Everybody wants to know WHAT to write about. What is it that people want to read? What are the "hot topics" that you know will generate some interest if you write about them.
Even though the Internet has changed the face of the world -- how we shop, communicate, do business, research and just about everything else -- it hasn't changed what we WANT. There are classic (and absolutely TIMELESS) topics that are always going to be hot topics.
Here are five of them. If you want to know WHAT people want and WHAT you should write about, then find something related to these topics...
Staying motivated and sticking to a schedule can sometimes seem more of a chore than a delight. As a writer, it's important to set goals for yourself. These goals will help you see progress, successes and provide you with inspiration and motivation.
It's one thing to start writing an eBook.
It's another thing to finish it.
Ernest Hemingway suggested rewriting a book 30 times before it is ready for publication. His reasoning was that each time the writer goes over the book for rewriting, they have a better understanding into the minds of the characters. The more you get to know your characters, the more you will be able to write convincing dialogue and narrative that will suit them. One important thing to remember when you are rewriting is to not be afraid of making major changes in your book. If something is not working and does not feel right, change it. While you have a natural passion for the book, you should also be open minded enough to realize if something is not working in your plot, you have to fix it.
Reading it Through
The best way to start rewriting is to read through your first draft. You can then note inconsistencies and other plot problems that may occur. You should begin your rewriting from the beginning of the book to the end, especially if you are writing a fiction book that will have character development. Even if you are writing non-fiction, you still want to rewrite your book to tighten it up. Try not to use a passive voice when you are writing. This is when you put in words like “would have” and “was.” Try to use more action words in your book, otherwise it may tend to get sluggish. Also, go over the dialog and make sure that it seems natural. You will need to look at dialog as well as consistency when you are rewriting.
Do not be surprised if your book has a different ending than what you imagined. Many times, writers grow to like some characters and dislike others. The creative process takes on a mind of its own when an author is writing a book and this often means inconsistencies in the book and with the characters.
Characters and Personality Traits
Each time you continue to rewrite your book, you are making it a better story. You have a better feel for the characters with each rewrite and they become more lifelike to you, so much so that you can figure out what they like for breakfast or what is their favorite color. By including personality traits in the book that are distinguishable to each character, you also make them more lifelike for the reader. The more you get to know the characters in your book, the more lifelike they will seem to the reader. You want to get away from flat characters and breathe some life into them. The only way that you can do this when writing a fiction book is to get to know them. This is naturally more difficult to do with fiction than non-fiction because the characters are a figment of your imagination, so you need to make your imagination come to life on paper when you write.
Tie Up Loose Ends
Make sure that there are no loose ends in the book and that every sentence drives your plot forward. Get rid of unnecessary dialogue that will slow down the process of the story as well as unnecessary descriptions. The best books are those that continue to move the plot forward and have meaning in every sentence. Do not mistake rewriting as checking for grammar or spelling. This will be done when you are proofreading, although you should naturally make any corrections when you see them. Proofreading is very different than rewriting and will be discussed shortly.
One thing that you may want to do to make your rewriting easier is to give yourself a rest between the rewrites. This allows you to look at the book with fresh eyes and get a fresh outlook on it. If you have a friend or trusted person to whom you can give the book, you can give it to them for a critique. They may be able to see glaring errors in the plot that you may overlook. While you are close to your book, you may also be too close. It is helpful to have a second pair of eyes to read your book after you have rewritten it. You cannot rewrite a book too much. There does however have to be a point where you say that you are satisfied with the story and what it conveys. After you have completed your book and feel that it is publication worthy, you are ready for a grammar check.
Go through your book and look for grammatical errors. There are some instances when grammatical rules are broken, especially when it comes to dialogue. If you have a grammar check on your word processing program, use it together with the spellchecker. When you have finished your book, it is time for proofreading.
Once you have decided on the book that you want to write, you should start on your first draft. This may change by the time the book is completed, although chances are that you will keep some of the information in the final book.
