Planning your book is a crucial part of the writing process. When putting together your book, there are many things to consider, and it must be challenging to know where to start. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you plan your next book.
Determine the type of book you wish to write
The first step to writing a book is knowing what kind of book you want to write.
– Nonfiction: A nonfiction book can be anything from a memoir to an instructional text. This book is typically based on facts and includes real-life experiences, research, or expert interviews.
– Fiction: A fiction book tells a story that’s made up of the author’s imagination. The plot can be based on history, or it might just be something that came to the author in a dream.
– Children’s Book: A children’s book is typically written for young readers between the ages of 3 and 8 years old, but some books are also written for older readers.
– Picture Book: A picture book tells its story with pictures and words together on each page, often with few sentences per page.
– Memoir: A memoir is about an individual’s life experiences or memories; it’s usually written by that person themselves or a relative.
– Nonfiction Picture Book: A nonfiction picture book is a book with text and illustrations that tell a story or contain information related to a particular topic.
Make a list of your existing ideas
We’re still at an incredibly early stage here, so your existing ideas might be fundamental, and that’s fine.
Limit your notes to the essentials:
- Names of characters
- Aspects/traits of the setting(s)
- Any information you have about the storyline? These might include elements like the beginning, ending, or even the primary conflict, but they can also be little aspects like dialogue snippets or random sequences.
Use this stage of the process as an “info dump.” Basically, you’re jotting down what you know so far about the novel.
This will almost certainly be the basic structure of your narrative.
Work out your essentials
This is when we delve into the book’s specifics: your characters, the narrative, the genre, and the voice. These parts must be thoroughly thought out if you want to create a comprehensive and effective book strategy.
One of the most important components of a story to get properly is the characters. The characters and their actions propel the story ahead and keep readers turning the page.
Here is the cast of characters you’ll need for your novel:
The primary character or protagonist is the person your narrative is centered around. Often, the main character, the hero or heroine, produces the story’s action and piques the reader’s attention and empathy.
They are usually faced with a conflict they must resolve or come to terms with.
An antagonist is someone who opposes, competes with, or opposes the protagonist/main character.
They are frequently the antagonist of the novel’s hero or protagonist.
Although this one is self-explanatory, it can also be rule-breaking.
A mentor is often someone older and wiser than the protagonist, who assists them through the narrative’s decision-making process.
However, this only sometimes benefits the protagonist and frequently leads to conflict in the plot.
Again, relatively self-explanatory – power actors in your novel are individuals who, for better or worse, can affect the course of the plot.
Consider your lesser characters to be the supporting cast for your main characters. These characters interact with your primary characters and assist move the plot forward through actions and reactions.
It’s vital to remember that characters can play more than one role. It’s vital to consider where your characters fit in these categories, but it’s also necessary to think outside the box and defy the conventions.
We’re still conducting in-depth character biographies. This stage of the process is all about figuring out who will play what roles and making sure your cast is diverse enough to carry you through a full novel.
For the time being, limit yourself to names, ages, objectives, and anything else that comes to mind.
The storyline is the sequence of events in the narrative – what occurs and when it happens.
The three steps
Let’s break this down into three major steps:
Step One: Know how your novel will conclude.
Step Two: Understand the beginning of your book.
Step Three: Fill in the blanks with any conflicts, twists, or scenarios that came to mind during your first brainstorming.
Knowing the finish is critical while developing the plot of your work. Knowing the ending provides you with a goal to strive towards and helps you concentrate on how you will get there.
The beginning is particularly important since this is the section you’ll send to publishers once you’ve finished writing your novel and completed your manuscript.
It can be flawed right now, but you should think long and hard about where you want this book to start and why.
Genre & Voice
This may sound apparent, but you’d be shocked how many authors begin writing before deciding on a genre and style.
Consider the genre: thriller, romance, science fiction, literary fiction… These genres have one thing in common: they identify your target readership.
Knowing your target audience entails understanding what language to employ, which topics are most relevant and effective, and so on.
Submitting your work to publishers will be easier if you have a target market in mind when creating your novel. Remember that your book might belong to numerous genres as long as you know what they are.
You may have been aware of this from your initial brainstorming, but if not, now is the time to begin thinking about it.
