This week I was asked for advice from an aspiring writer, mostly in relation to topics like getting started and the research involved. I get these questions from time-to-time, so I decided to dedicate today's blog post entirely to it.
Although I have several tips that I can give, please keep in mind that what works for one author may not work for others. At the end, you will need to figure out what works best for you.
Where to start?
If you want to write a book, chances are that you have a general idea about the story that you want to write. Take those ideas and put them on paper. Any other ideas, write them down right when it comes to you. I have literally done things like stop mowing the lawn or pull into a parking lot, just so I could write something down. Many times, I ended up typing it on my phone because the time was just so inconvenient that I did not have anything to write with. Also, keep something that you can write on by your bed. You will be surprised on how many times you may wake up in the morning and forget that you wrote things down at night. Ideas… you just never know when you will get them…
Write what you feel like writing at the moment. You don’t need to start writing at the beginning. With Imprinted Souls, as instance, I started by writing one of the final chapters. This is where outlines can be helpful…. It helps you combining everything when you do not write in a specific order. I learned that the hard way...
Right now, my outlines consist of a few main chapters in which major events occur, and even then, I usually deviate from the outline, and often surprise myself by how things turn out.
There is always research involved, although the amount of research will depend on the content of the story.
Minor details such as locations and names always require research. With the names, I usually look for the popular names during a specific year and country (depending on where the character is from).
I absolutely do not believe in writer’s block, but there is such a thing as not being in the right mood to write… There may be times when something as simple as listening to a song will fix that problem. If that is not the case, the best thing you can do is to just step away, take a break and go back to it later.
Advices that should work for everyone:
My main advice is to not worry about the getting published part, until your manuscript is done; otherwise, you will get the focus away from the story and you will drive yourself nuts thinking about whether your story is marketable, word count, etc…
Another advice is to write everyday, even if it is only for a couple of minutes each day. Eventually, you will sit in front of the computer and ideas will just come to you.
Finally, just dive into the story, the characters, and just have fun writing!