Tips for Writing a Book: Part I

What’s the best tip for writing a book? Write a good one. That’s both harder and easier than it seems.

With all the tools and resources of the internet, anyone can publish a book for little or no cost. Many authors who were thwarted in their quest to publish when they couldn’t interest a publisher in their work can now self-publish.

However, this freedom comes with a price. The problem is that many of these authors had difficulty finding publishers for a reason: they just don’t write well enough. They often have come up with great stories: the problem lies in how they are written.

This doesn’t mean that they should give up. What it means is that more attention needs to be given to learning how to write well. Today I’ll talk about general ways to learn to write, and tomorrow I’ll give some specific ways to improve your writing.

The first thing for an aspiring writer to do is read. Find books in your genre and read them critically. Look for compelling use of words. Make note of sentences that build suspense. Think about how the book is structured. Ask yourself why you enjoyed the book, what kept your interest—and what doesn’t. Spend some time reading poetry, and discover how great poets use language to create vivid word pictures. Most good writers are also readers.

Take some classes. If you have the time and can afford it, classes at a university or the local community college are a great option. You’ll be able to get feedback from the instructor and other students. If this won’t work for you, there are online or home study courses available as well.

You can also read books on writing. The best one that I read was Jump Start Your Publishing Dreams. This book did an excellent job explaining how a novice writer can get started on a writing career. What sets Jump Start apart from many other writing books is that at the end of each chapter it suggests other books to read. Many are excellent resources for someone wanting to learn to write well. Jump Start also covers much of what you’ll need to know about writing for magazines as well as book marketing, getting published and much more.

Another way to improve your writing is to join a writers’ group. These groups provide great networking opportunities and within one of these, you might find a critique groups. These are generally small groups where the members share their writing and offer feedback to each other.

Invest the time and money to attend a writers’ conference. The seminars and workshops will provide great educational opportunities. Beyond that, you’ll have the chance for some networking.

Those are some general ways to improve your writing. Tomorrow I’ll cover some specifics.

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