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Discussion Starter #1
I have been a prolific reader all my life, so I am thinking of exploring the thought that everyone has at least one book in them. I have several ideas, just don't know where to start, any help would be grateful !
 

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Don't do it, unless you're prepared for a load of heartache, frustration and disappointment. If you're prepared for all that, still don't do it if you value your sanity.

If you're going to do it anyway, you start by sitting down and writing a word. Then another. And another... until you have a sentence. Then keep going...

Better still, don't do it.

If you're still going to do it, good luck and welcome to the madhouse!
 

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For me, there's usually one scene that won't leave my head. That's where I start. If I like it, I start writing around it. :)
 

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PJ Goodall said:
I have been a prolific reader all my life, so I am thinking of exploring the thought that everyone has at least one book in them. I have several ideas, just don't know where to start, any help would be grateful !
Welcome, PJ. :)

No particular advice to share other than to sit down and start writing. You'll learn about your own writing process as you go along. In the meantime, KB is a great resource for all the other parts of publishing a book -- the parts like editing, cover design, and marketing that aren't just you alone with your computer in a quiet room.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Is there a need to have specific qualifications or is it more important to have the desire in the first place ?
 

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Fredster said:
For me, there's usually one scene that won't leave my head. That's where I start. If I like it, I start writing around it. :)
I second Fredster's advice.

I had a few false starts until I started writing dialogue between my two MCs. After I finished that scene, everything came naturally.

Welcome, and you've already made a great start by joining the KB family.
 

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PJ Goodall said:
Is there a need to have specific qualifications or is it more important to have the desire in the first place ?
Willing to work ;)

And, willing for the first book to be a learning tool. Sometimes, you get to the end and you learned a ton about writing and yourself. And then you stick it under the bed. Be willing to stick it under the bed and use everything you learned for the thing you want to share.

The hardest thing for some people to do is start.... Just do it. Don't worry too much about everything. "Everything" is what editing is for.

WELCOME TO THE BOARDS ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
So no real need to sign up to one of these creative writing courses and part with a lot of money in the first place ?
 

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PJ Goodall said:
I have been a prolific reader all my life, so I am thinking of exploring the thought that everyone has at least one book in them. I have several ideas, just don't know where to start, any help would be grateful !
Hi PJ,

Welcome! I'm a newbie too, still tinkering with my first book. One thing I did, after reading an interview with Debbie Macomber, who I'd read for years, was to take her advice and go back and re-read some of my favorite books, then make a chapter-by-chapter outline, so I could study the structure of the story and understand how they kept the pages turning. It was very helpful and I started to see patterns from book to book. I also read some great books on writing, such as Stephen King's classic, On Writing as well as Robert McGee's Story. One of my favorites was Blake Snyder's Save The Cat, which looks at the 15 beats you generally find in most movies and that you can keep in mind as you write your book. I found that they closely matched The Hero's Journey, which you may find helpful. Here's a good explanation of The Hero's Journey,

http://www.thewritersjourney.com/hero's_journey.htm

and from NYTimes bestselling author Lisa Gardner's site, (she has lots of good articles and info for writers here), is a great article on plotting a novel that may be helpful, enjoy!

[URL=http://lisagardner.com/wp-gardner/wp-content/themes/lisagardner/downloads/toolbox/plotting]http://lisagardner.com/wp-gardner/wp-content/themes/lisagardner/downloads/toolbox/plotting
.pdf[/url]

Edited to add my own tip: Evidently it's quite common to think your book stinks when you get partway in, for me it's usually around page 100. Took me a long time to understand that the most important thing about writing is to keep going and finish the first draft....and that it will usually seem awful at different points. But, when you finish, you'll see that it's not that awful, at least not all of it, and that you then have something to work with. :)
 

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PJ Goodall said:
So no real need to sign up to one of these creative writing courses and part with a lot of money in the first place ?
PJ, I think that's a personal call. Do you think you need to learn more before you start? Do you think you'd learn better in a class?

Is there a cheaper adult ed evening program around? The one here in Boston has great writing programs. We also have Grub St. There are meet-ups everywhere.

Also, joining a writing group can be really helpful. The RWA chapter I was a member of was. I learned a ton from them. One of the hardest parts of moving was leaving my chapter!

