Many people dream of writing a book but have no idea where to begin, or how to write a book in the first place. The first step is really the most obvious: you must find your big idea.
When thinking about how to write, and what to write about, first ask yourself some questions. What do I want to write about? What do I feel is important to write about? Who will want to read my book? Will I be able to write it effectively, so the story is told in the best way possible?
If you have never written a book before, these questions may seem daunting, especially the last one. But the best way to answer the question how to write a book, is also the most obvious: research can inspire, teach, and challenge you to find your big idea and execute it to the best of your ability.
What kinds of stories do you like best? What are you most passionate about? Are you drawn to books set in a war, for example, or stories that revolve around romance? Do you prefer nonfiction, and if so, what kind? These are questions to ask yourself and will help how to write a book.
When figuring out how to write a book, the best place to start is to think about those books you’ve already read and loved. What made those books successes? Both in your own mind, and in the market? If you like fantasy, take a look at what kinds of stories are being written now. How has the genre changed in the past 10 years, or 50? What stories are readers gravitating towards?
There are many different ways to tell a story. Some writers prefer to plan ahead and outline extensively, detailing every aspect of their plot and characters. Others prefer to follow where the story takes them, discovering the plot, world, and characters as the words come. Some writers prefer past tense, while others love present; or first person, or third.
You can only discover which kind of writer you are by experimenting with how to write a book yourself.
A central cast of characters, fully developed and three-dimensional, will make your story jump off the page and into readers’ heads and hearts. Take the time to get to know your characters: their main motives, their wants and fears, and their quirks. How will the plot affect them, and vice versa? And what about the environment they live in?
Finally, you know how to write a book. But the real work is to actually to write it.
Start off strong, with an inciting event. Don’t get caught up on minor details; focus on the substance of the plot and steamroll ahead.
Commit to writing a certain amount of words every day, and stick to your plan. You probably have a very busy life, so it’s important to both find and make the time to write, and to give yourself a clean and mindful environment in which to work. You might enjoy writing 500 words on your lunch break, for example, or squeezing in 750 words after you’ve put the kids to bed. Whatever your number and whenever is best for you to write it, don’t let the day end without putting in the work.
Ultimately, only you can discover for yourself how to write a book, because everyone writes differently. But by putting in the work and keeping focused, and with some luck, you’ll achieve what you set out to do: write the best book possible.