Most of us have read books of some kind or the other. And some of us wish that we too could write books. If you’re one such a person who wants to really write a book, continue reading.
“If a story is in you, it’s got to come out,” says William Faulkner, a highly celebrated American author, and Nobel Prize winner. With this single sentence, William Faulkner actually encourages everyone to write a book. Because all of us have some story to tell.
If you believe that writing a book is all about making money or getting famous, I suggest you don’t read this article any further. Because writing books isn’t something that’s done to get rich and famous, as you might falsely believe.
There’re several other reasons to write a book. And good ones too.
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Reasons to Write a Book
Brian Tracy, who’s a popular motivational speaker and self-development author from America actually encourages everyone to write a book. That’s because it helps others and yourself in several ways.
Here’re a summary of the top four reasons why Brian Tracy encourages everyone to write.
- Sharing your message with others: Here, Brian Tracy rightly points out that we can inspire others with our stories.
- Writing a book boosts your credibility: Writing a book helps you in self-branding and establishes you as an expert in some fields.
- You’ll make a contribution to the world: Your knowledge could help others lead a better life.
- It’s a skill you can master: And finally, writing is a skill that anyone can master with some effort, says Brian Tracy.
While money isn’t the reason for writing a book, you could make some of your works inspire people. For example, JK Rowling, creator, and author of the legendary Harry Potter rose from dithering poverty to a millionaire and philanthropist because she put her ideas on paper. And her ideas of a fictional world were an instant hit.
Furthermore, several authors have also won the Nobel Prize in Literature for their works. In fact, the Nobel Foundation of Sweden and related organizations.
Unfortunately, most people don’t get even as far as penning their ideas due to several reasons.
Before I tell you how to write a book, it’s better to understand why most people don’t write despite having a fabulous story to tell.
Reasons People Don’t Write Books
Writing a book isn’t about making money or getting rich and famous. It’s about sharing your story and contributing to the world. Every famous author in this world became rich because their books help society in some or the other way. Their objectives to write was not money or fame.
However, most people don’t write for these main reasons.
- Lack of time: This is the biggest myth that leads people to believe they don’t have time to pen their thoughts or knowledge.
- Writer’s Block: This is a strange syndrome that affects writers when they find they can’t proceed further with writing. However, some people suffer it even before they get down to writing.
- Lack of Confidence: Another factor that prevents people from writing books is diffidence. They doubt own writing skills or suspect their story isn’t good enough.
- Fear of Ridicule: People that fear others would laugh at their thoughts are generally scared of putting them down in words. Hence, they never get about to write a book.
- Shortage of Money: Another myth that you might believe in is that writing and publishing a book costs money. That’s untrue. In fact, there’re several publishers that would be willing to consider printing your book for only part of the royalties you get. And self-publishing platforms such as Kindle Desktop Publishing are also available free online nowadays.
Should any of these reasons be a hindrance to writing a book, there’re ways and means to overcome them. Generally, these would go away in time. Yet I’ll be discussing how to overcome these hurdles later I this article.
Therefore, here’s how to write a book, complete with tips.
How to Write a Book?
Actually, writing a book is much simpler than you could imagine.
But there’s a condition: your objective shouldn’t be getting rich and famous. That’s because books written purely with the intention of making money never make it anywhere, except maybe an editor’s desk.
Secondly, your book might not sell at all, which could crush all your dreams of striking it rich or even any claim to fame.
Therefore, if you have a genuine story- fact or fiction- or would love to share a personal experience or even knowledge about any subject, here’re the best tips on how to write a book.
Preparing to Write a Book
Preparing to write actually spells the success or failure of books. In fact, prior mental and physical preparation actually helps you to write a superb book. I would consider this preparation to be the single most important part of writing.
Organize Your Thoughts
The most crucial advice I can give for writing a book is to organize your thoughts. Beginning to write can be challenging, whether it's a letter, email, or article. Many people struggle to find the right opening lines.
By organizing your thoughts, you can determine how to start your book and approach the writing process in a systematic manner. Remember, every book starts as an idea in the mind before it is put into words on paper, a typewriter, or a computer.
Select Your Book Genre
Once your thoughts are organized, the second thing to do is find out which genre your book fits in. This is also very important because the genre decides its market positioning and can affect popularity. It helps publishers to correctly identify the target readers and pricing.
