as mentioned in last week's post--as well as planning your book's details.
I didn't start planning my book's details until recently, but I have found that doing this has saved a lot of time for when I do begin to write my book. Once you plan the details, writing will then come naturally, because you will have a general idea of what your book is about.
It is important that you know what genre your book will fall under before you begin to write. If you aren’t sure which genre it belongs to, do your research. Here is a list of several varieties of fiction genres you can choose from. You should also read several books in the genre that you want to write in and be aware of what publishers are currently looking for. Also, be careful to only write within the word count of your genre. Here is a very helpful list of how long a book should be in certain genres.
Write down the answers to these questions:
- How do you want your readers to feel when they close your book?
- Is there a message you want your readers to take away from the story?
- Is there a strong symbolism you could incorporate to enhance this theme?
Be specific about the audience of your book. Even if you are writing for the YA market, your audience should be more specific than just “teens”. Your audience will consist of the majority of readers who will enjoy your book—their age, as well as their hobbies.
For example: If you are writing a YA contemporary romance novel, then it will probably appeal mostly to girls who are between 16 – 18 years old who are interested in relationships and dating. Not only will establishing your audience help as you begin to write, but you will also be prepared to pitch to agents, and even promote your book when the time comes.
I always have to have a title in mind before I begin writing a first draft. It’s easy to lose your way when you start to write. If you have a title in mind, then you have a general guideline to follow--an idea of what the story should consist of. You could even envision the cover of your book, which always makes it easier to visualize your book.
No, the title you have in mind may not be the one that will be on the printed book. Publishers can always change it, or you may even end up changing your mind once you begin writing. However, I still recommend that you come up with a title while brainstorming the story.
This one is a little more difficult to establish. Okay, it’s actually very difficult to write, most of the time. However, it’s always going to be easier to come up with a tagline before the first draft has been written rather than afterwards.
What is a tagline, you ask? A tagline is usually 1 – 2 sentences that captures the essence of a story. It’s the sentence you will use when you pitch to agents and editors. If you fail to come up with an intriguing tagline, it is not likely that an agent will be interested in hearing about your story. The tagline is your book’s first impression. And just like the title, it can serve as a guideline when you begin to write your book. It should not exceed about 15 words.
The premise is longer than a tagline, but shorter than the back cover copy. In a proposal, the premise usually goes directly underneath the book’s tagline. This will include the conflict of your story, as well as introduce the protagonist. The premise should not exceed about 70 words.
→ Comparable Books
This is also a section that is included in proposals to agents and editors. Listing books that are comparable to yours (similar setting, characters, plot elements, etc.) helps agents/editors have an idea of where your book will fall in the market. If you have 3 books in mind that you could put in this category before you start writing, then you can be confident that your book will appeal to a certain audience.
→ Staying Organized
When brainstorming a new story idea, I often become a little to carried away. This results in a document (or notebook pages) full of random ideas for the story. And often, it can get a little stressful when I look back at my brainstorming pages. I sometimes have no idea where to begin.
This is why I suggest to stay organized as you brainstorm. Yes, it’s okay to make a mess at first, when the ideas are flowing and you don’t have time to “clean as you go”. But once you have chosen your idea and planned the story, it is time to start cleaning the mess.
At this point, I create a new folder on my laptop and new files to go in that folder. The files are titled: Characters, Scene Pieces, Book Details, Setting & Research, Deleted Scenes, Timeline, Playlist, and Plot Threads. Then, I go through my “mess” and begin to copy and paste phrases under the file of which they belong. If I wrote a few scenes or lines of dialogue as they came to me while I was brainstorming, it will go under “Scene Pieces”; if I wrote down a few songs, it will go under “Playlist”, and so on. The “Book Details” file will contain the premise, tagline, genre, etc.
Be sure to come back next week for Preparing to Write Part 3: How to Outline Your Story!
✎ Are you a planner or a panster? Do you write your book's details before or after your book is complete?
- "Planning your book's details beforehand will help steer you in the right direction when you write. " via @tessaemilyhall http://bit.ly/1ixg08H Click to Tweet!
- Preparing to Write Part 2: How to Plan Your Story by @tessaemilyhall http://bit.ly/1ixg08H Click to Tweet!
- How do you plan your novel? YA Author @tessaemilyhall shares her tips at http://bit.ly/1ixg08H #yalitchat Click to Tweet!
Are you hoping to become an author one day, but have no idea where to begin? If so, check out my new Writing Mentoring Program for Beginners! In this program, you will:
- Receive critiques on your writing
- Receive lessons especially designed to fit your writing needs
- Have the opportunity to receive feedback on your current novel
- Set reasonable goals for your writing
- Be personally mentored step-by-step through your writing journey, for however long you wish!
- And more!
And for a limited time only, a one-month subscription is only $15! Click here for details. =)