What’s involved in writing a book?
In two words—a lot!
Sometimes writing a book comes from nowhere and you may sit down and just start tapping away. Before you know it, three days have passed, you have forgotten about the outside world, your hands are sore, and you have typed 100 pages. If that’s you; great! You may have typed your first draft.
However, for some, it doesn’t come that naturally or quickly, it may involve a lot more planning and decision making before even writing the first page. The type of text you want to write—fiction or non-fiction—will often determine which route you take.
If you want to write a novel, you might create and develop characters, then start working on the plot, sub-plots, and character arcs. Then you might break this down into major events, and work out exactly what needs to happen at what point. After this, you may feel that you have spent sufficient time intimately learning about your characters and your story plans and you are ready to start writing.
If you are a non-fiction writer and want to write an informative piece about your specialist area, you may start by thinking about what the objective is for your book or what you want your reader to learn. Once you establish your end-point, you can break down your information into logical sequences, and create outlines for what needs to be included in each segment. Then you may need to undertake research and pull together some information. Based on your research you may want to adjust your structure and conduct some more research, or you may be ready to start writing.
“It is better to start somewhere than not start at all."
Once you are happy with draft version one, don’t get attached! It’s about to change. Instead, read it, read it aloud, and if you can, get someone from your target market to read it. Share it with friends, family, other writers, and teachers and ask for their opinion. After this, it’s time to get back to writing. Write another draft (V2), edit to your abilities, then send it to a professional editor for a manuscript assessment. The editor will assess your draft and provide you with actionable feedback. Be prepared for more work, as having a professional editor look over your work is likely to reveal issues you hadn’t yet seen.
Once you have written your next draft (V3), it is time for another edit. This edit is likely to make many changes to the document, which you can accept or reject. Once you have done this (V4), it is usually back to the editor to ensure that the implementing the changes have not introduced further edits. After this edit, it is time for a read through, and a read through aloud. From there you might want to make a few final tweaks (V5), and then it is back to the editor for a final edit. Once you receive the editor’s approval, that everything is right to go, it is time to move to the production process, which is a whole other learning experience!