Book Writing Tutorial 1

Book Writing Tutorial 1

Welcome to Book Writing Tutorial 1. 

Writing a book is hard work. Among other things, it involves writing, throwing much of that writing on the cutting floor, doing that over and over until you eventually capture the essence of your thoughts on your subject matter. You know this but you still want to try. Wonderful! Let’s get started.

However, before you start the writing process you must do the following:

1. Clear your mind of worry about your writing.

Don’t worry that what you write won’t be as good as another writer’s product. ‘Good’ is relative. What makes each writer’s work stand out are the personal assets that she/he brings to the project – personality traits, experiences, theories about the world and so on. Every writer has her/his set of assets that sets her/him apart from other writers. We learn this from the works that writers produce, works that evoke specific emotions in us; works that take us on journeys that we don’t want to end. So, don’t worry that your work won’t be exactly as another writer’s. It should not! It should be your work; you pouring out one aspect of an experience on the page.

2. Decide what you want to write.

Do you want to write poetry, prose or drama? I suspect that prose is what you want to write – a nonfiction book covering themes of self-help, a textbook, a biography, a memoir, a personal essay – there is a long list of possibilities.

Or, you may be thinking about writing fiction for children, young adults and/or adults. These stories can take any form such as George Orwell’s allegorical book, Animal Farm, or Agatha Christie’s mysteries which consumed much of my high school years. Or, you may want to write romance. There are many examples out there. Many of us readers got our first introduction to romance writing by reading Mills and Boon books. Or, you may be thinking about writing fairy-tales – again, the list of possibilities is endless. You choose the type of story that you want to tell and tell it, your way.  

Read to write

The most important asset that you need to possess to jump-start your writing project is the love of reading. Reading and writing go hand in hand. When you read, you inadvertently learn the how, why and what of writing because your favourite writers show you how it is done. You have read a few or many books but you’ll like to read more. There are paperbacks and hard covers on your bookshelf but you may want to explore online formats. To do that though, you need the tools – a kindle, for example. Amazon allows you to download kindle for your personal computer (PC), if you live in the United States. However, if you would like to take your reading with you, there is a selection of kindles from which to choose or, why not get unlimited access to electronic copies of books? Don’t shy away from reading something but if you are strapped for time, you may want to listen to books. Choose your method to enjoy your favourite stories while learning how to craft your own stories.

3. Don’t worry about your writing competence.

You may have challenges expressing yourself exactly as you would love to and sticking to the rules of grammar, but don’t stress. Write your story anyway. There are editors out there – people who take the raw material that you produce and shape it into the finished product that you desire. Of course, there is a cost for this service which may be steep but you can always negotiate with your editor.

4. Set goals for your writing.

Get excited about the product that you will produce. Some people will complete their projects after a few minutes, some after a few hours, some after a few days, some after a few months while some people take years to get the thoughts out of their heads and on to a page. Treat your writing like the work it is. Dedicate an hour or two to your writing each day. According to the experts out there, you should aim to write at least 400 words each day. If you manage to do that, at the end of one year, you would have written 145,600 words, enough words for a few books.

Open your eyes.

Learn to see the people and things of this world as the activities of your days unfold. People, their quirks, their activities will shape the characters who will people your story, so get to know them. You want to create a reality for your readers that seems authentic to the story world that you have created. Make it your business to study people, places and things. These provide the details for your stories.

 Research to enhance your writing.

You research because you want to understand what you are writing about; to ensure that the details that you share with your readers are based in the particular reality that you are exploring. For example, if you are from the city and you want to set your story in the country, you’ll need to understand the look, the feel, the people and their way of life. So, you do research about country life so that you can share an authentic experience with your readers. You may do this research by visiting rural settings, a pleasant pastime.

Writing exercise for today

 Exercise your fingers and brains before you jump into the fire which is the story that you plan to write. Set your timer for one minute. Think about anything that catches your fancy, no matter what it is. Start your timer and allow your brain free reign. Write until the timer goes off. Read what you have written and do any edits that you think necessary. Afterwards, post your work in the comments section below. We’ll have fun going through them. If you are worrying that people will see your work and judge you, go back to the first point.

Continue to read about book writing in article 2 of this series here.

About the Author

Janette B. Fuller is a teacher and author of three books. Her business is to write stories set in the place she knows best – Jamaica – while also helping writers to write their own stories. When you are ready to write your story, make contact with her @ Check out her books here


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