Embrace the challenge of the middle as part of the process. If you have multiple ideas for how your book should end, go for the heart rather than the head, even in nonfiction. My favorite research resources are: Then I switch hats, tell Perfectionist Me to take the rest of the day off, and I start producing rough pages again.
Many of us are perfectionists and find it hard to get a first draft written—fiction or nonfiction—without feeling compelled to make every sentence exactly the way we want it. Avoid hedging verbs like almost frowned, sort of jumped, etc.
Fill your story with conflict and tension. Compartmentalize your writing vs. Reader-first, last, and always.
You have something to say. Write a compelling opener. This chore is about creating. Take the time to make it satisfying. What did you sound like when you did? He or she needs to be told to shut up. Because they can almost immediately envision how much editing would be required to make those first couple of pages publishable.
All Writing Is Rewriting The surest way to please your reader is to please yourself. Your reader craves conflict, and yes, this applies to nonfiction readers as well. Persevere through The Marathon of the Middle. Oh, it can still change if the story dictates that.
Your details and logic and technical and historical details must be right for your novel to be believable. Most who fail at writing a book tell me they give up somewhere in what I like to call The Marathon of the Middle.
Some deep-seeded rift in their relationship has surfaced. Whatever will intrigue him, move him, keep him reading, those are your marching orders. Some like to write their entire first draft before attacking the revision.
Our job when writing that first draft is to get down the story or the message or the teaching—depending on your genre. If it were easy, anyone could do it. Thrust people into conflict with each other. The last thing you want is even a small mistake due to your lack of proper research.
Not you-first, not book-first, not editor- agent- or publisher-first. Write a resounding ending. Are two of your characters talking at the dinner table? Find your writing voice.
In a novel, if everything is going well and everyone is agreeing, your reader will soon lose interest and find something else to do—like watch paint dry. It helps me to view that rough draft as a slab of meat I will carve tomorrow.
Certainly not your inner circle- or critics-first.
You want him to be delighted with the surprise, not tricked. Write what you would want to read and trust there is a broad readership out there that agrees. But settling on a good one will really get you off and running. Readers most remember what moves them. This actually happens to nonfiction writers too.More resources on book proposals.
I offer a comprehensive course on book proposals that takes you through the research and writing process in 10 steps.; Agent Ted Weinstein outlines the necessary parts of a book proposal, and also offers an audio recording of his minute workshop on proposals.; My favorite comprehensive guide.
If you’ve never used some of the items I listed above and can’t imagine needing them, fine. But make a list of everything you know you’ll need so when the actual writing begins, you’re already equipped. As you grow as a writer and actually start making money at it, you can keep upgrading your writing space.Download