By Kathleen Boucher
You‘ve finally decided to write the book that you have put on the back burner for years! Wonderful!
Here are a few tips to help you get started.
- Develop your idea.
In the book, The Idea: The 7 Elements of a Viable Story for Screen, Stage or Fiction¹, Eric Bork says that one of the biggest mistakes that writers make is that they do not take the time to develop their idea before they start writing.
Here are some notes I took after listening to his audio book on Google Play. Your idea will be so much stronger if you incorporate all of these elements.
- Whose story is it (meaning who is the protagonist) and why should the reader identify with them?
- What do they want in their life, their circumstances and relationships?
- What is in the way of them achieving that?
- What are they doing to try to resolve this? What makes it so hard?
- Why should it matter deeply to them and hopefully to us the reader?
Eric Bork says that 60% of the time should be devoted to the development of the idea, 30% should be in the structure of the story and 10% should be in the writing.
2. Write a fabulous premise. Include these 3 points.(Notes taken from The Idea by Eric Bork)
a) Who is the character?
b) What is the catalyst that launches the story and the nature of the mission?
c) What is the huge difficulty and importance of accomplishing the mission?
Not sure what a premise is?
- A premise is your story condensed in one sentence.
- This is what editors look at to decide if they want to read your manuscript.
- Write your premise before you start writing your book. It is not that easy to do. However, if you take the time to get it right you’ll have laser focus on the story line.
Here are some examples. These examples are taken from page 17, Chapter 2, The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller² by John Truby.
- The Godfather: The youngest son of a Mafia family takes revenge on the men who shot his father and becomes the new Godfather.
- Moonstruck: While her fiancé visits his mother in Italy, a woman falls in love with the man’s brother.
- Star Wars: When a princess falls in mortal danger, a young man uses his skills as a fighter to save her life and defeat the evil forces of a galactic empire.
3. Study what makes a good story.
- Invest the time in learning what makes a good story.
- John Truby believes that good storytelling can be taught. I recommend reading John Truby presents The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller². It is a book you can use whether you are writing a short story, a novel, or a screen play.
- Outline the structure and elements of your story before you put pen to paper. It is like having a road map to a destination that you can’t wait to arrive at. It makes it so much easier to navigate.
4. Write to captivate your audience so that they won’t want to put your book down.
- Read Wired for Story ³ by Lisa Cron. It teaches you how the brain is bewitched by a certain way of writing. It is available in audiobook on Google Play.
- Another book I like is Hypnotic Writing ⁴ by Joe Vitale. Imagine using words that captivate your reader to keep reading your book! Wonderful! It is also available in audiobook on Google Play.
Links to books I recommend:
- Bork, Eric, The Idea: The 7 Elements of a Viable Story for Screen Play Stage or Fiction, https://www.amazon.com/Idea-Elements-Viable-Screen-Fiction-ebook/dp/B07H3DDND3
- Truby, John, John Truby presents : The Anatomy of Story-22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller, https://www.amazon.com/Anatomy-Story-Becoming-Master-Storyteller-ebook/dp/B0052Z3M8A/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3IML64P1L6FT0&dchild=1&keywords=john+truby+the+anatomy+of+story&qid=1610890798&s=digital-text&sprefix=john+truby%2Cdigital-text%2C202&sr=1-1
- Cron, Lisa, Wired for Story, https://www.amazon.com/Wired-Story-Writers-Science-Sentence-ebook/dp/B005X0JTGI/ref=sr_1_1?crid=15MAKMHM4KAF&dchild=1&keywords=wired+for+story+by+lisa+cron&qid=1610890882&s=digital-text&sprefix=Lisa+Cron%2C+%2Cdigital-text%2C220&sr=1-1
- Vitale, Joe, Hypnotic Writing, https://www.amazon.com/Hypnotic-Writing-Seduce-Persuade-Customersebook/dp/B008E7CW4S/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=hypnotic+writing+by+joe+vitale&qid=1610891021&s=digital-text&sr=1-1
N.B. Thank you to nick-morrison-FHnnjk1Yj7Y-unsplash.jpg for the picture.