A Beginner’s Guide to Writing – Part 2

A compelling story is the essence of a really good book – novum publishing knows all the how-to’ s, providing tips for research, style and sparkling ideas!

„I’ve got a splendid idea! Now I’m going to turn it into a book!“ – So far, so good. So, there is this gripping idea you have in mind –  your story is set, its characters are virtually living and breathing in your head. So much so that all the pages are practically written up to the very last word, period and all?  Well, a serious case of acute “author-it is” is a rare enough condition, and certainly one that nobody would want a cure for, so good for you! But as even the best of storytellers are sometimes finding themselves struggling with a plot, and you rank among those of us mere mortals who could use a hand in starting off your writing career, fear not – we at novum publishing got you covered!

That said, it might not come as too big of a surprise that the question “How to write a book?” is ranking right on top of the list of the most pressing questions that writers-to-be can have. So many spend years and years searching for inspiration, dedicate endless time and energy on the quest for the one sparkling idea for their very first, very own book.

And if the literary muse does lean in for a salvaging kiss eventually, suddenly another problem appears – and it is right there, on paper. Or maybe it is not, and that’s the thing: there is no critic more harsh or more tough in its judgment in the entire literary scene than the blank page.  Pristinely white, and terrifying in its emptiness, it can paralyze any author with ease – pen in hand.

Romance, thriller, murder story or epic fantasy complete with dragons, knights and all? The right choice of genre is key!

Before you delve deep into the waters of writing and explore the depths of your imagination, looking for new and unknown treasures to unearth, it is wise to identify and eliminate some potential sources of errors that are known for having brought down many a great literary predecessor. It is for that reason that novum publishing has chosen to treat those very first stumbling blocks in the second edition of their series “A Beginner’s Guide to Writing”. Join us and read along to find the best ways to combat literary inhibitions and to finally answer the ever-so vexing question:” „Where to start when all you want is to start?”

How to write a book:

1)  Own your topic!
Before getting too carried away on your writing journey, literally turning your keyboard into a virtuoso instrument while typing to the rhythm of the hyperboles of literature, you should find out from which genres and topics you can draw enough endurance for a writing journey of such proportions. It may be an honorable endeavor to fill footsteps matching the size of literary giants like J.K.Rowling or J.R.R.Tolkien, for sure – yet, for those who already struggle to fill the grocery list with new items it might be commendable to venture into other genres. To find out which category suits you and your personality best – be it fantasy, detective story, novel, historic fiction, romance or biography – is best found out in the process of honest self-reflection. It might be helpful to ask yourself which categories you find yourself drawn to the most in movies. Your personal interests can of course also be a splendid source for a neatly woven story. Your own personality is most helpful with drawing out a storyboard: So, for those gifted with a naturally curious character, genres such as biographies and thrillers, who require lots of research, might just prove to be their perfect match.  Confirmed romantics should best build their castles in the skies of (romance-) novels and fiction. If you find yourself still on the lookout for your preferred genre, you might try schooling your powers of observation. Acquiring and/or naturally having an eye for the finer proceedings in this world has broadened many a horizon. Never to discount personal experience as stable literary columns for the architecture of any book! On the one hand, the writing process also offers a possibility to free oneself from personal dead weight by simply shifting it by putting it down to paper. On the other hand, the coming to terms and processing of your own personal experiences is, in fact, pretty much inevitable. Many popular authors, such as Paulo Coelho, have made their personal spheres only really accessible to a broad audience through their books.

If you think you do not know how to write a book, turn to your intuition – it most probably knows exactly how!

If you think you don’t know how to write a book, turn to your intuition – it most probably knows exactly how!

2) Research: curiosity might kill the cat, but it creates the writer!
Even the best of stories will not be appealing if it is lacking in authenticity. Indeed, even the most ludicrous of fantasy tales stick to certain rules and a concept marked by stringency: anyone who ever read a work of fantastic fiction can attest to the fact that any fantasy world, or worlds, plural, that are depicted in a book have a certain logic to them. Complex proceedings in particular, the likes of which oftentimes occur in whodunnits and thrillers, require profound and thorough research. Indeed, the topics of an uttermost tricky variety, when put into creative writing, are not the ones born out of fantasy – no, they are the ones based on reality and thus are known to the public. Writers who send their protagonists on a leisurely, yet melancholic stroll through Dublin’s bar scene should at least have heard of the iconic “Temple Bar”, to give an example. Depicting a well-known sightseeing hotspot and contorting it with words, wearing it to a nub in the process, is facing the very real danger of coming under the fire of one’s audience. In order to escape this DIN-shaped contact surface, diligent writers should conscientiously study locations, chronological aspects and names, as well as the classic stereotypes. This is where postmodern authors have a clear and resolute advantage compared to their classic predecessors. Thanks to the internet, travel to and research on location have become dispensable, if definitely not obsolete! Yet the world wide web offers a fast-paced alternative to travels that might prove difficult otherwise. Interviews, biographies and libraries offer fruitful sources for profound research.

3) Expression:
„To express that what one feels to be true, and in a true fashion, means to express oneself with those little witnesses willing to testify to your sense of self – it is this which constitutes a writer of  magnitude”, the aphorist  Georg Christoph Lichtenberg once stressed the authenticity, with which authors should write their books. Future writers who roam the internet on the search for the right gear to hone their literary style will probably come up with different opinions. Numerous forums of literature and guides for authors were designed to be of help in finding hints to what constitutes the allegedly ‘perfect’ style of writing. Passive sentence constructions, involved periods or altogether too embellished attributes are usually literary roads those sources advise to avoid taking. But whilst there are many areas in which they concur, there are even more aspects to fine writing that they differ in, and vehemently so: where some are in favor of a clear, to-the-point language, others prefer a more flowery and style. We at novum publishing abstain from advocating neither one or the other. The most important thing, not unlike in so many other (if not all!) aspects of life, to stay true to yourself – and your very own, very personal style. It oftentimes is exactly the mixture of charmingly rough edges and syntax that underline the individual character of any work of literature. Really, what would the worst-case scenario be? Drowning unseen in the great mass of freshly-printed literature? Well, the odds of that happening are definitely less high if you stick to your guns – or, in this case, pens!

To this effect, we at novum publishing would like to leave you with a matching quote to our topic of „How to write a book“ :

„Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words.“

Mark Twain

You are currently writing a book or are on the verge of jotting down your first grand story? Writer and authors-to-be can find more information in our “Writer’s Lesson” section or in our “Informations for New Authors”, which can be requested on our homepage free of charge!

Let your keyboard run free,

Yours,
novum publishing.

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