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message 1: by Megan (last edited Jul 17, 2016 09:45PM) (new)

Megan I would like to eventually write a book one day and have been making notes on book plots and topics that I would like to use.

I have a few questions on writing a book and I didn't have anyone specific to ask, so I figured it would be best to ask everyone here in the GR world.

I have my plot and am trying to develop my characters, but I seem to get stuck with 'I don't even know how/where to start.' I'm thinking about some of my favorite books and how they start off, but I'm having a hard time with mine.

Besides plot, characters, and climax, what other areas should I be thinking about for my book?

One more thing... Once a book is written and ready to be published, how do authors find a publishing company? Is this just a simple google search or is it more involved than that?

I want to hear from everyone, especially those authors out there!


message 2: by K.R. (new)

K.R. Reese (authorkrreese) First, and I'm sure others will agree, you don't have to write in the correct order. Just start writing. You could write the ending first, then chapter three, then chapter one. Just write. Your ideas will come to you that way. I know it doesn't sound professional, but that's what i did. When I stressed about plot, characters, climax, ect., I couldn't write anything. I finally gave up on all of that and just kept writing whatever came to mind then went back and edited later.


message 3: by J.M. (new)

J.M. Rankin (jmrankin) | 54 comments I agree with K.R. If you have your plot, then start writing. At the end of the day, there is no strict one way to write a novel. You have to find what works for you. Im like K.R., where i used to write from beginning to end, got stuck, wouldnt write anything or forced it. I would write in my chapters then struggle to find a way to start and end them, then most of the time hate what I'd written.
Now, I just start writing with my plot outline, and go from there. I'll scribble notes as I go, and my first draft is an absolute mess, but that's fine as I'm the only one who will see it! A first draft is just that, a draft. It doesnt have to be perfect. If I get stuck I simply type blah blah (literally!) and move on to another scene. If you have your plot sorted you can write whatever part you like in any order, because you know where your story is going.
But the ultimate advice is just start writing, and see where your plot and characters take you!


message 4: by J.L. (new)

J.L. Hill (authorjlhill) | 140 comments I'm like Libby I write from start to finish. Before I start I write detail outlines of the plot, characters ( at least the main ones, others show up as needed), and the theme. Writing a detail theme will help you stay on top of your subject. Now from time to time I'll write something that I realize belongs in a later chapter, no problem, I just throw some returns in and keep pushing it back until it falls into place.
You will have to try several techniques until you find the one that fits your style. You do have a style you just don't know it yet.
Don't worry about publishing, write first - publishing comes much later.


message 5: by Meg (new)

Meg D. Gonzalez (megdgonzalez) | 8 comments I love Randy Ingermanson's The Snowflake Method. It's great for getting your thoughts together in a coherent way. Once you go through the steps, writing the novel becomes so much easier. (If you're really new to the craft, I also suggest picking up KM Weiland's Structuring Your Novel, James Scott Bell's Plot and Structure, and... really any of Donald Maass's books.)

Then you'll need to decide if you want to self-publish, indie publish, or traditionally publish. There's no right answer. I encourage you to thoroughly research each option to determine what's right for you. That will determine what your next step needs to be—whether you need an agent, etc.

And I cannot stress enough the value of writer's conferences. I had been writing and studying craft for almost a decade before I went to my first conference. My knowledge just about doubled. And it was incredible to meet likeminded people who could be a great support group when the road got tough. It is tough—the writing, the editing, the constant rejection. It's really difficult. But completing a novel is an incredible accomplishment. There's nothing quite like it.

If you have any questions, I'll be happy to help. I'm a freelance writer and editor with my first book coming out in 2017! I'm contactable by any of the links on my blog, megdgonzalez.com.

I wish you all the best!


message 6: by Jim (last edited Jul 21, 2016 10:16AM) (new)

Jim Vuksic Megan wrote: "I would like to eventually write a book one day and have been making notes on book plots and topics that I would like to use.

I have a few questions on writing a book and I didn't have anyone spe..."


