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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

How To Write A Book (A Practical Guide)

Had to add that "practical guide" part there :=P What? It gets results.

Anyway, today I want to share with you, my dear readers and blog-followers, my secret methods for authoring a book. In order to reduce technical issues when writing a story, I have devised so far two methods that speed up my creative writing flow, and minimize the effort necessary in maintaining concentration while writing an entire story.

One, is my Book_Template file. I didn't want to shift between different programs/interfaces while writing a story, so I had to figure out how to implement my ideas using only Word 2012 or any other interface. Therefor, before I write my story I first fill-in a template file with the following:

Title, Subtitle & Summary. These allow me to choose a topic and general theme for my story. The summary specifically allows me to note down any important ideas that I want to include in the storyline.

Main Characters, Secondary Characters, Miscellaneous Characters & Locations. These are short lists I keep in my template, so I can keep an eye on all those details, and change them in an organized fashion. This keeps me from obvious errors, and also helps me order my characters and locations. This order helps for referencing inside the story.

Chapters, Sections & Subsections. I divide my story into titles. Every chapter is split into several sections. Every section is split into several subsections. This allows me for a consistent storyline, which is also very easily manipulated. Also, using the titles as a reference, my writing-flow is more steady. This reduces distractions dramatically and builds up self-confidence while writing.

The second method is a simple Heading manipulation in my story file. I have been using it with my current book, Future Value, and I am very pleased with the results. Under the View tab in Office 2012, it is possible to reveal the Navigation Pane. Then, I simply copy my template into the story file, and edit it so that each chapter, section, and subsection are set as a Heading in their according levels (Heading 1/2/3). Other titles are kept as a Title or Book Title heading, so they do not crowd my Pane. This allows me to add content directly under my titles, and it also allows for amazingly easy navigation within my story. I find this method more efficient, than simply checking back with my template file after every two or three paragraphs. :=)

TIP: One of the awesome things with headings is that the author can select all content that is of a certain heading, even Normal text, and immediately apply any action to it. Even remove all Normal text with a single button press!

Attached are my up-to-date Empty Template file, and an example of a properly headered Story file:

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