In How-To

Let’s Learn How to Write a Book

The value of reading is limitless. In the most central sense, a book allows a conversation to take place between two people. No matter how separated by distance and time, the writer can relate information, an idea, and even a new way of thinking to the reader’s mind, creating a flow of communication throughout humanity. Besides the inherent informative and entertaining experience, the act of reading, or submitting to another mindset for a time, often creates higher levels of empathy in the reader. In this sense, reading benefits the person and flows outward to those he or she interacts with. This is the true gift of writing.

How to Write a Good Book 

The first step leaves many would-be writers with a blank page in front of them. First, you must have something to say. Writers are idea people. They perceive the world around them and connect its details to broader, more abstract ideas. If you’re interested in writing fiction, you’ll combine your personal experience, and things you’ve learned in order to make a certain claim on the nature of reality and the human experience, so that when someone reads it, the book invokes the same idea, and feeling in him or her. As an informative writer, you may take research knowledge and deduce new conclusions. Being keen to your personal feelings and ideas, and the broader patterns of your environment is a must for writers coming up with something important to say. But once you find your idea, it will compel you to write.

How to Start Writing

There are a couple of ways to go about beginning to write. If you haven’t found that perfect idea that gets you writing, don’t worry! You can start by practicing the art of writing. Find smaller details or scenarios that excite you and give you the impulse to write. Don’t think too hard–just put the pen to the paper and see where the ideas take you. At this stage, you can move from thing to thing and develop different writing skills in the process. For example, if you thought of a great way to describe something or someone, write it down and see if it leads you to another. Maybe you’ll stumble upon a character or topic you’re drawn to, and once you are, you can start writing your book! Maybe you have a great idea for the ending of a book. Try starting there and see if the rest fall into the place. Even if they don’t all pan out, you’ve spent time improving your writing skills.

How to Write a Novel 

Plan your novel! The more you know about your story up front the better. One way to start planning out your novel is to write out your main point or main set of themes. Then, break them down into bits that can be demonstrated concretely with actions or dialogue, since, as a novel, the reader will want to experience something for his or her self, and not be told what to think.

Some writers use a character-based approach. They will start with a basic biography of each of the major characters that details their physical appearance, family history, personal history, values, judgments, and characteristics that make them act the way they do. This type of thought before writing will flesh out the characters in your mind so that when you put them on paper in your novel, they come to life with rich details the reader can engage with. Once you have the character biography, decide where you want them to end up. Then go back and chart the necessary character developments that will affect the overall change.

After you’ve detailed the different thematic or character directions you want your novel to go, outline the basic events that happen throughout your novel. This will help you keep sight of the entire project and how it fits together as a whole.

Consider consulting the repeated conventions of storytelling structure as well. One very basic structure is ‘exposition,’ ‘rising action,’ ‘climax,’ and ‘denouement,’ or ‘resolution.’ Some authors find it useful to work inside the Hero’s Journey approach, by relying on the archetypal elements of a heroic transformation found everywhere from Luke Skywalker to Jesus in the New Testament.

However, do not feel constrained to a certain formula. In fact, it can be more imaginative and persuasive to purposefully stray from the formulaic structures. It’s your story and it is up to you to tell it in best way possible.

Don’t Over-plan Your Writing

Whether it’s a novel or not, it all comes down to writing the beast. So, go ahead and plan, but don’t let your planning stall in your work. Many people over-think the planning stage, trying to get every detail right, when really, you’ll have to flesh it out with the real thing sooner or later. Once you’ve gathered all the outlines, character charts, and research necessary, dive right in. Purposefully set aside time only for writing. Maybe it’s only thirty minutes at first. Then let the writing sessions grow as you flex your concentration muscles and the project builds momentum.

Limit your distractions. Don’t touch the internet, not even to look up the spelling of a word–it can wait. It’s all about setting up an environment where the thoughts flow into sentences and begin constituting your book.

It takes a meditative space and time in order to truly immerse yourself in the world of your characters. Don’t worry if it doesn’t come out perfectly. This first draft is for exploring the possibilities for the book’s direction and developing a voice that suits you. If you’re having a hard time finding the writing voice, crack open some of your favorite books and see what these authors do to be linguistically unique. Emulate them, and see what works. Once you feel comfortable with your voice, try to find a cadence so the narrative progresses seamlessly from thought to page.

How to Write a Children’s Book 

The how-to of writing a children’s book is similar, though likely not as complex, to writing any piece of fiction. Most children’s books retain many of the same storytelling conventions, only simplified. While character bios and outlines will be less detailed, children’s books still require the distinct psychological desires for characters to make for interesting stories. For example, Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are contains a child’s disobedience, rebellion and eventual return in a cathartic, imaginary world, with desires relatable to any kid reading it.

Publishing A Book

If you are only interested in distributing the book to your friends and family, self-publishing is becoming an increasingly easy and affordable option. Simply, work with one of the many self-publishing online companies.

How to Write A Book Report 

After all this talk about writing books, let’s talk about the equally important task of responding to books in book reports. Unless a teacher specifically asks for a summary of the book you read, you don’t need to include one. Instead, a more intelligent report will argue for a specific claim about the nature of the book.

First, ask yourself about the meaning of a particularly interesting passage. For example, why did the main character act in a certain way when something important happened? Attempt to answer it using evidence from anywhere in the book. The more relevant passages you include, the stronger your argument gets. Perhaps you can try to answer the question from a couple different angles. In the final paragraph, summarize your argument and explain why it is correct. Then, try to apply it to the modern era, or your life in general. This type of book report will demonstrate that not only did you read the book, you comprehended it well enough to interpret its meaning.

Hope our guidelines will get your creative buds flourishing and your ideas flowing into paper!

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