Learn the Four Steps of Writing Great Books Fast
Now here’s how you start a book (of course, test this out for yourself):
Before you write anything, before you even work out the plot, you come up with a “what if” statement. Like what if I was visiting a hotel in the middle of nowhere, going to a conference, and open the bathroom up to find my best friend murdered in there. Just then I hear a knock at the door and it’s the police and I’ve been framed. I heard this over the radio where a guy thought this up in his hotel room attending a conference. This is the whole point. You’re constantly looking around the world that you live in as a big plot inspiration.
Everything around you will give you a “what if?” if you’re looking for it. You see a wild bird: What if I could talk to wild animals and what would they tell me? You can go humorous with this. Imagine the unexpected to find something that’s funny. I thought it was pretty funny a few years ago that somebody was blaming cow farts as one of the causes of global warming. A plot could be made out of that as a conspiracy to feed dairy cattle a certain flatulent ingredient in order to raise local temperatures and affect weather, and so cover up a crime. (And efforts by politicians and lawyers to fix it just made it worse – all that hot air…) Fantastic idea, but that’s all fiction is – making the dull and humdrum world we live in become more interesting.
There are four things you need before you start writing a book.
First is your what-if and then that becomes a sentence.
Second is to write a paragraph. It’s more like your elevator speech. 35 seconds to describe your book or pitch it to a media producer. That’s the time it takes you to go between one floor to the next. The doors close. Someone asks you what your book’s about. You’d say, “Well it’s Alien meets Gulliver on the desert island of Robinson Crusoe.” Some say this is how film concepts are pitched. Like “Gidget goes to Hogwarts”. Go a little further than that and you have your main characters in there and the plot and everything. You have a couple sentences in a paragraph that actually explain the entire story. It doesn’t explain everything and leads the media guy to get off with you to find out more. This is also how you pitch a story to the media. You have about that much time to get it across. They are very busy people and that is their allotted attention span to your new idea.
The third part is to write a whole page on your book idea. That page is also what they call a one-sheet, what the book distributors want from you, so they can sell your idea to their book stores to get them to carry your book.
The three parts again are to write a sentence, a paragraph, and a page. A what-if hook, a 35-second elevator speech, and a page of data that becomes your description.
The fourth part is getting a cover made. I’ve recently seen a video where Chris Fox commissions all the covers for his books before he really starts writing anything.
When you get the cover made, you can print it out and hang it up where you can see it. You are keeping the end in mind constantly. You can do this yourself. Print it out so you can wrap it around another book you have. You can stand it up against your computer monitor for more inspiration.
If You Can Measure It, You Can Improve It.
This is a core datum for any production. We don’t have to go overboard with this, but the general idea is that you want to improve your production volume by improving efficiency. While I strongly recommend learning to speak your books, if you’re more comfortable typing, then keep doing what works for you.
You’ll want to set up a spreadsheet or even a ruled paper taped or pinned to a board in your workspace. Note down date, words produced, words edited (usable text you wound up with.) Chris Fox sets daily targets. He then knows where he will need to get to, by when, in order to have his book ready on time.
You may want to also note down where you produced it and what you were doing then.
Next: Lesson 7 – The Second Big Lie