Everyone writes in a different way. There are those who rewrite as they are going along and those who complete the first draft before attempting any rewriting. It is best to write the first draft and get it all on paper, or computer, before you start to rewrite. This can allow you to see the direction that your book is taking and how it looks. If your first draft is less than magnificent, do not get discouraged as this is only your first draft. Many writers who write fiction like to get their first draft finished before they start any research. The average book is about 80,000 words, although a rough draft of a book may be less.
In some cases, writers will sketch out a first draft that is mostly narrative. It contains only sparse dialogue, to be put in later when re-writing. If you are writing a fiction book, this is a good way to get the book down on paper, see if the plot makes sense, and make sure that you present a conflict and a resolution to it. There are two types of conflicts that can be contained in your book, either internal conflicts or external conflicts. Internal conflicts are those that take place in the minds of the characters of the book and can be due to their perception of the world or their perception about another individual. External conflicts are those that are caused by outside influences. Misunderstandings or third parties getting in the way are examples of external conflicts that arise in fiction books. A good way to figure out the conflict in the book is to present the reader with a question that will be answered at the end and this type of conflict is often used in murder mysteries. The reader does not know who committed the murder until the climax of the book, after which the conflict has been resolved. A good book may also present a series of conflicts that come together to be resolved by the time the book ends. All in all, it is important to create conflict in a fiction book that will keep the reader interested. A good book also makes a point. There can be symbolism in the book as well as a subtle message that the author is trying to get across to the reader. While not all books contain these variables, they are found in some of the great novels.
Another factor you want to add into your fiction book is foreshadowing which implies that something will happen to change the world of the characters early in the book. This should be presented throughout the book, but especially in the beginning as it gets the reader hooked early on so that they will want to continue reading to see what happens.
The first paragraph of your book is probably the most important part as this is the paragraph that will either hook or bore the reader. One problem that many authors have when it comes to writing a book that is interesting is a slow start. This fails to pull the reader in and keep them interested. Including foreshadowing in the first paragraph is a good idea and another thing that you can do to make your book more interesting to the reader is to start in the middle. You can then take the reader back, through the use of dialog and narrative, to the beginning of the story to fill them in on the history.
The climax of the book is also important in a fictional story; the plot should slowly build up to the climax. You may have several anti-climaxes in the book as well as other conflicts to be resolved. Do not make the mistake of introducing characters at the end of the book who figure heavily into the resolution of the plot. For example, if you are writing a murder mystery, you need to have the murderer figure in to the book early on. Some writers will make it look as if someone is obviously guilty but the culprit is someone who the reader does not expect. You want to keep your reader hungry for more as they get to the end of the book.
While the first paragraph, climax and conflict resolution are integral parts of the book, do not fill your book with fluff. Each character in the book should figure somewhat in the plot and each sentence in the book should move the plot forward. This does not often happen in the first draft of the book but will happen as you continue with re-writes. Remember that any book, even a non-fiction book, does not appear on paper the way that it comes out of your head - you have to be prepared for re-writing.
Writermore Journals, WM Journals, and Miranda Primm are happy to announce a new line of journals designed for the hunters of ghost and other paranormal oddities.
Each ghost hunting journals comes with a guide to ghost hunting basics, tips for hunting the paranormal, explanations of methods and terms, a glossary, and an blank index for you to track your favorite entries. Every ghost hunting journal includes structured pages to document your sitings. Each documentation page provides space for dates, times, type of paranormal encounter, your experience, and important notes on the event. There is even space to attach a picture, if you are lucky enough to capture your ghostly sitings on film.
These ghost hunting journals are perfect for logging each of your paranormal encounters in a concise and detail way. They also make ideal gifts for the the ghosting enthusiast in your life.
Check out our first two ghost hunting journals: Ghost Spotter's Journal and Ghost Hunting Journal.
Most people equate writing a book with writing a novel, which is a fiction story but this is not the case today as there is a very big market for non-fiction books as well. Cookbooks, how-to books, motivational books and biographies are all examples of non-fiction books that sell very well and are often self-published. In order to get a book published by mainstream press that is non-fiction, you have to have a well known name or a very unique idea. You also need to be extremely lucky as there is heavy competition in the mainstream press for authors, especially those unknown.
