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I'm writing a book. What now?

I am not a particularly huge fan of fiction. Or, at least not of reading fiction I should say. Sure, I have my favorite authors and books that can sweep me into that wonderful realm of being lost in a book. You know, the place that has you glued to a chair, sitting by the Lake, while the rest of your family is off to dinner. The place where you allow yourself to shirk all responsibilities in the name of finishing just one more chapter. Who doesn’t like that place?

But, to say that I am an avid reader of fiction would not be accurate. Just ask my wife. When in the bookstore, the fiction section is not usually my first stopping grounds. So, when I told my wife that I wanted to write a book, a novel to be more precise, the thought of how and why surely crossed my mind and I am sure it did my wife’s.

Nonetheless, I seek to write a novel. Surely there are more qualified writers than me. And, surely I have no clue what direction to turn when sitting down to write. Just how do you write a book?

Just sit down and write? Is that it?

But, what should I write?

My mind was not quite this blank in reality. Having a legal background would clearly be an asset as I could simply take some old war stories and cobble them together to write a legal thriller. This was a good start, but it would not really allow me to explore some deeper meaning and issues that I wanted to express.

What are those issues you ask? I can’t tell you now. Subscribe to my mailing list, and find out more about it when the book is ready for publishing.

Suffice it to say, I was slowly slowly mulling over ideas in my head for a novel. I knew I wanted to have some legal aspect to it, and I knew that I wanted to "say" something. The book to be in my voice had to have a purpose beyond just story telling.

But the question of how still nagged me. So, enter the Internet. A little while later, I found a great resource called the "Snowflake Method" that I am going to try. Leaving aside the story that I intend to write, let’s learn about the Snowflake Method and how to apply it. So far I am only part way through the process.

It is a ten step process:

  1. One sentence summary of the novel (1 hour)

  2. One paragraph summary of the novel (1 hour)

  3. One page summary for each of the main characters (1 hour per character)

  4. Expand each sentence of the summary to a full paragraph

  5. One page description of all main characters, half page for minor characters (a couple days)

  6. Expand one page plot synopsis to 4 pages (1 week)

  7. Expand character descriptions to character charts

  8. Make a list of all scenes

  9. Begin narrative by creating description for each scene

  10. Begin first draft of novel

I’ll post some more about each step in depth and how I attack it. Wish me luck.

If you would like to follow my journey: subscribe here.

Originally published at amhopkins.com.

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