As a beginner, it’s important to know the top 10 genres that are most popular.
- Action & Adventure
- Science Fiction
- Speculative Fiction (personal or imaginary)
- Suspense & Thriller
- Mystery & Crime
- Children Stories
Not as a rule, but most bestseller books come from these genres. Therefore, you’ll have to choose where your particular story or book fits in before deciding to write.
Start Taking Notes
It's crucial to note that you should always be prepared to take notes, regardless of the time of day. This is because when you're in the process of writing a book, inspiration can strike at any moment. Without taking notes, you may risk forgetting valuable ideas or situations that could be used in your writing. Keeping track of your thoughts and ideas through notes will aid in the actual writing process.
It's important to keep in mind that not all of the notes or ideas you come up with will necessarily make it into the final book. This is because some ideas may not align with the theme, genre, or overall plot of your writing.
Furthermore, if you're writing educational literature, taking notes can assist in the development of new concepts or ideas that could potentially be groundbreaking in the field.
Decide Your Book Writing Schedule
One of the main reasons that individuals don't write books, despite having a captivating story, is a lack of time. This is understandable as many people have demanding jobs or businesses, as well as the need to spend time with loved ones and friends. Additionally, household responsibilities and work-related fatigue can hinder creativity and motivation to write.
For those who find it difficult to find time to write, I recommend creating a writing schedule. Allocating just an hour or two a day to write can make a significant difference. Keep in mind that the human attention span, whether reading or writing, is typically limited to 30-45 minutes. Overworking yourself can negatively affect your creativity and thought process.
Creating a schedule may seem challenging as daily life can be hectic. If this is the case, it's important to approach it realistically. Rigid schedules that are similar to those required for working from home may not be effective.
Alternatively, if you feel that writing on weekends, holidays, or whenever you're in the right mood is better for you, then don't create a schedule at all. Remember, your mood plays a crucial role in determining the quality of your writing.
Find that Special Place
If you're someone who thrives in specific environments, it's important to identify where that place is for writing a book. It could be a secluded corner at home, a spot at a local café, or even a table at your favorite club.
Some writers prefer to write outdoors, such as in parks or while traveling on public transportation. However, it's important to consider the cost and weather when choosing a location. Writing at a café or bar may be costly, while writing outside in cold weather may not be comfortable.
Not everyone thrives in quiet and isolated places; some writers find inspiration in the hustle and bustle of a crowded environment. So, it's important to find out what works best for you.
If you haven't found your ideal writing spot yet, don't worry. Many successful books have been written by authors who simply jotted down their thoughts on scraps of paper and later compiled them into a book. JK Rowling, the author of Harry Potter, is a modern-day example of this, as she wrote notes on trains which later turned into the famous wizarding series.
Essentials to Write a Book
Once you’re mentally and physically prepared to write a book, the next and most obvious thing to do is to get down to write one. This can prove to be trickier than the preparations. Because it requires some effort and thought to actually begin doing something like writing. These simple steps should help.
Create Your Story Characters
Unless you’re writing an educational or spiritual book or travelogue, characters are an essential part of every story. Therefore, start creating characters that match your story.
These would be women, men, and also children. Like every human, these characters should also have strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, age, skills and flaws, looks, jobs or businesses, and some history.
If you’re writing your own story, cast yourself as the character by detailing all your traits as well as those of other real-world persons that would feature in the story.
And your characters also need real-world names, unless yours is a sci-fi book such as Star Wars where players came with esoteric names such as R2D2 and Darth Vader, among others.
However, real-life books require real-life names. One example I can give is Agatha Christie, the famous female author from the UK who wrote some 66 detective novels. Her stories revolve around Hercules Poirot, a fictional French detective, and Jane Marple, or Miss Marple, an amateur sleuth.
Similarly, detective novel writer Sir. Arthur Conan Doyle created the legendary detective Sherlock Holmes and his assistant Dr. John H. Watson. Actually, Sir. Arthur Conan Doyle uses his own characteristics to create Sherlock Holmes while those of his physician friend appear in the character, Dr. Watson.
Timeline Your Story
This simply means deciding the year or era where your story belongs. Broadly speaking, you can select an era from the past or use the present one. If you’re writing something futuristic, then select a date that’s distant from our own time.