Fiction books tell a story and have a conflict and resolution. Non-fiction books do not follow along the same lines. There is no conflict in writing a cookbook, for example. If you are writing a non-fiction book, you need to do heavy research and be very well versed on the topic of which you are writing. You should also have an angle to your book that makes it unique from others. Motivational books are a good example as there are many of them on the market at the moment. However, the question is, what can you do to make your book different? One example of a different type of motivational book is the Law of Attraction series of books. This took an old idea, put a new spin on it and created a series of very successful motivational books.
Biographies do not always have to be about famous people. You can write a biography about anyone who has led an extraordinary life or influenced many people. Cleverly crafted biographies about ordinary people who prove to be inspirational to others are very popular today. You will of course need to have permission from the person about whom you are writing or their estate in order to write a good biography. There have been unauthorized biographies that have made a sensation, but still required the person to do a lot of research on the subject, although they are not given the same amount of respect as biographies that are done with the consent of the author. You also risk running into a lawsuit, such as is the case with Kitty Kelley who wrote a slew of unauthorized biographies about famous people and ended up being sued by the late Frank Sinatra.
Cookbooks are very popular, especially when it comes to self-published books. Your cookbook needs to have something different, a unique angle, in order to sell. Why would anyone buy your book of French recipes when they can get the same from Julia Child’s cookbooks? One way to make yours unique is to add a bit of the French countryside and perhaps some fiction in with the recipes. This will prove to be entertaining to the reader as well as informational. If you are going to write a novel, then you will need to prepare your outline. Your novel should be of a genre that you like and most of all, something that you would buy yourself if it was available in the bookstore. You can put a lot of creative passion in your novel and turn it into something that will stand out. Whether you write fiction or non-fiction is up to you. If you have a lot of creative energy and can make up plots and characters in your head, fiction writing may be for you. If you consider yourself an expert in a certain field, non-fiction writing may be better.
Writermore Publishing is proud to present a new line of workbooks designed for creative writers. The Bucket Words Writing Prompt Workbook series was crafted to help writers overcome ruts and writer's block. The first book in the series is Three Little Words and a Challenge. This workbook provides three word writing prompts to help kick your imagination into gear. The workbook also includes a fourth challenge word that is a little more complex to be entered into your story. There is ample space to write your flash/short story along with extra writing space at the back of the book for those tales that take on a life of their own.
While Three Little Words and A Challenge is the first of the series, Writermore Publishing will be introducing more writing prompt workbooks soon. We will also be introducing writing prompt companion books companion e-books to help boost your imagination.
You are going to have to do some research in order to make your book seem more authentic. Even if you are writing an autobiography you still have to go back in your mind to research incidents that happened and most likely look up dates and names. Nothing is worse than writing a book where you get facts, dates and other information wrong.
Local Libraries and Websites
It is a good idea to research different types of books that have been successful in the genre that you have chosen for your book. When you are performing research, you can use your local library as well as the internet. If you are writing fiction, you will need to research even more. For example, if you are writing a murder mystery, you need to know police procedures as well as how murderers are caught. You can discover this information by taking a look at books in your local library. Some authors go as far as to take a class in something that they want to learn about at a community college, so that they can be better prepared for their book. Do not however let your time be taken up solely with research. Many writers enjoy research so much that they neglect to write their book and this is something that you do not want to do. Research your book so that you have the right information for your story but not so much that you end up writing a thesis. One way to research what you are writing is to do the research after you have finished the first draft of your book or research as you are writing. The internet makes it easier to do research now more than ever as you can get most of the information that you need to research your book if you go online.
It is also a good idea to research the characters in your book, even if they are fictional. Discover some information about personality traits of people as a good writer is very much in tune with psychology and the way that people think. In fact, if you want to get in touch with the characters that you create, you can do so by learning a little about psychology. Creative writers are often advised to take a class so that they can get in touch with the way that people think and react to certain situations. By learning how others think, you will be able to bring more to the book than your own perception of how to react in a certain situation. This will also help you with dialog as realistic dialog is very important when writing a book. If you understand how and why people react in a certain way and speak in certain terms, you can give your characters more depth.
