Sunday, June 10, 2012

How to write a book

There is only one way to write a book. It’s incredibly simple but also incredibly hard. It can be summed up as BICFOK.
Butt In Chair Fingers On Keyboard.
Sure you need to start with some kind of idea/plan/wish/plot/characters. But it doesn’t need to be a fully plotted summary of every scene. Some writers cope better with an outline, even quite a detailed chapter summary. Other authors find an outline stifles their imagination, or that their characters just ignore them and do whatever they please anyway.
Anyone serious about writing a book will find out quite quickly what works best for them, just as some writers like silence and others can’t write without music playing on their ear-buds, or the television blaring in the background.
The important thing is to sit down and write. Just write. Don’t try to get every sentence perfect. Don’t read and reread and edit and re-edit what you’ve already written, or you risk removing the soul and passion from it, and ending up with perfectly polished platitudes no one wants to read.
Write the words. Get it down on file. Keep writing while the words are flowing. Later you can polish it, edit it. You certainly need to do that before you send it off to an agent/editor/publisher, but first get the words down. Just WRITE.
And don’t tell me you can’t write because you have six kids under the age of four, or work for the boss from hell who thinks he owns your soul. If you really want to write a book you’ll find some time, even if it’s only half an hour a day, or an hour on the weekend. Every line, every paragraph you get down, brings you a sentence, a paragraph, a scene closer to achieving your dream of writing a book.
Take a tip from a company that shall remain nameless and just do it. BICFOK and write. 

Helen Woodall

Helen is available to line edit and/ or content edit fiction and non-fiction. Rates on application.


anny cook said...

As Nora Roberts said in one of her interviews..."You can't revise a page that hasn't been written..."

Good post.

Tracy Cooper-Posey said...

BICFOK sounds like some Viking swear word. Very evocative.

Although you raise a great point, Helen -- it's also the key to prolificacy: the more often you touch the keyboard, the more you write.

Helen Woodall: Freelance Editing said...

Well Nora certainly knows how to do it!
Absoutely Tracy. I'm not implying it's easy. I'm just saying that's the only way that really works.
Thanks for dropping by Anny and Tracy.

Shelley Munro said...

Excellent advice! And the more a writer writes, the easier it becomes. Writing becomes a habit.

Helen Woodall: Freelance Editing said...

Exactly right Shelley.