For example, Jules Verne, the noted sci-fi writer from France used the present era while writing bestsellers such as ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea’ and ‘Around the World in 80 Days’.
Though his ideas were futuristic, people could relate to these because they deftly blended the present with the future.
Educational, spiritual books, and travelogues don’t require a timeline. However, while writing your own story, always use the present one with a mention of your past. This gives a proper perspective to readers while leading them to the future.
Fairy tales are generally considered timeless, but the majority of them are written with past datelines. That’s because the modern world and science don’t accept the existence of fairies, goblins, banshees, and other similar fictitious characters.
Location of Your Story
The location of your story is as important as its characters and the dateline. Meaning, you’ll have to select a place such as a village, town, city, or even a distant planet or fictional world for setting the story. A superb example of how locations work is given by renowned American author Mark Twain.
His greatest books ‘Adventures of Tom Sawyer’ and ‘Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’ among others are set in Missouri, especially the town of Hannibal, Missouri, and some of his later books are set by the banks of the river Mississippi. These are real-life locations.
On the other hand, famous Indian writer, RK Narayan sets his short stories in Malgudi, a fictional town in southern India located between real-world states Karnataka and Tamil Nadu but by the banks of a fictional river, Sarayu, and imagined forest, Memphis. The entire collection of 32 short stories in ‘Malgudi Days’ book is set amidst such a fictional location.
By giving a fictional or real-world location, you’re actually taking readers to the place. This brings the book to life, and people can relate to the place, even if it doesn’t exist.
You can do so by including details of the place, similar to RK Narayan who includes a fictitious river and forest as well as other elements. Or follow JK Rowling, who blends the present with pure fantasy.
Visualize Various Situations
Obviously, every story deals with different situations in real life or fiction. Hence, you’ll have to visualize such situations while writing the book. Normally, writing own experiences doesn’t require you to create or visualize a situation because you’ve been through them.
Things, however, can get tough if you’re going to visualize fictitious situations necessary for fantasy and science fiction books, mystery, thriller, and horror books, among others.
There’s only one way to do that. Think of the real-life situations you’ve been through as well as the ones prevailing at this moment. And imagine them at another location and era. You could also bring alive your fantasies and dreams or visions to create a situation.
To give you an example, American author Pearl S. Buck wrote the book, ‘The Good Earth’ by dramatizing the life of a Chinese village family in the early 20th century.
This book became a bestseller in 1931 and 1932 while winning the author Pearl S. Buck the Nobel Prize for Literature. This book is written from her experiences while young and living in China.
However, in stark contrast, British author Thomas Hardy wrote his famous novel Tess of the d'Urbervilles with a setting in the southern English county Dorset with neighboring counties such as Hampshire, Wiltshire, Somerset, and Devon. The story and its situations revolve, as well as its characters, are all fictional.
Think About Sustainable Storyline
A storyline is nothing but the theme of a story or even a book. If you’re writing short stories and compiling them into a book, you’ll still require a storyline. And if you’re thinking of a single book, it’s important to have a sustainable plot or storyline. That’s because you’ll have to blend the timeline, characters, and place carefully with the theme, story or plot of your book.
There’re three types of storylines.
- Voluntary: such as in romance novels where the characters fall in love on their own accord or voluntarily, without any external forces or circumstances influencing the decision.
- Involuntary: usually covers horror, mysteries, and also entertaining stories. Here, the characters are all drawn into the storyline and brought together to form the main story.
- Forced: normally you’ll see these in detective and spy stories where the character is drawn forcibly into the storyline due to the nature of their work or skill. James Bond series of books written by multiple authors is one such example.
Additionally, there’re seven sub-storylines such as ‘Rags-to-Riches’, tragedy, comedy, revival, intrigue, family, and drama.
Start Writing the Book
Now that you’ve all the right elements in place, simply start writing the book. You can start by describing a situation or scenario. Or with the description of the central character of your storyline.
Generally, the opening chapter is always about introducing the main elements of your story or theme to the reader. This means you’ll have to introduce the character against the backdrop of the situation and the relevance of your main character’s abilities.
As you go along, add the other characters by creating scenarios where they can enter the story.
The bestselling novel ’50 Shades of Grey’ by EL James traces the erotic relationship between two people, Anastasia Steele, a college graduate, and Christian Grey, a businessperson.
