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how to write a book

The #1 Tool For an Authentic Setting

The #1 Tool For an Authentic Setting

I've written two books and am in the very early stages on my third book. One thing these books have in common is that they contain places I have never been or haven't visited during the time of year I'm writing about.  

This creates a special set of issues for writers when writing fiction. Chances are that your book will be read by someone who lives in the town or country you've tried to describe. You must add enough detail, from street names to description of the architecture to the feel of the town for the effect to be authentic.  

I am a big proponent of writing about what you don't know. After all we have fantasy writers and historical fiction writers who (usually) haven't been to the time or place they are writing about. 

The single best tool that any writer can use to give detail and authentication to their setting is Google Earth. What's great about Google Earth is that you can type in a specific address and get a 360 degree view of the surrounding area.  

For The Clouds Aren't White I picked out a house on the Isle of Skye so that I could describe the same view out the kitchen window. I've used it for Lives Paris Took to orient myself around Paris and figure out the distance from the Sorbonne to the main character's apartment.  

I suggest downloading Google Earth and trying it out. Look up your house or hometown, figure out what is different. Then look somewhere you've never been and always wanted to visit. After you've puttered around for a while, write a description of it.  

Hope this helps!

Cheers, 

Rachael

The Quick Way to Write a Book

The Quick Way to Write a Book

Yes you read that correctly. Because there are obviously 'non-quick' ways to write a book. One of the best ways to drag out the writing process is to let the book go cold. Think of this like a kidnapping, the first twenty-four hours of a kidnapping are crucial. Or in the case of the novel you're trying to write, the first 12 months are key. 

Let's get down to it. You want to write a book. You even have an idea. Let's walk through it.

Month 1: Plan, plan, plan. This applies to you whether you're a outliner or not. Try to plan out the ending. You make the writing go by much quicker if you know where its all going.

Month 2: Write, write, write. One of the best ways to get a running start with your novel is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWrMo. The goal is to write 50,000 words during the month of November. Not everyone can plan this out so November falls when they are ready to write. But consider doing it. The camaraderie is beyond compare. Suddenly, 1,667 words per day doesn't seem so great. Please don't worry if the whole draft feels like word vomit. 

Month 3: Keep Writing. The entire book won't get finished in one month. Trust me. Finish up. If you finish early, take some time off.

Month 4: Breathe. This may seem counterintuitive to being "quick." But it is essential to recenter yourself on the story. Taking a step back helps you write better.

Month 5: Revise. Large scale edits at this point. Bottom of the pyramid, narration and character development. Make sure your first chapter reflects your last chapter. Make the story come full circle.

Month 6:  Revise plot and story structure. This is one of the most important parts, I feel, of the revision process. Play close attention to plot holes and overblown metaphors, don't let anything detract from your story.

Month 7-8: Send to beta-readers. Find people who are not your friends or family, hopefully other writers that can offer you sincere feedback on your novel.

Month 9: Implement beta readers edits.

Month 10: Edit, edit, edit. Think the top of the pyramid. Grammar, punctuation, spelling. Work hard on this. Polish to a T. If necessary, hire a professional editor.

Month 11-12: Work on query letters. Send to agents. 

Look there it is! The Quick Way to Write a Book. One thing to remember is that 'quick' is relative. You cannot rush the process unless you are an author with a large team behind them, working on edits, building your online platform, etc. Relax in the everyday work.