Not to mention the boards here :)

There's tons of ways to work on your writing besides pricey schools. A lot of working on your writing is writing.
 

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Hi PJ!

I'm a newbie too. I just completed my first novel and am in the editing process. I wrote fan fiction before going the original fiction route. What I learned through the process was that I need to outline my stories before I write. I noticed that as I outline I get more ideas on the plot and the characters.

Write a scene, do an outline, whatever you feel most comfortable with. Read lots of books both fiction and nonfiction about how to write, and go for it!    :)
 

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I have a saying that I believe is sage:

While everyone may have a book inside of them, most shouldn't come out unless it's causing stretch marks.

I'm not trying to discourage anyone. If you really have a good book in there, it will demand to come out.

If it's just something you always wanted to do, like a bucket list item, then I would reconsider. As posted by Mr. Kates above, publishing your first work isn't nearly as much fun as most people think. Even those who do so without caring about income or sales can get sucked into the mill.

Okay, I wrote a book, now why don't people like it?
I know why! Nobody likes it because no one is reading it.
How do I get people to read my book?

A cycle of pain, disappointment and self-doubt can follow.
Privately, you don't know how many people have said to me, "I wish I'd never wasted the time on that book."

If the work insists on being born, then more power to ya. The labor pains can be worth it.
You've already accomplished a strong first step by joining this board.
Best of luck to you.
 

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"You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you"...Ray Bradbury.  This is your journey to take.  No one can take it for you and there's no need to ask for anyone's permission to start.  It's you're voice, you're stories to share.  I suspect some will hate what you write. A few may love what you write, most won't care.  But if you don't sit down and start typing, your voice will remain silent.
 

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It's so hard to tell someone HOW it's done.  For me, it started when I sat down at my mom's electric typewriter in the third grade and wrote my first short story.  And for me, I just sort of sit down at my laptop and open the file containing the story and it's just - there.  It's like tapping into some hidden well of ideas.  
 

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PJ Goodall said:
I have been a prolific reader all my life, so I am thinking of exploring the thought that everyone has at least one book in them. I have several ideas, just don't know where to start, any help would be grateful !
How I got started was taking a class at a nearby college. We met once a week for two months and all the students got to know each other and learned to take baby steps together. It was a fantastic experience.

The other thing I did was purchase some "craft" books about writing. There are a zillion craft books, and if you get about 5 that focus on different areas, that should get you started.

There's also one single, secret, magical thing that once you hear it, YOU'LL JUST KNOW. However, I'd have to whisper it in your ear at the end of a movie.
 

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A couple of the replies say that starting is the hardest part. I disagree; starting is easy, finishing is hard, especially if you choose to start with long-form writing (i.e. a novel) and you've never before written anything longer than an interoffice memo.

If you get books about writing (especially writing fiction), make sure they're written by people who actually write fiction. You'd be amazed how many craft books there are out there written by people who do nothing but write about writing. James Scott Bell has a series (Plot & Structure is an excellent, easy-to-chew guide to, yes, plot and structure), and @PamelaKelley already mentioned Save the Cat! and Stephen King's On Writing.

Mentioning plot...if this is your first foray into long-form fiction, definitely sit down and map out your plot. (Alexandra Sokoloff writes a blog (http://thedarksalon.blogspot.com/) that discusses this in great detail.) Attempting to fly blind while you're writing for the first time will guarantee frustration, incoherence and (probably) not finishing. The rigor you need to map out a plot that works will help you make sure you have an actual story to tell, rather than just a notion.

@Caitie Quinn mentioned another very important lesson to learn: your first book will suck. It will suck all kinds of ways. That's okay. Learn what you can from it and move on to your next book. Keep the first one hidden until you can no longer bear to look at it, then recycle the paper or reclaim the file space. Unless you're some kind of rare prodigy, under no circumstances should you attempt to publish your very first novel. Ever.

Once you get far enough through your manuscript that you know you have something to show, find and join a critique group in your area, preferably one in which at least a couple of the members are published. They'll be able to tell you about the problems you don't see.

Read widely and critically in your genre. Learn what works and what doesn't. This also helps you to see whether your idea is overused (such as high-school vampires).

This is a long journey. Prepare well. Good luck.
 
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