This book, despite its heavy erotic leanings, is a classic example of how the author EL James creates various situations and brings in supporting characters and personal traits of the two central characters.
And if you’re a fan of Tin Tin comics, it’s easy to see how every plot revolves around the fictitious Belgian journalist trying to uncover something shady.
And in each comic, the author, Herge, introduces different characters such as Captain Haddock, Professor Calculus, the Thomson and Thompson sleuths, General Alcazar as well as Nestor, the butler, and Snowy, the dog that Tin Tin owns. All 24 stories of Tin Tin are set in different parts of the world, before and during the Cold War.
If we examine the characters in the Tin Tin series carefully, we’ll find each has a different trait. For example, Captain Haddock is usually inebriated and uses swear words, while Professor Calculus is shown as forgetful. Yet these characters are deftly blended by creating situations for their entry.
Writing Educational, Spiritual Books & Travelogues
We’ve seen above some basic tips for writing a book that centers on fiction or real life and its different genres. Now let’s look at some tips to write educational, spiritual books and travelogues.
Because these differ vastly from the earlier types of books. Hence, the requirements for writing educational, spiritual books and travelogues is much different.
Here’s what you’ll require to write an educational or spiritual book or a travelogue.
Astute Knowledge of the Topic
You cannot use fiction to write an educational or spiritual book or travelogues. Because you might get into serious trouble with the law.
Writing such types of books requires deep and astute as well as the latest knowledge about the subject.
If you’re writing an educational book, it’s compulsory to have strong credentials in that specific subject, regardless of whether it’s a simple textbook for school or a complex reference book for super-specialty subjects such as robotics or neurosurgery.
And to write a travelogue, you’ll have to actually visit the place and experience it to the fullest by mingling with locals, learning about the culture and tradition of the place, reviewing local cuisine, shopping, crime rate, and other minute details.
Constant Research to Update Your Books
Also, you need constant research and stay in touch with the topic to update your educational or spiritual book and travelogue. That’s very important because technologies or even beliefs and situations in a place keep changing.
This means if you fail to update, the book you’ve written will become redundant and vanish off the shelves of bookstores both online and offline. Because nobody wants outdated knowledge.
Writing educational and spiritual books or travelogues isn’t for everyone. It requires special qualifications and skills. And a brand name in that field.
Actually Writing a Book
Actually, writing a book is the easiest part once you have all the other basics and essentials in place. Once you’ve organized your own thoughts, created characters selected the genre, and decided on the storyline, writing becomes simple.
Here’re some tips to follow.
Language Doesn’t Matter
Actually, language doesn’t matter. This doesn’t imply that you can get away with writing in poor language or with wrong grammar.
There’s something known as the ‘Poetic License’. This isn’t any license from any government or authority.
Poetic License is simply the benefit that authors and poets get to use words vaguely or create new words to describe something that doesn’t exist or even in real-world scenarios. Fantasy books such as Alice in Wonderland and those from the Harry Potter series are excellent examples.
Generally, your language should be simple and easy to understand. This attracts more people to read your books. Personally, I believe that a reader shouldn’t have to reach for the dictionary while reading a book.
Writing for Dramatization
Nowadays, most authors write their books for dramatization. This means writing the book in a manner that it can easily be adapted to make a movie. A lot of books by legendary American author and movie director Alfred Hitchcock fall into this category. His crime and detective books are now also available as movies, albeit with some adaptations.
When you have an interesting story and write a book using the above tips, there’s a good chance that some movie producer would like it and want to adapt it for a movie. This can bring you a lot of fame and money.
However, writing a book for dramatization isn’t easy. You need to use a lot of quote and attribute them to the various characters. This makes it easier for a scriptwriter to create the movie script.
Defining the characteristics or traits of your characters also helps movie producers select the right actors and actresses for the dramatization.
At the same time, it’s also essential to bring out and describe the emotions of each character during the book several times. Remember, you’re writing for real-life people and not lifeless elements. Like you and me, every real-life person feels various emotions.
By blending emotions of characters in different situations, you’re actually helping the reader to connect with the story. They could imagine or actually have been in similar or almost the same circumstances. This prods them to read.
Blending emotion is possible only when you, as the author, assume the role of various characters in the story and try to copy their emotions. For example, how would you feel if you saw a ghost in your bedroom? Or if you were heartbroken?
