So, what if, like me, you’ve never written a book before? But, like me, you think you’d like to. How would you go about it? I took a two-step process. I took a year and read books like I thought I would like to write. I knew I wanted to write a science fiction book, but I also knew I didn’t want it to be about monsters and ghosts and vampires, although you will find references to each of these elements in the book. No, I read mystery and adventure and non-fiction, and well, just about anything that tickled my fancy. I paid attention to how the stories were put together and how the characters came off the page. What made the good guys good and the bad guys bad? And sometimes, it was interesting when the good guys were bad, and so on.
So that was the first part. The second part? I decided that the second part would be to try and avoid mistakes others had made. I developed quite a library card (virtual, of course) with my various checkouts and purchases. Most writers are upfront about what worked for them and what didn’t. And most are more than willing to share those experiences for the price (and a read) of their book. Good deal, when you could potentially avoid weeks or months of work by not doing what they did. Good advice, and almost without exception, worth the wait or the price.
Once I understood the approach that worked for me, I got started. I knew it would take a good long time, as I only had about an hour a day to dedicate to writing. In the end, it took me seven months of writing an hour a day, weekdays only mind you, to finish my manuscript of 100,000+ words. Friends and co-workers were all impressed. I kind of impressed myself. The journey of 1,000 miles begins by eating an elephant. Or something like that. I guess my point being that simple math says if you can write 500 words in an hour, and that’s actually pretty easy, given the habits I picked up from some authors who went before me, you can progress nicely. Math being what it is, you should be at the 100,000-word mark about 200 days in.
Not magic. Just writing.
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