Thrust people into conflict with each other. Check out some of the current bestselling nonfiction works to see how writers accomplish this. Tension is the secret sauce that will propel your reader through to the end. Many of us are perfectionists and find it hard to get a first draft written—fiction or nonfiction—without feeling compelled to make every sentence exactly the way we want it. Deep as I am into a long career, I still have to remind myself of this every writing day. I cannot be both creator and editor at the same time.
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That slows me to a crawl, and my first draft of even one brief chapter could take days. Our job when writing that first draft is to get down the story or the message or the teaching—depending on your genre. Imagine yourself wearing different hats for different tasks , if that helps—whatever works to keep you rolling on that rough draft.
This chore is about creating. Some like to write their entire first draft before attacking the revision. As I say, whatever works. I alternate creating and revising. The first thing I do every morning is a heavy edit and rewrite of whatever I wrote the day before. Then I switch hats, tell Perfectionist Me to take the rest of the day off, and I start producing rough pages again. Compartmentalize your writing vs. Most who fail at writing a book tell me they give up somewhere in what I like to call The Marathon of the Middle. The solution there is in the outlining stage , being sure your middle points and chapters are every bit as valuable and magnetic as the first and last.
If you strategize the progression of your points or steps in a process—depending on nonfiction genre—you should be able to eliminate the strain in the middle chapters. For novelists, know that every book becomes a challenge a few chapters in. Force yourself back to your structure, come up with a subplot if necessary, but do whatever you need to so your reader stays engaged.
Fiction writer or nonfiction author, The Marathon of the Middle is when you must remember why you started this journey in the first place. You have something to say. You want to reach the masses with your message.
It still is for me—every time. Embrace the challenge of the middle as part of the process. If it were easy, anyone could do it.
This is just as important for your nonfiction book as your novel. But even a how-to or self-help book needs to close with a resounding thud , the way a Broadway theater curtain meets the floor. Agents and editors can tell within the first two pages whether your manuscript is worthy of further consideration. That sounds unfair, and maybe it is. Because they can almost immediately envision how much editing would be required to make those first couple of pages publishable. For my full list and how to use them, click here. Imagine engaging a mentor who can help you sidestep all the amateur pitfalls and shave years of painful trial-and-error off your learning curve.
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Many masquerade as mentors and coaches but have never really succeeded themselves. Look for someone widely-published who knows how to work with agents, editors, and publishers. There are many helpful mentors online. I teach writers through this free site, as well as in my members-only Writers Guild. Want to save this definitive guide to read later?
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Click here or below to download a handy PDF version:. Struggling with knowing how to write a book? Tell me in the comments and feel free to ask questions. Before you go, be sure to grab my FREE guide:. Just tell me where to send it:. Share 2K. Pin 2K. Share My goal here is to offer you that plan. Assemble your writing tools. Break the project into small pieces. Settle on your BIG idea. Construct your outline.
Set a firm writing schedule. Establish a sacred deadline. Embrace procrastination really!
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Eliminate distractions. Conduct your research. Start calling yourself a writer. To make navigating this post super easy, you can jump right to any book that sparks your interest from the table of contents below. Summary: A young shepherd boy in Southern Spain has the same dream about a hidden treasure in Egypt, over and over again, which eventually leads him to investigate it.
He learns that one day, everyone finds out what their destiny is and that it requires passion and desire to make your destiny become a reality. Along the journey to find the treasure he meets new and strange people, some of which become his friends and touch his heart. Yet, the book uses such plain language, that anyone can understand it. I remember finishing it in very few sittings, over the course of which I started going to bed at 9 pm even though I was studying abroad in the US at the time, with 5 party animals as roommates , waking up at 5, watching the sunset, walking around in the nearby forest a lot, and beginning to think about what I really want out of life.
A lot. Curious fact: J.
Rowling changed her mind about the title — twice. With luck, friends, bravery and skill he perseveres until the end, only to find he finally has to take responsibility not only for who he is, but also for the entire wizarding world. That said, the reason this book stands out to me among the series, is that it lets Harry go through a pivotal transformation.
In the first three books, he sort of stumbles into things, and, by looking out for himself, somehow ends up saving the day.
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This is a crucial part of seeing him succeed in all the tournament challenges, which, by the way, are much tougher than all of the things he faced in the three previous books combined. This is a book about the things in life worth fighting for , not only because Harry finds love for the first time, but also because things become deadly serious. The series has sold 80 million copies — just as many as the Pippi Longstocking books. Summary: Pippi Longstocking is an estimated 9 years old though no one knows for sure , has superhuman strength, and lives in a rainbow-colored house with her monkey, Mr.
Nilsson, and her horse Old Man. She never ceases to shock adults, but is living proof that you can make the world what you want it to be, without fitting any template the world would call normal. This is a Swedish book and much more widely known in Europe than overseas, so you might never have heard of Pippi and her stories. I especially loved the TV movies and series version as a kid, because it made me believe that anything is possible.