Monday, October 7, 2013
What's the Best Way to Write a Book?
When I'm asked what the best way to write a book, my immediate answer is: There is no best way. Writers use a variety of techniques, and you'll want to find the method that works for you. Some authors outline their books before they write. They know how the story will progress and how it ends. Other authors begin with an idea and write in chronological order, making changes as they go. When I was asked how long it too me to write my first book, "Don't Be Give Up," I said, "Thirty years." I was teaching full time and could only write during the summers or vacations. Since this story was about my life during World War II when I was five, I wrote as I remembered events. The process was similiar to making a quilt. Cutting out the squares and then sewing them together. Bits and pieces came together. I phoned my uncles who fought in the war and had wonderful conversations with them. I didn't realize all of the medals and commendations they had received. Since my uncles are dead now, I treasure those conversations which I never would have had if I hadn't written the book. I thought When a friend thought I had written a children's book because of the point of view, I wrote about significant historial events from the point of view of an adult at the beginning of several chapters. Writing my second book, "School Success: 500 Ways Busy Parents Can Help Their Children Succeed in School," was developed in a more methodical way. The original title was 25 ways. I'd read books for parents to help with their children's education but they were very dense with information. Few parents were going to wade through a lot of words to find the ideas they wanted, so I labeled and nunbered each concept and then explained it. This way parents could skim the book quickly to find the techniques they were looking for. As I wrote, I kept the word "busy" in my mind. At the end of the book was a reference section, a phonics program, a list of spelling words, multiplication tables and division facts. Although I wrote both "Don't Be Give Up," and "School Success," I used different techniques. Don't feel that you have to use anyone else's methods of writing. The best technique is the one you have onfidence in and one that results in a finished book.