How To Write a Book: Helpful Tips on Writing a Book

Writer using his typewriter

It seems as though almost everyone wants to write a book... how often do you hear someone say, "My life would make a great book" or "I'd like to write a book someday"?  Of course, writing a book usually isn't anywhere near as glamorous or romanticized as many people make it out to be.  Even shorter books can be tens of thousands of words long, and it can be difficult to keep a plot going that long without running out of creative steam.  That said, it is entirely possible to write a good book without too much difficulty; you simply need to know how to pace yourself and move your plot along.  If you'd still like to try your hands at writing a book of your own, you should:

  1. Begin deciding what the subject of your book will be, and whether it will be fiction or non-fiction.  You should also start considering what your target audience is going to be (or what age range and gender would most likely read your book.)
  2. Start developing the general story of the book, as well as the characters.  You should create basic profiles for your various characters, and determine where the story begins, what the main conflict of the story will be, and how the story will end.  If you're writing non-fiction, then you should still complete these steps--the only differences are that you'll be creating characters based on real people (if you're using characters) and that the details of the book will be based upon fact instead of being made up.
  3. Begin fleshing out the characters, adding details to the profiles such as hometown, what they do for a living, how old they are, and any personality traits that you want them to have.  The more detail you can create for the characters, the more readers will believe that the characters are realistic.  Obviously, if you're writing non-fiction and don't have characters, then you can ignore this point.
  4. Develop different plot points that will occur throughout the story, and start making an outline of the overall plot.  The outline is important for fiction and non-fiction, since it helps you to determine and easily review what information will be contained in which part of the book.
  5. Once you're satisfied with your characters and have developed enough plot details to make the story understandable, you should begin deciding on the layout of your book.  If you're going to have chapters in your book, divide your outline into the different chapters so you'll have a guide once you start writing.
  6. Now you're finally ready to start the book itself.  Try not to rush into the different outline points; let them happen naturally.  With an average chapter being between 8 and 15 pages and an average page being 500 words long, you're going to have between 4,000 and 7,500 words to cover all of the plot points in the chapter.  (Of course, this is an estimate... there are no limits to chapter sizes, so write them as long or as short as they need to be for your book.)
  7. When you finally finish the book, set it aside for a while until it's no longer fresh in your mind.  Read the book, noting changes that need to be made....then go back and make them.  Continue revising the book in this manner until it has reached the point you'd like for it to be at.


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By Jessica LeBlanc