Megan,

There are shelves of books, available in most public libraries, that provide detailed writing techniques, style and plot development suggestions from professionals who have achieved significant commercial success in the literary world.

There are also books and literary periodicals that provide how-to advice and samples of query correspondence to introduce your work and yourself to potential publishers. They also provide lists of legitimate mainline publishers and other lists of those that claim to be, but are not.

Be persistent and patient. More importantly, be professional at all times. I wish you success.


message 7: by S. (new)

S. Hartley (shartley) | 1 comments Hi, Megan! I have to agree with everyone here - just start writing. I tend to get the bones down and then go back to add meat. By bones I mean the conversations and basic plot of the story, then I fill in the descriptions and thoughts (meat) - this comes more easily to me now that I have been writing for a while.
I sometimes have a scene in mind that I will write while I have it and then add it in when I feel it is the right time.
I like to describe the movie that is playing in my mind when I am thinking about my characters - writing about their emotions, etc... Just write what you are feeling and thinking!


message 8: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Clausen Megan wrote: "I would like to eventually write a book one day and have been making notes on book plots and topics that I would like to use.

I have a few questions on writing a book and I didn't have anyone spe..."


Hey Megan, this may sound odd, but I think the best thing to do is to give yourself a "practice novel" to write. Something not too difficult. If possible, try to study the plot of a book you like and see if there is something you are passionate about the maps onto the generic structure. Then, give yourself lots of room to explore and fail. Most first novels are failures, but give great learning experiences. Often time great short stories come out of them and later in life you realize what is needed to make it better.

In short, a pioneering spirit and a willingness to fail are your best assets.


message 9: by John (new)

John Meszaros | 11 comments Hi Megan,
It's worth pointing out that no one way of writing is the right way to write. Whatever works for you is the "right" way.

With that being said, what I personally do when I'm writing novels or short stories is to do a bit of outlining, then write the scenes that interest me the most. It doesn't matter where they come in the story. Eventually I may even toss some scenes out or significantly revise them. But just the process of writing those scenes helps me flesh out the plot.

I've found that writing those random scenes also helps me understand the characters better. I see how they actually interact in the world I'm building. I learn a little about their personalities and behaviors. As I discover more about them, I can figure out how they will react in other parts of the novel.

As for other areas you should think about- setting is extremely important. Think about the fine details of your setting. What makes it unique? What will set your world apart from every other book? The details don't have to be huge- small touches here and there can really bring out a world. Maybe the local diner has a pile of old lobster traps out front. Maybe the main character's house has a big bush of sweet ferns in front that her grandmother planted. Maybe the lake that the protagonists frequent has a big submerged rock in the middle that they all used to pretend was an aquatic monster.

I always carry around a notebook to write little thoughts and ideas that strike me. I'll record interesting things that I see- things that I can perhaps incorporate into my novel to make the setting more interesting.


message 10: by Megan (new)

Megan John wrote: "Hi Megan,
It's worth pointing out that no one way of writing is the right way to write. Whatever works for you is the "right" way.

With that being said, what I personally do when I'm writing novel..."



This is very helpful information, thanks!

It seems a lot easier than it really is. I know that I have to include certain things such as setting (as you mentioned), characters, point of view, and descriptions, but I guess I'm having a hard time 'just getting started'. Sometimes I'm not sure where to begin, but I guess it doesn't really matter, right? I could start with the ending and build it from there. There is just so much detail, information, and components that go into a good story. Seems like a ton of work!


message 11: by John (last edited Aug 10, 2016 09:52PM) (new)

John Meszaros | 11 comments Megan wrote: "John wrote: "Hi Megan,
It's worth pointing out that no one way of writing is the right way to write. Whatever works for you is the "right" way.

With that being said, what I personally do when I'm ..."


It sounds to me like you might be overthinking things. Believe me, I know very, very well what that's like.

Rather than driving yourself crazy trying to construct the whole novel at once, don't even worry about plot or beginnings just yet. Just try writing a few scenes of the characters interacting. You'll be surprised how quickly new ideas will start to flow. And yes, it totally doesn't matter where you begin. You'll find the beginning eventually.


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