Last week, we looked at naming your book. The title is an important part in marketing and advertising your book. In addition, to promoting your book over the network. Each part is one step closer to creating your book and producing a finished product. This week, we will start by creating your plot, also called a storyline. A plot is simply the series of main events or sequence of events in the story. I believe there are two major issues defined: what you want to happen in the story and what you want to get across to readers. More so, it is the actual experience of writing that gives knowledge and better writing with each additional book written. I start out each story with two main questions: what do I want the reader to see (messages written between the lines) and how do I carry over the plot to present the characters in the story? While there are no definite guidelines written in concrete, it is wise to be prepared. I have added some suggestions in which to start your plot:
- It is important to start out describing to readers basic descriptions, such as events, location, surroundings or time period. You don’t need to be too wordy or obsessive with words; however, be rather explicit.
- Begin with either an Introduction or a Prologue describing where the story is taking place, main character(s), dates or time period, etc. This will initially describe what you are conveying to your readers. What are you trying to tell them? For example, if writing a historical novel, you may want to include some historical events as well.
- The Prologue or Chapter One can lead the storyline into the book. The emphasis here is on guiding the plot into an easier written manuscript. Often, that starts the rest of the story and makes the manuscript flow easier. The manuscript is the initial script you are writing for your book or novel. I will be discussing finalizing your manuscript in later weeks.
- Write down important dates, locations, events or names in the story to refer back to. If you have a photographic memory, you may be okay in this area.
- There are times you may want to use what I call fillers. These are parts of a script or a chapter that aren’t in sequence, but are used later on in the manuscript. For example, if using a trial scene in your book, you may want to write the scene beforehand and go back later to add it to a chapter.
- Sometimes, I find writing the ending or conclusion first is easier, then going back afterward to write the rest of the manuscript. It is a guideline to what I want to say and where I want the plot to go. There are exceptions to this. If you are a very organized person, you probably can write from beginning to ending in sequence with no trouble.
- Write the story with little or no other distractions. If you are prone to distractions, write at a time that best suits you. If you are a morning person, write solely in the morning. If you are an afternoon or evening person, adjust your time accordingly to write. Turn the apps, radio, stereo, dvd player, headphones and television off. There shouldn’t be any other noise in the room, except your fingers working at the keyboard.
- Allow yourself time to finish the story. As I mentioned last week, there is no maximum time to complete your book. I would say three to six months is a reasonable time to complete it. Allow more time if having professional editing done or an illustrator for children’s books. If you are good with the English language and proficient in writing, you are probably okay with self-editing instead.
Next week, I will be discussing general guidelines used by the publisher. I can only go by independent publishing. Traditional publishing would be a different ballgame. It is time-consuming and you do sign over copyrights of your written work(s). Self-publishing allows more control of your book.
I love the responses and feedback I have received so far. Please keep the posts coming. That is the difference between an average and a good writer. A great writer will share her/his experiences with others in order for them to learn. These were things I learned along the way – thus, no one taught me these or no course was sought on writing. It took five years and will probably take several more years to learn everything in the writing process. Hopefully, these tips will make it a little easier for new authors and writers.