These emotions are extremely important in any book because they help maintain the reader’s interest till the end.
Break it Into Chapters
If you see any good book, surely you’ll find it consists of several chapters. As a rule, every author breaks their books into various chapters because it deals with different situations, places, circumstances or brings in something new such as introducing another character.
Breaking a book into chapters also makes it easy to read. And the best part of it: you get opportunities to think about how to proceed further. You can write one chapter, rest and then think about how to go about writing the next.
Adding or deleting chapters is possible anytime during the writing process. It helps you modify the book where necessary, without the need to dump the entire project altogether.
There’re no upper limits on how many chapters you could add to the book. It all depends upon the storyline and how much you wish to write.
However, never include chapters only to lengthen a book. That causes readers to lose interest and can fetch you poor reviews. This can damage your reputation as author and that of the book irreparably. Therefore, add chapters only when absolutely necessary for your storyline and plot.
Easy Does It
The saying “easy does it” reminds us to avoid pushing ourselves too hard when writing a book. It's important to remember that writing a book is not a competition, and there's no need to rush to finish a chapter or the entire book.
Personally, I don't believe in setting strict deadlines for myself when writing. Instead, I prefer to approach writing as a leisurely and enjoyable activity.
When you read biographies of authors, you'll often see that it took them years to complete a single book. This is because a book should be a masterpiece that showcases your knowledge and passion. It's important to remember that writing a book for money or fame is not a good reason to write.
Taking things slowly allows you to refine your language, add more interesting characters and settings, and make the book more enjoyable for readers. No great book was ever written overnight.
Write When Inspired
While writing a book, you’ll come across several instances or reasons when you’re actually inspired to write. Grab these opportunities. Chapters and books that emerge from these inspirations usually make bestsellers.
At the same time, you can also write whenever you’re feeling down and depressed. This might come as a surprise. But putting down negative thoughts in words relieves depression. And such negative emotions are useful when you’re writing about some situation that’s occurring among characters in your story.
Before concluding this article, I recommend that you go through the above tips rather carefully. Writing a book might sound like a cakewalk, but it isn’t one if you’re serious about touching the lives of other people.
Because that’s what books are all about instead of being mere money-spinning ventures. Vivid imagination, general knowledge, and personal experiences, as well as those of people in our lives are very useful to write a good book.
The success of every book is when you get people to identify with it and help them fulfil some purpose in life.
How to write a book and get it published?
Writing a book and getting it published is a multi-step process that can take time and effort. Develop your idea and research the market, write a book proposal and then find an agent or publisher. Revise and edit your manuscript, then get your book printed and marketed. Keep promoting your book even after it is published to reach more readers. Getting a book published takes time, persistence, and the ability to accept rejection but with hard work and determination, you can turn your dream of becoming a published author into a reality.
How long does it take to write a book?
The amount of time it takes to write a book can vary greatly depending on factors such as the author's writing style, the length of the book, and the amount of research required. On average, it can take anywhere from six months to several years to complete a full-length novel, but it can also take as little as a few weeks. Additionally, the editing and publishing process can take additional time.
How to write a book with no experience?
Writing a book with no experience can be daunting, but with determination and the right mindset, anyone can become a published author. Start with an idea and develop a plot and characters. Research your topic thoroughly, write an outline to organize your thoughts, and start writing. Once you have a draft, get feedback from others, and revise and edit your book. Finally, choose to self-publish or find a traditional publisher to get your book to market. Remember to be patient and persistent throughout the process. You can refer to our guide on how to write a book.
How to write a book about your life?
Writing a book about your life can be a great way to reflect on your experiences and share your story with others. To get started, create an outline of the main events and themes in your life. Be honest and reflective in your writing, using descriptive language to paint a vivid picture of people, places, and events. Get feedback from others and revise and edit your work before submitting it for publication. Remember, writing a book about your life is a challenging and rewarding experience that can leave a lasting legacy for future generations.
How to write a children's book?
Writing a children's book is a fun and rewarding experience. To get started, identify your target audience and create an engaging story with a clear plot, relatable characters, and a moral or lesson. Use simple language, and illustrations and get feedback from children, parents, and educators. Revise and edit your work before submitting it for publication. Remember, writing a children's book is a lot of work but the end result is a book that can inspire and entertain young readers while also teaching them valuable life lessons.