Alpha and OmegaThere is a world of difference between coming up with a great idea for a book and starting to write one.

You’ll have seen the endless quotes from writers about how they came up with the ending FIRST and then reverse engineered the story from there.

That’s actually a great technique for making sure your writing stays focussed on a clear end goal. But that’s a whole other blog post. If you are sitting down to actually write, you need to begin at the beginning.

What does that all mean?
Well, like the post about the difference between writing and editing there is a big difference between planning and writing.

When you want to write a book, start with the planning.
once upon a time in a land far far away
The planning can and does take many forms and have many stages. Over time you will fine tune your own unique process. But always start with planning. That is the beginning of your book.

So if you’ve found a great twisty ending, work out how you’re going to get there, develop your characters, find the setting and the voice you are going to use… in short, assemble the myriad parts you will require to tell this story.

Then, work out your story arc. How and where does it start, where are its peaks and how do you build to the end.
Then, work on your plot. What KIND of story is this, what point are you making, how does the story lend itself to that point?

You can stick religiously to all this planning or you can throw it all away.

If you start writing on day 1, you will end up throwing more away. Every time. Until maybe it your tenth book. Then you’ll probably be doing all that prep in your sleep and you can run on rails more or less.

the beginningThen, once you’re done, start writing from Chapter 1, line 1.

This is important for the flow and cohesion of your work. If you jump about and then join the pieces up, there is a good chance your style will vary from part to part and they may not fit together well. Again, more experienced writes will have less problems with this.

Caveat:
Never mistake planning for writing.
It is all too easy to get swept up in the endless graphing, plotting and developing that you never write. Admit that you’re scared of failing (or of succeeding) draw a line in the sand and step over it and start writing. *hint* if you’re still planning after 12 months, you’re too scared to start writing. Admit it!