Archive for February, 2014

If you’ve never planted a garden before, you’re going to need instructions. You’ll need to decide where it belongs, and know how to prepare the soil. Have the proper tools handy. Buy the materials. Then nurture it through the process by watering the seeds, and strengthening them with nutrients. It takes knowledge, patience, and dedication to see fruitful results, be it a flower or vegetable garden.

And by all means, don’t forget to weed out the bad stuff that works its way in.

 Of course, you wise writers all know where I’m going with this.

 Yep. If you are planning to write a book, you need to do the very same things.

The comparison is a good analogy because it’s pretty much the same process. You need to take the seeds of a manuscript and lovingly help it grow into a completed book.

 But you are probably looking for something more concrete here. . . . 

So here is a detailed list of what you will need to take that story living in your head and turn it into a bountiful garden, er, book.

 1)  Decide what kind of book you want to write (genre), and realize you’ll need to be familiar with similar titles – which means reading other books in your genre . . . Preferably the bestsellers because there is (usually) a reason why they are popular.

2)  Organize your thoughts, mark down your daily writing schedule (never, never say “I don’t have time, you must make the time. The book’s not going to write itself ;-). Get up an hour earlier, go to bed an hour later, for example. It can be done!

3)  Have basic tools on hand – even when you are not at the keyboard. Especially for taking notes. You’d be surprised the great ideas, and scenes, that come to you when you are not actively writing!

4)  Draft a rough outline (similar to a table of contents). It’s bound to change as you work, and that’s okay. You need reference points. After all, if you are planning a trip to somewhere you’ve never been before you refer to a map, GPS or a website, correct?

5)  Caring and Feeding: Attend workshops to learn how to write right, and research – for many reasons, beginning with the era and setting in which your book takes place. Remember: You must get your facts right, even in fiction. There is always, always, a reader out there who will call you on it after the book’s been published, when you can’t do a darn thing about it. And readers are like elephants, they never forget . . . and like gossips, they will spread the word.

6)  Now, write the damn book. 🙂

7) No, you are not done yet! It’s weeding time! Yank out those unnecessary adverbs, adjectives, and basically “terse it up.” Once all that is done, put the book away (yes, you should print it out) for at least a week. Then bring it out and read each page out loud to see what sounds right and what doesn’t. Remember, revision is your friend.

8) Next, hire a (good) editor. Really. It’s the best thing you can do for yourself and your book. 

9) Go out and celebrate the harvest. You’ve done good!  

10) Draft your marketing plan. (Something you need to think about right from the start.)  

**Next Blog: We’ll weigh in on publishing options.

 Happy February!




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