Ellen Thorp


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By ellent | July 10, 2011

Writing a Book — Where to Start

Want to write a book but haven’t a clue where to start from?  Well then, let’s start with a few basics, a few building blocks to get you on your way.

First off, you might want to find a central job or activity for your book. A Nurse, Police Officer, Recreational Sailor,  or possibly a College Student.  When you decide on something, consider  whether there is an interest in your topic by readers.  Readers who possibly have similar positions or hobbies will take a second look.

You do not have to be an “expert” within the chosen field, that is where research comes in later on.  Granted, it helps if you do have some knowledge about a particular job or hobby.  Having knowledge in a particular field gives you an edge over many who have no idea whatsoever about this field.

If you are still in a rut, start thinking about hobbies and interests that you are involved with either in the past or you still pursue.  Some examples would be gourmet cooking, buying antiques, sailing  or traveling.

Think about this, there are so many extremely popular “cozy mysteries” that literally have the theme of a particular hobby or activity.

Blueberry Muffin Murder
Only The Cat Knows
The Cat, The Quilt and The Corpse

Do you think the authors of these books have some knowledge in these fields?  I’m sure they do. One quick note, if you are writing with Cats and or Dogs in mind, it’s always a good idea to have some knowledge about them.  The reason being, even though you might be writing fiction, the animal must still have actual traits of their species.

Think about various experiences you have been through in you life.  Do you know of experiences that could be inspirational, funny or thought provoking?  Here are few topics that might trigger some ideas:

First Year of Law School
Meeting a New Love Interest
The Passing of a Friend or Family Member
Growing up in a Large Family
Life in the Theatre

Remembering the experiences that surround a particular topic is a wonderful place to start.  Let’s say the topic is “Growing Up in a Large Family”.  This topic could make for a great book!

Here are a few ideas that could spin off from Growing Up in a Large Family:

Being the youngest of seven children
Chores assigned to one and all
The Bond with your siblings
How your parents managed to stay up with everyone and still rule the roost.
Leaving home for the first time

Now this particular topic is not new, there have been some wonderful books over the years regarding large families.  Off my head, “Life With Father”, “Cheaper by the Dozen” and so on.

The point is most people have hidden seeds of their own experiences and memories that would make for great books.  Always consider if you chosen knowledge would be of interest to readers or inspiring to others.

Another way to further attract potential readers is to develop a plan or system around the structure of your book, at least in part.  Using an acronym is a good place to start.  For those of you who do not know what an acronym is, it’s a word that is made from initial letters, words or phrases.  Acronyms work as a way to set your guidelines and give you direction.

Many advertising copywriters are taught that any ad they create should follow the AIDA requirements:

Attract the reader’s Attention
Arouse Interest
Create Demand for the product or service
Prompt the reader to Action

So how do you apply this to your project?  Let’s say you are going to write a book on Sailing.

Tacking and Jibing
The Art of Reading the Tides
Learning Sail Trimming
Knots, one of the most important things a sailor should know
Sailing Terminology

This could be a possible Title for your book:

The TASKS for Championship Sailboat Racing

Now that might be a little lame, but I’m not a sailor!

Finally, whether you are writing non fiction or fiction, the same principles apply.  You must have a good starting point that entails knowledge or research that is believable and will hold the reader.  Developing good characters is not difficult because people never change! We act on the same things now, as we did hundreds and even thousands of years ago.

One of the greatest writers of all time was William Shakespeare.  Why is his work as pertinent today as it was in his time?  He understood and knew human nature never changes, the same things that motivated people then are the same things that motivate us now.

I highly recommend that if you are serious about writing that you get involved in exceptionally good courses that will give you extraordinary knowledge and support:

Write Any Book in Just 28 Days by Nick Daws

How to Write a Children’s Book in 14 Days by Mel McIntyre

If you are interested in writing Cozy Mysteries, here are links to the above mentioned books that could give you a quick scenario into the various Authors’ styles.

The Cat, The Quilt and the Corpse

Only The Cat Knows

Blueberry Muffin Murder


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