself out of that comfort zone by writing nonfiction. Moreover, you could try a more relaxed and casual writing style by taking a stab at blogging. Each piece of writing has a unique point of view and uses different style rules. Familiarizing yourself with different writing styles and points of view will help your overall writing skills.
5. Commit yourself to writing every day
Great writers have developed a regular writing habit. That means you have to dedicate some time every day to hone the craft of writing. A good strategy is to assign yourself a daily word count. The renowned horror author, Stephen King, writes 2000 words per day. It might also be a great idea to join a writing group. When you are held accountable by other people, you are motivated to give your best when you develop your writing skills. Don’t worry if what you manage to write is technically lousy writing or you struggle to transform ideas into words on a blank page. There will be days where you’ll be more productive compared to others. Just remember that the more you practice your writing, the easier it gets.
6. Set milestones when you write a book
Books have an average word count of around 75,000 words. That can make your goal to write a book seem unattainable and intimidating. If you’re working on your first novel, you can prevent yourself from feeling overwhelmed and stay motivated by setting milestones. The milestones you have set will aid you in breaking down the book down mentally. This way, it is easier to stick with and manage.
7. When you write a book, you need to understand the basic story structure
Most professional writers are knowledgeable about the framework most stories follow. This framework starts from exposition and rising action through to the climax and falling action. A vital piece of advice that would help you when you write a book is to form an outline to map your main plot and subplots on paper before you get started.
8. Learn robust character development techniques
Character arcs are necessary to promote character growth. Creating a compelling character arc can make or break your characters when you write a book. It would be best if you learned what character information to reveal to ramp up the tension in your story. Your main characters must have a backstory that informs their motivations, actions, and goals. Determine what point of view (POV) complements the character’s interpretation of events (first person or third person).
9. Use the active voice when you write a book
Every author aims to write a book that keeps readers engaged and wanting more from start to finish—otherwise known as a page-turner. That’s why it’s more effective to use the active voice in your stories. Sentences should usually follow the basic structure of noun-verb-object. At the same time, it isn’t always a bad thing to use passive voice, as long as you limit it when you write a book.
10. Remember to take breaks whenever you need them
Writer’s block affects every writer at a bunch of times in their writing careers. When this happens, it’s best to step away from your desk and get some exercise or relax. Being in a different environment and getting your blood flowing can ignite ideas. At the same time, a much-needed rest could be the answer to get those creative juices flowing again. Afterward, continue writing later that day or even the next.
11. Kill your darlings
An essential piece of advice for writers is to develop their skills in identifying when words, paragraphs, chapters, or even characters, are unnecessary to the story. Being a good writer means having the knowledge and skills to revise and cut out excess information. If the material you cut is still a great piece of writing, you can try to see if you can build a short story around it.
12. Read other writers
When you read excellent writing, it can help you discover your voice and improve your writing skills. Instead of focusing on one genre, read a variety of genres. This strategy will help you gain multiple perspectives. Still, if you plan to write a book, it also helps to read the same genre as the story idea you have in mind. If you’re writing a thriller, read other thrillers that show how to build tension, create plot points, and do the big reveal at the story’s climax.
13. Write to sell
People planning to write a book must think like editors and publishers if they want to make a living doing what they love. In other words, approach your story with a marketing sensibility and a creative one to sell your book.
14. Write a book now; edit later
Young and aspiring writers might be tempted to spend a lot of time editing and rewriting as they type. It would be best if you resisted that temptation. Practice freewriting instead. Freewriting is a creative writing technique that encourages writers to let their ideas flow uninterrupted. Afterward, set a specific time to edit.
15. Choose Your Deadline and Writing Goal When You Write a Book
When there’s no deadline or goal to finish, completing your project can be very hard. If you plan to write a book, you should consider that most novels are between 50,000 and 100,000 words. Since it’s easier to add words than cut them out, it’s often better to set your word count goal lower than 75,000 words for your first draft.
To determine the best writing goals and the deadline for you, think about how many words you can write in a day. Setting a deadline will push you to your limits and motivate you to write even when you’re not motivated to write.
16. Get feedback
It can be difficult to critique your writing. When you have finished a piece of writing or a first draft, could you give it to someone to read? Ask for honest and specific feedback. This method is an excellent way to learn what works and what doesn’t.
17. Think about publishing
Few authors write just for themselves. Envision where you want your story to be published. Think about submitting it to literary magazines if you have a short story. You can send it to literary agents and publishing houses if you have a novel. You might also consider self-publishing if you want to see your book in print.
Maybe you’re fond of fiction books. It would be best to try reading Writing and Reading a Fiction Book | Publishing Profits to know more about fiction books.