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I have an idea for a book – now what? (2)

Part 1 continued...

Developing your writing skills

If you are worried about your writing skills, consider these points.

1. Read – Reading is one of the most effective ways to improve your writing skills. Reading regularly exposes you to a variety of ideas that improve your writing. Reading also makes you familiar with different writing styles, expands your vocabulary, and helps you discover innovative ways to use words.

2. Take some classes – creative writing classes will give you guided advice and practical experience in a supportive environment. You will also be surrounded by like-minded individuals whom you can talk to and share ideas with.

3. Blog – This is another way to get some writing practice in and, at the same time, see how well your writing is received. Write about things you’re interested in. You may find that it connects to the thing you plan to write. For example, writing blogs about history or archaeology can tap into historical fiction. It can expand your research and knowledge that you could use to write your book.

What are you writing?

Finally, and just briefly – now that we’ve mentioned ‘historical fiction’ – have you thought about your book genre? Understanding in which category your story might sit could help you with the writing process. Genre covers some basic styles of fiction, with subgenres clarifying specific styles even more. What’s interesting to note – and key to understanding genre – is that genre categorizations tend to depend on aesthetic (the look and feel of the world you describe) rather than ideas or even structure. To be honest, genre is more about the reader than the writer but knowing who you are writing for will help in the long run (especially with marketing and publishing).

It is these scrappy bits that come together to turn your work into a manuscript. Only when you have these basics in place should you start to think about turning it into a proper readable book. At this point, the only rule that really matters is does it read well? Does it flow? Read it out loud, does it sound natural? When you reach that point you will have your story.

Happy writing and see you for Part 2.

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