Writing Courses and Groups
In addition to researching your characters and plot, you should also make sure that you do some research on what makes a good book. You can take a writing course or even join a writing group. The more input that you get from other writers and the more information that you share, the better your book will be. There are also conferences that you can attend for writers, as well as workshops. You can make these all part of your writing research as, in addition to researching your book, you should also research the components that make up a good book. A good book has the following:
- Three dimensional, believable characters
- A conflict
- A climax
- A resolution to the conflict
You need to have some sort of conflict in the book that is presented right from the start and which must be resolved by the ending of the book. This does not mean that your book has to have a happy ending, but you cannot leave anything hanging out there that remains unsolved. You also want to craft your book so that it reaches a climax, which builds up throughout.
Points of View
Another thing that you need to determine is which point of view you want to use to write the book. You can choose first person narrative, which is an easier style to write but is limited to the thoughts and actions of the main character or narrator of the story. You can write first person observant which tells the story from the point of view of another character who is observing the action. You can choose third person and still write from the point of view of the main protagonist. When you are writing from the third person, you can also delve into the point of view from other characters in the book. Of all styles of writing, third person omniscient, which sees into the heads of all the characters, is the most difficult to write. Take a look at books that you like to read and see which writing style will best fit as the point of view that you write from can make or break your book. For example, the Sherlock Holmes books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle were a flop at first, until he changed the point of view coming from Dr. Watson, which was first person observant.
Past or Present Tense?
In addition to point of view, you also need to decide if you are writing in the past or present tense. Most books are written in the past tense, although you may want to take a look at “Presumed Innocent” by Scott Turow to see an example of first person narrative in the present tense. Writing in this way is more difficult, but lends more action to the book. Do your research by studying other books and your own writing style to see which point of view and tense you wish to use. First person narrative, which is also called prose writing, is the easiest, but has limitations. Third person omniscient is the most difficult, but opens up the thoughts and feelings of other characters in the book. This type of research should be done before you start your book, but can be changed if you find that it is not working for you and how you want to tell the story.
While you may like free-form writing, which is writing without doing any sort of outline, you should still have an idea of the ending of the book in mind. When you are writing fiction, characters tend to come to life as you write and your ending may change as you rewrite, so it is important to be flexible. If you prefer free-form writing, then just start writing and the ideas will start to flow. You can rework characters and plots as you move on in your book. Everyone has a different style when it comes to writing books. Over-thinking the book and too much planning can bog you down and keep you from writing. Too little thought can keep your book from reaching a conclusion. It takes a lot of creativity as well as some structure in order to write a successful book that people will want to read. You should read books in the genre that you are interested in so that you get the feel for this type of writing and in addition, reading is a good way to improve your writing skills.
There are many different genres available in both fiction and non-fiction so before you start your book, have a plan of what it will be about and the genre it will fill. You will need to have a specific genre when you are writing a book so that you will be able to market it properly. Some books will cross genre lines - such as paranormal and romance and some books will fit neatly into a specific genre. It should be clear to the reader what the book is about so that they will be interested in what you have written enough to buy the book. Most readers have types of books that they like to read and tend to stick with one or two genres. If you are writing a non-fiction book, you need to make your book stand out among the rest in a way that will set it apart from other books of the same genre. If you are writing an Italian Cookbook, for example, how do you make it stand out from the other Italian cookbooks that are on the market already?
Once you find your genre and know what you are writing about, you should start to think of marketing your book. You will need to do this in such a way that it will be set apart from other books of its kind and entice readers to buy it. After you have figured out what you are going to write about and what will make your book stand out among others, you can then start to outline your book by writing down a synopsis of it and the point that you are trying to make. Good books carry a message; make sure that your book has a message to the readers that they can take with them at the end.