Today’s guest post is written by Olga Gibbs, author of Heavenward.
You want to write a book but don’t know where to start?
Best way to start is at the basics, to start from premise. So let’s start with an idea. You must have an idea, right?
If you’ve decided that you want to write a book it’s more likely because you have something to say. Maybe there is a story inside you that’s waiting to come out and you need to share it with the world. Maybe you want to share your personal experience or maybe there are some wrongs in the world and you want to make them right, make your voice heard. Or maybe it just a book you’ve read a week ago and you are so cheesed off with the ending, that you’re determined to re-write it. But whatever it might be I’d suspect you must have an idea.
Although speaking of idea, once, I had a strangest conversation with a writer, who said to me: “I have these two characters, kick-ass sisters, A grade students by day, assassins by night, what should I do with them?”
He didn’t get anything from me apart from a blank stare. I would never be able to answer that question. It’s a similar to a complete stranger asking me what he should have for dinner. “Well, you tell me. Do you like burger or pizza? Or maybe you prefer oysters? How am I supposed to know?”
So no matter if you’re writing a character-based novel or a plot-based novel, before you set off you need to have an idea on what you want to do with your characters, i.e. you need to have a plan. As much as characters in whom we could invest, are very important, they are nothing without a journey.
And at the beginning of your writing journey, it doesn’t have to be a fully-fledged idea – for starters it can be as basic as “a girl loved a boy, but he didn’t love her back” – bam!
I know, I know. Not very impressive and basic, but it’s a very solid foundation to build on.
On this premise we can expand. We’ll put our character through their paces, we’ll make their life a living hell. We’ll make them suffer, we’ll make readers love them and hate them, laugh with them and at them. But it will come next. For now, basic idea is all that matters.
It’s like building a house – you need a plan.
And don’t worry if your plan isn’t perfect or detailed, or complete, or if it has wide gaping holes in the middle, like a Swiss cheese. To start writing, sometimes even a clear starting point and defined finishing line could be enough.
Between you and me: I’ll bet that even your solid, marble-carved plan will change at least once over the time of your writing.
And be prepared to lose the word count along the way. And I’m not going to lie – it will hurt. The words on the page will become your children: your flesh and blood, delivered from the depth of your heart and to lose even one of them would feel like a murder. But when you finally reach the end of your story, a dreaded EDIT will come at you like a Pennywise and to appease him will be the only way to get through it.
Before edit, “Heavenward” was over 100,000 words, but only 78,000 of these little angels made through the finishing line and were published. But that will happen later and for now you’d just need a story.
If your novel is character-based, make sure you put your character(s) through an emotional turmoil and make sure to show it. Your character will have to grow and develop, turning from a naïve girl of the first page into a shrewd woman on the last. Where if you’re writing a plot-based novel, the more trouble you throw at your character, the better. They shouldn’t have a peaceful minute – throw your character in as much doo-doo as you can and then sit back, relax and watch them swim.
And for now just start with a rough plan and start writing. Good luck!
Thank you so much Olga for the fantastic post!
Olga has also informed me that her book Heavenward is getting a new cover September 15th, so keep an eye out for that!
Also, the winner of the signed paperback copy of Heavenward is Kris Marie from Boston Book Blogger!
Until next time,