By deciding on a genre early on, you may work out your novel’s voice/tone sooner and prevent having to modify it later.
Also, consider if you want to utilize the first, second, or third person at this point. The reader’s point of view on the tale is crucial to the book’s success.
Refining your style can also help you get started on your novel strategy. Examine the style of a previous short story or essay that you wrote. Exercise the following:
- Using simple language.
- Longer sentences should be cut down or broken into two parts.
- Eliminating excessive qualifications such as ‘very many’.
- Using superfluous self-reference such as ‘I believe’ or ‘I think’.
- Opting for the active voice.
Fill in the gaps
When we discussed the plot, we addressed filling in the gaps. So, here we are, and this is how we do it…
Plot & Sub-plot
You should know the novel’s key events by now – the beginning, middle, and end. But what about the rest of them?
A novel is made up of much more than three basic incidents. Now is the time to ‘fill in the blanks and flesh out your tale with extra specifics.
Consider subplots. What else is happening in your story besides your protagonist moving from point A to point B?
Is there a love tale at the heart of this? Is your protagonist’s ancestry in doubt? Perhaps your protagonist’s best buddy is hiding something? All of them might function as subplots to your primary story.
This is also where lesser characters, mentors, power players, and so on come into play. This is your supporting cast; they are there to help you with any components of your story you require, so make good use of them.
After you’ve decided where you want to go with plots and subplots, you should start thinking about specific scenes that will help you get there.
Situations that show character and scenes that push the tale ahead are required. Is this a literal journey? Or an emotional one?
Determine which scenes will serve to convey these features and where they will appear in the narrative.
While this tutorial section is about filling in the blanks, you can still make stuff up as you go along or change your mind later on.
These activities are about creating a framework to help you start writing. The framework may be disassembled and reassembled as needed.
You must understand your characters completely, from how they walk to how they drink their coffee. This is a lot to know, but it’s even more important that you know it before you start writing.
Naturally, you’ll learn stuff about your characters along the road (that’s half the fun), but knowing them well from the start will make it much simpler to reach your work’s finish.
Remember the distinguishing characteristics of the characters and ensure they all have one or more. It’s simple for all characters to sound the same, yet their voices, looks, and backgrounds must be completely diverse.
Make a timeline
Make a timeline of the novel’s important events in chronological sequence. This is not to imply that your story must be linear, but you must understand how things happen before you can mix them up.
Make a scene list of all the scenes you’ve seen so far, and organize them chronologically. You may discover that more scenarios come to you due to doing this.
Make chapters out of the scenes. This should give you a good notion of how lengthy your chapters will be and how fast your story will go.
Shorter, more concise scenes and chapters result in a faster-paced novel, whereas longer, more detailed text portions result in a slower-paced novel.
Making a timeline will expose the speed of your story and highlight any difficulties you’ll need to solve before moving on to the writing stage.
Cater to your readers
This returns us to our earlier point about understanding your target readership. You should know exactly what your readers want from your work by this point, and going through your plan for a book at this point will allow you to satisfy them.
Regardless of your readership, you must guarantee that your work does not contain the following:
- Boring bits
- Parts where your world’s logic is thrown out the window (otherwise known as plot holes)
- There will be gaps where the reader will need help understanding why anything happened.
Start writing your novel
You should have a plethora of notes, timetables, and character profiles to utilize as reference material by this point, so here’s some last advice:
- There is such a thing as excessive planning. Allow yourself to postpone real writing for an extended period of time and only plan so much that your writing is spontaneous – where’s the joy in that?
- You should not be frightened to alter your views. As previously said, the purpose of this planning step is to assist you in wrapping your mind around the innovative components you’ll need to incorporate. It does not imply that your thoughts must be fixed in stone.
- The essential thing is to figure out which approaches work best for you. Once you’ve mastered it, you’ll have a golden ticket.
Plan a Book with Savvy Book Marketing
A successful book marketing campaign starts with the planning of the book. The author needs to get their marketing strategy in place before they even publish the book. This is because a good marketing plan ensures that the author will have a successful and profitable career as an author. Get help from Savvy Book Marketing UK, and rest easy! No matter where you are in the process, we’re here to help.