Today is January first, and that means that many of us are bravely declaring our New Year's resolutions. Exercise more. Eat healthier. Write a book—write a book? That may not have been on your list, but I'll assume the persona of Mary Poppins for a moment and agree that writing your first book is a most excellent New Year's resolution indeed. I'm glad you thought of it.
And why shouldn't it be a New Year's resolution? So many of us have thought that one day—one day—we'll put pen to paper and do the thing. Open a document and type, "Chapter 1." Create worlds. Breathe life.
1.) The Idea: The only problem is figuring out how to get to Chapter 1. Odds are, if you've ever thought about writing a book, you already have an idea for a plot. But if you don't? I'll let you in on a little secret: ideas are everywhere! Books, movies and music are some of my favorite sources of inspiration, as are aptly-named writing prompts. But story ideas go so much deeper than that. The rustle of a breeze in the treetops. The cry of a newborn baby. A photograph of a smile from the '20s. Life. Death. That little chill that runs down your spine every so often. Unfulfilled hopes. Dreams come true. The way the steam escapes a mug of coffee on a cold morning. Sunrises, sunsets. The years slowly drifting by. The changes time brings.
2.) Developing Characters: After you've got at least a basic something for your plot, you need characters to carry it out for you. Some writers use a ton of characters, some use a few. At the very least you need a hero and a villain. For your first book, (and this also depends on how complicated your plot is), it's probably better to err on the side of few. I'm not going to give you a list of Five Characters Every Book Needs or The One Character Nobody Writes Correctly, because it's not that simple. Write what your book needs. The characters you like. I'm not saying make everything warm and fuzzy just because as a reader you hate it when characters mess up or... die... but give every character a little piece of yourself. That piece is what gives them life, and makes them real. And naming them? That's covered here.
3.) Writing (Finally): Plot? Check. Characters created and named? Check. Now you're ready to start. Open that document! Type Chapter 1! About five minutes in, you may realize that writing a book is a lot harder than it looks. That's because it is. It isn't easy—it never has been. The important thing is to keep going even when the going gets tough. Too many people quit at this stage. To be a writer you need to find ways to build bridges over the Chasms of Despair (What was I thinking?!), Doubt (This is garbage. I'm kidding myself to think I can write), and Plot Hole (... what do I put here?). If ever you find yourself getting stuck, drown yourself in the things that inspire you. In other words: refer back to #1 as many times as necessary.
Writers write, so as long as you get that first draft down, you've won. You're a writer. I'll say it again—writing a book isn't easy. But what New Year's resolution is?
Welcome to Katelyn Buxton Books! I'm a Christian author and blogger, with a passion for writing stories that are not just enjoyable, but also lead people closer to Jesus. Feel free to look around, and enjoy your stay!