February 6, 2017

How to Write a Book in Five Months or Less in Your Spare Time, Part Two

By Theresa Oliver

Part Two continues today from Theresa Oliver. Part One appeared on Friday, Feburary 3, 2017.
I decided to write two scenes per chapter, with each chapter between 10-20 pages. Then, I decided that I needed to write at least twenty chapters per book. At writing one chapter per week, I soon finished my book in less than five months.  And you can, too.  

It’s important to note that on some weeks, I could write more, which was great. But if there was a day that I couldn’t write, I remembered my commitment to write at least one chapter a week and didn’t beat myself up over it. Since then, I have written six books with more to come.

BOOK DESIGN: Along with being a published author, I am also a teacher. When I was teaching middle school, I wanted to encourage my students to write and began researching ways to break writing down into digestible bites. That is when I found Fraytag’s Plot Pyramid, one of the best descriptors of how a short story—and novel—is written.

If you notice, here is how Fraytag broke down plot: introduction, rising action, conflict (not pictured), climax, falling action, resolution (not pictured), and denouement. It’s important to note that Fraytag said that three-fourths of the action happens on the left side of the pyramid, and only one-fourth happens on the right. After all, once the conflict is resolved, there is no story, right?

When you start writing your book, do not waste too much time on back story. Introduce your characters, basic plot, and conflict in your first chapter, and hit the ground running right away. Start your book off in the action. Give the reader enough information to get to know the characters, but do not linger there. You can give the reader the details of the character’s past as needed. Remember: your readers are on a need-to-know basis. As writers, we must hook the reader within the first chapter, or else why should the reader continue to reading?

It’s important to note that at the end of each chapter, the writer must leave a bit of a cliffhanger to keep the reader coming back for more. Only one sentence or two will do, but no more. This will keep the reader on the edge of their seat, wondering what will happen next, and will keep the reader turning the page.

Also, when you first sit down to write your book, do not worry about knowing every detail that will happen during the course of your book. When I sit down to start writing a new book, I know what will happen at the beginning, middle, and end, but only in points: point A, point B, etc., but the beauty of writing is in connecting the dots, using scenes to connect the points together into a cohesive book. So, don’t fret if you don’t know everything that will happen in your book right away. Trust your characters and let them lead you—but only to a point. It’s important for the writer to maintain control of the direction of his or her book. I always have a mental outline of my book, but if you are one to write out a detailed outline, then do it! Just don’t be governed by it. Use it as a writing plan, but don’t be afraid to deviate from it when needed … as long as you keep your book on track, headed toward your intended outcome.

So, this is the strategy that I use to write my books and you can, too. You might think that it just can’t be this simple, but it is. The most important thing to do is to follow the plan and to do it. Don’t let the vision of writing a whole book intimidate you. Do for yourself what I did for my students: break it down into digestible bites, set a goal, then make a plan to achieve your goal—and stick to it! You can do it. Whether you are a seasoned veteran published author or a novice to the writing game, you, too, can write a book in five months or less in your spare time.

Happy writing!
Theresa Oliver grew up in southern Indiana, across from Louisville, Kentucky, in Clarksville, Indiana. In her childhood, she fell in love with the power of the written word, a love affair that has continued her whole life. She moved to Florida, where she has lived much of her adult life. She attended the University of Tennessee at Martin, Martin, Tenn., and earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communications degree, News Editorial sequence. She also earned a Master of Arts in Teaching degree, Early Childhood Education sequence, from Armstrong Atlantic State University, Savannah, Ga. She is currently a writer, a full-time teacher, and the owner of Write More Publications and TNT Author Services. However, her greatest adventure is as a mother of three beautiful boys. Oliver currently resides in Kissimmee, Florida, with her husband and children.

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