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Organizing Your Book

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Easy steps to begin the writing process.


Create a brief outline, in chronological order, of the storyline of your book.

Using index cards and a pencil, write a chapter number at the top of each card. Then lay the cards out on a table or on the floor around you. Using your outline, break your book down into chapters. This means writing just a sentence or two on each card about what you think will happen in each chapter.

When you have broken your outline into book chapters, go back over the cards to see if you want to move any items from one card to another. Or you might want to re-number the chapters (that's why you are using a pencil).
Next, put the index cards beside your computer and start writing your book by typing in the events you have noted on the cards, keeping them in the correct order. Almost immediately, you will find yourself adding to, subtracting from and/or totally changing many things. You will even begin to hear your characters speak.
In order NOT to interrupt the creative flow, just keep typing. If you stop to check spelling, punctuation, grammar, etc., you could lose something valuable that you may never recover. The ONLY thing that matters here is the creative process. You can always go back later and move or change anything you want to--that's the beauty of using a computer!
Don't fight changes. For example, your characters will take on lives of their own. You may not always agree, but at this point, you are no longer totally in control. Deal with it.
Obviously, you will have to stop at some point in time. When you start writing again, just go back a chapter or so and read what you have already written, in order to kick-start the flow. It's an old trick, used by most writers, and it works. Please resist the urge to "clean up" any errors that you see! And be sure to keep your work backed up as you go along.
When you have finished the first draft of your book, you have two choices: read it on the screen or print it out. This will depend on the method with which you are most comfortable. I prefer to edit hard copy, and I use a pencil, so I never permanently delete something I might later wish I hadn't.

Editing in pencil also allows me to erase corrections about which I might later change my mind. This makes the hard copy a lot less cluttered and much easier to follow when I return to my computer to input the changes I decide to keep. And that's it.


See? It's all quite simple. So get started on your book today!



Derry Sampey is the senior editor for CertaPublishing.com

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