It can feel intimidating when you know you want to write a book, but have no ideas on how to go about it. Or how to go about it right. I'll tell you there is no perfect answer or perfect formula. Most writers write a little differently, which is why it's creative, its art, not science.
There is a lot of information out there about where you are supposed to begin. That can even feel confusing with so many different kinds of advice So take mine or leave mine. If it works for you wonderful if it isn't right then that is totally okay.
So, what do you do first? It is something any newbie has to wonder. For me getting started is very simple.
Step 1 to writing a book: Write down what you know already
Pull out a pen and paper and jot down everything you know. It can be organized and neat. It can be bullet-pointed. It can be a half-hazard mess. I can be scribbled in marker, pen or crayon. It can be a mind map. It can be on post it notes, 3 by 5 cards, in a notebook, on a word document or even on your notes app on your phone. But before you can build your book you have to have an idea of the pieces are already on the table. Sometimes as you write even more of you idea will form and you'll write more than you think.
It doesn't matter if you are a plotter, a discovery writer, a nice combo of the two. Just seeing what you already have to work with will help you see what you still need. It will help you know what blanks you need to fill in and if you like to write outlines it will help you get a nice outline written up because most of the info should already be scribbled down in some way.
If you are a discovery writer, just seeing what you already know can fuel the creative fire you already have inside. One way or another I have found that writing down what I know as STEP #1 has helped me out a lot and gotten me ready for step 2. Which I won't lie is different for everyone, and sometimes different for every book.
Thanks for reading and happy writing!!
For more tips and fun writing things, check out my instagram at @rockingyourwriting.
Word counts are huge. They matter a lot. I know a lot of us just want to write what we want to write and how ever long it take is however long it takes, and sometimes that is fine. But we can't advertise a novel when it is only 25,000 words long. Or call an 80,000 word book a Novella. It is good to know these terms so we not only can talk about our work correctly, but so that we can also follow general guidelines when getting ready to submit our work. Or if you are self publishing its helps to know the general word counts your audience is expecting too.
So what is the story with word counts anyway? Here is a brief rundown of what you need to know.
Lets give you a list that you can work with when thinking about the length of your story:
I will tell you that if you google this these numbers do shift around so this is just to give you a basic idea. These are general ranges, that will change depending on your genre, for example if you write fantasy you usually are at the top of the range because you need room for world building. Yes there are always exceptions to the rule. I am sure you can think of books that are published that go outside of the norm for the word count requirements but if you are trying to get published it is always a good idea to start inside the rules first.
It also depends on the contest you are entering and the requirements of a publisher. For example you might see the average range for a middle grade book is 20,000 to 50,000 but the publisher you are looking at only wants books above 40,000 words if you submit one at 20,000 words that is a red flag for them. Check if they have word count requirements.
ALWAYS look at the word count requirements for the contest you are entering or the usual word counts that the publisher you are looking at as as well as everything else that they require. You don't want to miss out on an opportunity just because you didn't have the correct word count.
Anyway I hope that quick rundown helps you out!
*word counts were googled and gathered from various locations
Writers need other writers. We really do. For a long time I thought being a writer meant I had to be alone. But that isn't true. We need writer friends who understand how our brain works and how much our stories matter. Only other writers really get that. We need friends who will cheer for us, help us grow, give us feedback, and understand what it's like on this writing journey. I love my wiring friends who help me improve my books and who I can share this journey with. Reach out and find good writing friends and remember writing is not something you have to do all by yourself. It is better with others.
Find writing friends: Online, on social media, at writing conferences, in beta groups, in critique groups, etc. It might take some time to find the right ones but keep searching till you find writing friends that raise you up!