Friday, January 15, 2016

Tidbits from JOURNEY TO PUBLICATION: Where to begin...

   I am often asked, "I have an idea for a book, but where do I start?" You're probably thinking the answer would be, "At the beginning." But that's not always the best answer for an aspiring author. In fact, most likely some major preparation needs to be done before you get to the beginning. 
   Some of the greatest books ever written start someplace other than the beginning (ab ovo) of the story; many start in the middle (in media res), and the author fills in the reader about what happened before (mostly through the use of dialogue) and what comes after (usually through the use of chronological action). Mysteries quite often start in media res, as do action/adventure stories. This method serves to hook the reader right off the bat because it creates questions in the reader's mind that cannot be left unanswered. The reader will want to continue reading in order to find the answers to his/her questions; thus, you acquire a new fan. 
   Now let's talk about the preparations you, as an author, should consider before beginning the act of writing. First and foremost, make an outline of your story. I'm not talking about a formal outline here; it can be as simple as just listing the major points and events in order so you have something to help keep things in line when you finally put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). You'll be amazed at how much simpler things become when you have a "crutch" to help you get through the tough parts.
   Remember: you already know what's going on and what's going to happen in your story, but you have to get that across to the reader. And if that's not done in the right order, it will confuse the reader, and he/she will put your book down and probably never want to read anything else you write. Not a good way to increase your fan base!
   Once you have thought about your story long enough and hard enough to put things in order, you'll have more fun writing it. You'll have the anticipation of getting to a really fun part, or a really sad part, or a really exciting part if you know when it's going to happen and what's going to lead up to it. By putting your ducks in a row, you'll enjoy writing more, and your readers will be much more apt to continue reading your books.

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JLB Creatives Editor Dar Bagby (L) and JLB Creatives CEO Janet Beasley (R)