Let me guess. You want to start writing your book but seem to be stuck. Stuck over one nagging question. I’ll get to that question in a minute but what if you knew one trick which would get words on paper fast? You’d keep reading right? This is why I’m blogging on Authors Lounge. You guys are serious about writing books!
Let’s assume a few things about your future book. You’ve got solid characters, plot, story structure and most of the good stuff books are made of. No doubt you’ve researched the writing process to death and read more books on how to write books than you’d care to admit. And that leaves you with the number one question which has nagged every single writer: “Now What”?
Now What? How do I start writing? How do I get my characters, dialogue, and plot onto the page? These are all very good questions and I’ve got a tip for you which I bet you’ve never heard before.
About a month ago I became a part time page at my local library. Putting books away and organizing shelves is a great stress reliever. The only things which can be present in my mind are the alphabet and numbers. That’s it. But as I’m going along certain books speak to me. In some way they become mystically attractive and I find myself pulling them off the shelf to check out. That’s what happened recently while I was redoing our Large Print section. Luanne Rice’s “The Letters” jumped out at me. You can read my book review here.
The book begins with a letter written by Sam to his wife Hadley. Each of them are grieving from the loss of their only son in different ways while waiting for their divorce to be final. Sam has travelled to Alaska where his son’s plane went down and Hadley is painting in a secluded cabin off the coast of Maine. The letter writing begins because Sam will have no cell service and he desires to communicate. Because of their distance and circumstances his wife writes back. So goes the entire book which is a back and forth of letters revealing the characters, setting, backstory, thoughts, and intentions.
Reading the book, I was reminded of something. In 2012 I had a friend notice a change in my personality. I became calm, grounded and confident in who I was. She wanted the same type of change and to explain it I wrote her a series of 12 letters. Soon after I wrote those letters they became the basis for my blog site, Letter of Light and a book titled, “The Real You”. At that time, I began every blog post with, “Dear Reader”.
You see, I felt confident writing a letter. I could make the writing style more personal. More conversational. I wasn’t bogged down with writing structure or point of view. I could just write. I wound up writing twenty chapters but then an odd thing happened: we travelled to China to adopt our daughter. My whole life changed with that trip. Kind of like B.C. to A.D. The events leading up to our trip and the trip itself were so vivid in my mind that I felt compelled to write a different book. A book which would encourage people faced with giving up on a dream to keep going. To never give up. So that’s why I shelved “The Real You” and wrote “Light from a Dark Night” instead.
Since letter writing was what I knew, I employed the same skill to get me started on the new book. I began with an outline of chapters I wanted to write. Then I began each chapter with “Dear Reader”, You could also begin by adding the name of a friend or relative if “Dear Reader” seems too impersonal. The key is to think of someone you’d like to write to and picture them in your mind and just start writing. This tip might seem better suited to non-fiction but you could tailor it for fiction as well. Take Luanne Rice and her book “The Letters”. The entire book was written with letters. It’s a quick read because it’s casual, conversational, and personal. Besides. Half the battle is getting something onto that blank page. Once you’ve got something written, the rest will just start to flow.
Remember to weigh in with a comment below. I’d love to hear from you! If you want to read more be sure to head over to Letter of Light where you can find lots of encouragement.
Wishing you all the best, Anne
Anne Grove is Author of “Light from a Dark Night” and blogs for Letter of Light. Anne enjoys her family, writing, and making art videos.