Now that you have finalized your fiction concept, the work begins. Bringing a book to life is like giving birth to a child. There is excitement, hard work, pain, and finally great joy and pride. Not to mention a measure of maternal or paternal anxiety. You have created something that is uniquely yours, but in the end it must stand or fall on its own merits. Because of that, it deserves the best effort you can give it, beginning with a sound plan.
A book’s construction mimics the human body. It needs a skeleton to give it form. That’s the job of the plot. Then it needs muscles in order to give the inanimate frame the ability to move. Characters are a book’s muscle. Their unique qualities and background drive the story in the direction the author wants it to go. Just as bone and muscle cannot function without the nourishment they receive from the bloodstream, so the author must feed a book’s plot and characters with accurate information. Nothing turns a reader off more than to come across some tidbit of plot or setting that does not ring true. This is where research comes in. Depending on the type of book being written and the author’s personal experience, the research phase can involve minor fact finding, some of which can be accomplished on the fly, or it can be a major undertaking requiring nearly as much time as the actual writing. When you have gathered all the information you need and have prepared your plot and characters, you will be ready to put flesh on your creation.
It can be tempting to hurry through the planning phase. You want to tell your story. It’s why you started all of this, and you itch to begin. I’ve been there many times myself. Invariably, however, I have found that taking the time up front to get all of my ducks in a row has made the writing easier, more enjoyable, and less time consuming in the long run.
So patience is the word. Just like you want to give your human children the best opportunity to succeed in the world, you want to give your fiction book child the best chance for excellence. Plan carefully. You’ll be glad you did.
Click on the links below to read planning tips that I have found useful.