This is the second part of my “How to Write a Book” series! If you haven’t read the first part I highly suggest you go back and read it before reading this blog post. In the last blog post we discussed what kind of writers there are. Now that you know what kind of writer you are, you’re ready to start the next steps. (Also, go check out Nadine Brandes’ post on the different types of writers! It’s really good. You can read it here.)
The most important part of the novel writing process is coming up with an idea. Without a good idea, there will be no book! As we all know, it’s not easy figuring out a good book idea so here are a few tips.
Best Seller: If you plan on publishing this book (I don’t know why you wouldn’t, I mean, why else would you write a book??? 😉 ) you must keep in mind what would sell on the New York Times bestseller list. Is your story idea good enough for the book to be on that list? Think original. (I know, easier said than done 😛 ).
Seek God: I cannot emphasize how important this is. God is the one who gave you the gift of writing, and it’s important we remember that and ask Him what He wants us to do with that gift. During every step of this process I highly encourage you to be in constant communion with God about where He wants you to take the story.
Pinterest: Because let’s be honest, this is where we get 99.9999999% of our story ideas. That is where I have gotten all of my short story ideas, and a lot of the inspiration for my book. If you don’t already have a Pinterest, go get one! It’s so helpful when you’re trying to find inspiration (and also very distracting). Here is a link to my writing board on Pinterest.
Now you have an idea!!! Woohoo!!!! DON’T START WRITING YET.
Yes, you read that right. You still can’t start writing. I know, I know, I’m the worst person in the entire world. There are still a couple more steps before you can let your fingers fly across your keyboard (or give the pencil/pen a white-knuckled grip as you scribble words onto paper).
Do Your Research!
No matter what genre you are writing, you need to do research. I write fantasy, and I still need to do research. The goal is to make your story more believable. Just because you write fantasy doesn’t mean you don’t need to do research, it only means you can have dragons and elves in your story. (Which obviously makes it the best genre ever!!!)
This is a broad step so I will break it down by genre, and what you should be focusing on for research.
Fantasy: This genre actually requires more research than you think. Do you want to create a language? If so, that requires A TON of research. I recommend you read The Art of Language Invention by David Peterson, I bought it and am using it to create an elvish language for my book. A big trend in fantasy novels is including a map, and to create a map you need some knowledge on geography. You don’t need to be meteorologist by the time you finish your research, surface knowledge will suffice.
Realistic Fiction: It could be easier or harder to research or this genre. Easier, if you are writing a story in which you know a lot about the things the main character is going through. Harder, if you choose to expand your horizons and write about something you may know nothing about. For example: if your character has diabetes you should do extensive research on what their diet would be, how insulin works, the risks they go through everyday etc. If the setting is in a town you have never been to you should either interview someone who lives there, or do A LOT of research on that town.
Historical Fiction: This is obviously going to take a lot of research. You need to be an expert on the time period you are writing about. A huge part of this is remembering we don’t talk the same now as we did in years past. Make sure you look into what the slang was during that time period, and how they spoke to one another. Believe it or not, this will make a huge difference in the story. Accuracy makes a reader happy. Here is a link to a pin that pretty much sums up how extensive your research should be for historical fiction.
Science Fiction: TECHNOLOGY. ALL THE TECHNOLOGY. Science fiction is heavy on futuristic tech. I would focus on googling new and upcoming gadgets, and building off of them. OR invent your own! Just make sure the logic is sound behind how the tech works. If you are thinking about colonizing Mars, make sure you look into what it would take to do that.
Mystery: This is pretty similar to the realistic fiction genre. The only difference will depend on what the mystery is about. If it’s a murder mystery then you need to do some research on what a typical murder crime scene might look like. I would also look into the general process of solving such a crime. In fact, I would do that for any type of mystery. Otherwise, the mystery genre is going to be very similar to realistic fiction.
I realize I left out the romance and horror genre. I did that because I don’t read these books. I have never read a horror book in my life, and I rarely pick up a romance book. I don’t think it’s right for me to try and explain things about these genres when I am not well read in either (or well written 😉 ).
I want to pause for a moment and say this: God has blessed you with many gifts—writing being one of them—we need to remember that these gifts are meant to be used and guarded. Satan will constantly try to twist the gift God has given you into something for his evil purposes. It’s so important to remember why God gave you this gift.
So, what do you think? These steps may be the hardest part of the writing process. On that note, have fun! 🙂
Thank you for reading this week’s blog post! I hope you are learning a lot from my little blog series. If you have any suggestions, questions, comments, or concerns please contact me or leave a comment below!