We hope that the following blog entries will explain and simplify the process of turning your words into actual books. We'd love to hear from you, either with comments, or with suggestions for future blog posts. We're here to help!
Everyone’s writing process is different, but having some sort of structure allows for accountability, and ultimately effective, productive writing. Here are some writing habits to help get you on track!
Take notes and plan:
Sometimes inspiration strikes when you least expect it, so always have a pen and paper handy or make a note in your phone so you don’t lose your ideas. If you need some help with organization or haven’t fully worked out certain parts of your book, outlines are a great way to categorize characters and plot points or organize paragraphs. Referring to these outlines will prevent you from getting stuck when you go to sit down and write.
Have a schedule:
schedule blocks of time reserved for writing. This is especially important if writing is not your full-time job. Everyone has outside responsibilities that can encroach on your writing. By sticking to a schedule, you will always have that time reserved exclusively for writing.
Set writing goals:
When you are starting a new project, have a game plan to meet certain goals in your progress. Have a number of pages or chapters in mind for the day, week, or month, etc. This will help prioritize your writing schedule and give you accountability for staying on top of your book. Even if you don’t always meet these benchmarks, you will at least have a clearer idea of where you’re at in your progress. Shorter deadlines and goals may be more encouraging and effective than long-term ones, simply because you don’t have to wait to feel a larger sense of accomplishment in your progress. If this feels stressful to you, when you sit down to write, have a goal in mind for that session then go from there.
Read, read, read:
Reading exposes us to different stories, points of view, writing styles, vocabulary, genres, and more. You are writing something that others are going to consciously choose to read, so why would you not take the time to read avidly yourself? Reading can help inspire new ideas and allow for better self-critique of our own writing.
Consider your audience:
Always keep your audience in mind while you’re writing and consider their needs and interests.Does something seem muddy? Read your writing from the reader’s perspective and question how you can be clearer and more concise.
Revise and rewrite:
Don’t feel a sense of urgency to polish your writing as you go. If you find yourself fussing over the same three paragraphs for a long time, make a note and revisit it later. First drafts are all about getting the story down before tackling the small details
(And their film adaptations!)
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Legend has it that in the summer of 1816 in Geneva, 18-year-old Shelley wrote Frankenstein in response to a competition to write the best ghost story, prompted by Lord Byron, in which she won. Frankenstein tells the story of Victor Frankenstein, a scientist who develops a technique to give life to non-living matter. Frankenstein begins building a human, only to be terrified by his hideous creation when it comes to life. The story switches narratives between Frankenstein and his creature, forming interesting parallels between human nature, monstrosity, and alienation. Shelley makes you ponder, “who is the monster?”
Shelley’s masterpiece has inspired many film versions over the years. You can rent the 1931 film adaptation on Amazon Prime!
The Shining by Stephen King
Categorized as a horror novel, The Shining was published in 1977 and was King’s first hardback bestseller. The story tells of aspiring writer Jack Torrance and his family while they act as caretakers of Overlook Hotel in its offseason. Jack’s son Danny begins to have visions of the hotel’s eerie past. The haunted hotel begins to drive Jack mad while they are snowed in, leading to horrific events.
The critically acclaimed film adaptation starring Jack Nicholson is available to rent on Amazon Prime!
Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin
This horror novel was released in 1967 and was quickly followed by a film adaptation in 1968, starring Mia Farrow. The book centers on Rosemary Woodhouse and her husband, Guy. They move into an old New York City apartment. The couple is warned of the apartment building’s history of witchcraft and murder, but they ignore the folklore. Rosemary becomes pregnant, much to the interest of her meddlesome neighbors. She later discovers they are part of a satanic cult and fears for her baby’s life. The successful release of Rosemary’s Baby led to a ‘horror boom,’ popularizing the genre.
Rosemary’s Baby is available to stream on Hulu!
The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty
Following the ‘horror boom’ of the sixties, The Exorcist was published in 1971. The book is based on true events of a young boy who was believed to be possessed by the devil and had an exorcism performed on him by a priest in 1949. Blatty’s novel follows Regan McNeil, the daughter of a famous actress, as two priests attempt to exorcise her of demonic spirits. The successful film adaptation followed 2 years later, with Blatty as a screenplay contributor.
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
This haunted house classic is considered to be one of the best literary ghost stories published in the 20th century and has been adapted for TV and film over the years, most recently as a series on Netflix. The book chronicles an eccentric group of guests staying in Hill House, a mansion known for its violent, deadly past. The guests were invited by a scientist looking for supernatural evidence that the mansion is indeed haunted. As the novel progresses, the guests witness strange and disturbing events.
TITLE OF BOOK: Abet, Abide or Avenge
QUICK SUMMARY: An easy read book that chronicles a precarious predicament fueled by the spirit of jealousy that nearly ended my life. This story was hidden in my heart until I found the courage to vocalize it as writing became my comfort. It is a compelling and engaging story that contains drama, mystery, scandal and suspense.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: After my retirement as an Office Manager, I started writing as a hobby. Deciding to preserve my family history, I wrote and published my first book, “The Bright Side of Darkness”. I wrote my second book “Abet, Abide or Avenge” to face my distorted past.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO WRITE: Writing allowed me to release the heavy load of hurt, pain and shame I carried deep in my heart for years. Through my journey, my hope has been to empower, encourage and inspire others.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WRITING? I attempted to write my first book in 2013, subsequently I am working on my third book.
HOW OFTEN DO YOU WRITE? Not often. In 2015 I published my first book; while working on the first book I was inspired to write two additional books. To my surprise, I am writing a trilogy.
WHAT, ACCORDING TO YOU IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT WRITING? My ideas often come in the middle of the night or times when I am focused on something else. If I don’t write down my thoughts, I lose them. Also, writing requires several rewrites until it sounds right.
DESCRIBE YOUR WRITING PROCESS? DO YOU HAVE A ROUTINE? I often have to find time to focus on writing and other times ideas come when I least expect it. Writing allows me to mentally enter into another realm and see things from a different perspective.
DO YOU READ MUCH, AND IF SO, WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE AUTHORS? I love to read fiction or non-fiction books such as inspirational, memoirs, romance, mystery and theological books which include several different authors.
WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING ABOUT A BOOK IN YOUR OPINION? A book should be an easy read that captures the reader’s attention and heart, written so descriptively that the reader can visualize the details in their mind.
ANY ADVICE YOU WOULD LIKE TO GIVE TO ASPIRING WRITERS OR AUTHORS LOOKING TO SELF-PUBLISH? Self-publication requires a lot of work but allows writers to develop and publish their own styles of writing. Write on a subject or theme that you are passionate about.
WHAT IS THE MOST REWARDING THING ABOUT PRINTING YOUR BOOK? Discovering my gift of writing and seeing it published is awesome. Having no voice to express my hurt and pain, writing was therapeutic and purifying. Also, I am amazed to hear others positive feedback.