Before we begin. Here is the link to the "Tips" page on this website. Many people submit writing tips which are posted for all to read. It is a good point of reference, and a great way to see how others approach things. Feel free to leave comments or ask questions in the comment area at the bottom of the page. on that page. https://cr-author.news/TipsLetsGetSocial
This topic is a request from Shari in New York. I am in the process of producing a three-part video tutorial series on "Writing For The Aspiring Writer. " It will be available on udemy.com sometime in August. It will all it all. From beginning to end. For now, let's get started.
Over time, you have probably heard many suggestions as to how to start writing a book. Let me tell you there are no way right or wrong ways. It's about what works for you. Try different methods until you find what works for you. Experimentation breads learning. This is simply guideline you can follow to get you started. Over the years, writers have found what words for them. Try different methods. Some writers start at the end and work backwards, some write as they go, others do a full outline. The method I use is what I will be discussing. Why? Because it works for me, and anyone can apply it. I have been told many times it was a great help for those who were just starting.
No matter what you are writing, what genre or topic. It starts with an idea or a concept. What is it you are trying to say, or what your story is. The next challenge is organization. When I tried just writing on the fly, I found my story was bouncing back and forth. It had no definite structure. When I was writing medical papers, that was easy. Straight to the point. Writing in a other genre's other than non-fiction narratives, is completely different.
Start with jotting down your ideas. See if any research is required. In a fictional book, you have some breathing room when it comes to accuracy. Let's face it, it's fiction. If everything in fiction had to be accurate, Sci-Fi books would not exist. In a love stories or crime novel, any reference to policies or procedures should be as accurate as possible. Remember, everyone is a critic. Some that read your books may be in that field. Some folks forget they are reading a fictional book. You will find that you write it, read it, and perform rewrites many times. Every time you read a passage, you will find a different way to word it. Trust me, eventually you will find the one you like.
Then we have style. Style is often times confused with topic or genre. Style lives in a wold of it's own. It is often times dependent on what you are writing about. For example, when I wrote medical articles, the bling wasn't required. They were scientific-based articles. Based solely on data, statistics and facts. I used fancy medical terms because the audience they were tailored to would understand them. You MUST know your audience. Every time someone has to stop reading your book to look up a work they don't know the definition to, you have just caused their moment and concentration to be broken. For a reader, that is frustrating. If you want to use a medical term so the story seems accurate, insert the definition.
As an example. "He was lying in the hospital bed and was intubated. The staff told us he was stable."
That is great. It's the correct medical term, however, many do not know what that means. Think of writing it this way.
"He was lying in the hospital bed and was intubated. Many times when someone can't breathe on their own, the hospital will intubate them. They place a tube through their mouth to help get oxygen into the lungs. The staff informed us this was helping to keep him stable."
You don't have to get to technical. You just want the reader to understand the term so they can read on.
Let me fill you in on a secret. If you write in perfect grammar, you just might win the award for having the most boring book on the market. For example. How do people talk in the real world?
Do they say, "When I met him did not like him." or, "When I met him, I didn't like him." Most spell checkers will correct the contraction. However, the way it is written and read, can make it awkward to read. In some cases, it could change the meaning of the sentence.
For exmaple. If you writing a crime novel, you have to write the way a criminal figure might talk. How many remember the Soprano's? How effective would that dialogue be if it was spoken in perfect English? It would STINK. How people perceive what they read is developed by how it is written. Let me give you an example of a gangster saying a sentence.
"Well, what do you think? Does the owner feel he was correct in his decision?"
Does this sound like a gangster? Or,
"Shit, what the fuck was that asshole thinking? The boss is gonna hang him by the balls when he finds out."
Which one do you think will define your characters? Yes, your spelling and grammar checker will drop dead of a heart attack.
Of course everything is personal preference. However, know the audience, and know what you are writing about and how your want your story perceived, and write it that way. Where does this leave us? Try this on for size.
Establish your idea. What is it, or what type of story is it.
If you have your story line, write it. Most will have the basic story line. The story develops further as you write. However, this is where you can get into trouble because your ideas could be bouncing around, and your story may not flow. Things will be out of order. Heck, we all have done. I have, and sometimes still do. They what happens while you are creating.
I usually create my chapter names first. I make sure my chapter names follow the story line, and the events as they will unfold. This helps to keep you organized.
I learned the hard way that writing for print, and writing for audio book narration are two different things. They should be the same. I literally had to relearn how to write while not sacrificing my style. I suggest you read your manuscript as if someone was narrating it. Ask yourself, is this not only readable, but can it be narrated? Remember, you know what is coming. Your reader doesn't. Because of that you understand it, even if it's a jumbled mess. It's very difficult to proof read your own material. I have some people I trust read my manuscript and give me their opinions. Even with that, I have to refine certain things.
Work with people you trust and ALWAYS be open minded. You are NOT an expert on everything. For my audio books, I work with NYT/USAT Best Selling AUTHOR Narrator Marnye Young. I work with Tim from Silverton Audio to produce them. Wow, did they give me a lesson. If not for them, my first audio book would have been a disaster. Don't think you know it all. You don't. Rely on those that specialize int their field. They will make your work shine, and you will learn for the future..
No one is perfect. No one can do it all. It takes a team. The top Authors have a team. You would be surprised if you read some draft manuscripts before an editor got to it. I always say I can admit where I am string, and also where I am weak. I am a terrible speller, always have been, and a horrible editor. So those are my weak points. However, I can write a kick-ass story about anything. That's my strong point. Enlist the help of others. Don;t expect it to happen or come overnight. It doesn't.
There you have it. Some simple basic suggestions that should help a newer write get started. A few more things to remember. Professional line by line editing is not cheap. Very few get pick up by the top publishers. You will either have to decide to self publish, or use a hybrid publisher. There are pro's and con's to both. I will tell you this. To do it right, costs money. Marketing and advertising isn't cheap either. When I had my best seller books sold for greater amounts of money. You had a more generous royalty and budget to work with. With the average book price of 14 to 24 dollars, and many as cheap as .99 cents, by the time you deduct your expenses, you have a to sell a lot of books to make money. You are caught in a catch 22. If you don't invest in marketing, who will know about your book. Social Media alone won't do it. When you are up against 11 million or more titles on the larger books sites, you are a needle in a hay stack. All of that is very detailed and much to long for a blog post. All of these things will be covered in great detail in the video tutorial I am producing that I mentioned above. It should be coming out sometime in August. Feel free to leave a comment below, or you can email me through this website with any questions.
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Happy writing ... CJR