Your First Book Is For You

How NOT To Write Your First Book:
  • Research all the word processing programs--Word, OpenOffice, GoogleDocs, Scrivener--and buy the book on your chosen software so that you know how to use it inside and outside. {Just use what you have.}
  • Research how a book should be formatted--double-spaced, fonts, chapters in the middle of the page, page numbers in book format to make it easier to print, of course. {Just start writing.}
  • Determine your ending word count. {Don't worry about this until you've got more than 10K written.}
  • Pick the perfect title. {By the time you finish your book, it may not even make sense.}
  • Spend hours on BabyNames.com to find the perfect name for your characters depending on ethnicity, geographic location, date of birth, and how bohemian their parents are. {Just name everybody Will and Elizabeth and change it when you're done.}
  • Type twenty pages worth of notes on the world your characters live in--their family, their ancestors, their pets, their pets' ancestors, their technology, their clothing, their hairstyles, and their language. {Just make it up as you go along.}
Some of you are screaming at me right now. What! But we must build our worlds! We must have good titles! Yes, you must. But here's the thing: your first book is an experiment. Through writing it, you find out what works and what doesn't work. You find out what you really should have done at the beginning...and what was a total waste of time. You really shouldn't expect your first book to get published. Really. Sorry. But really.

Your first book is for you. And the only goal you should have is to finish it.

After you write your first book, you have a right to break some of these rules. You can pick a title. You can spend hours on world-building and world-history. You should have a word count goal. And maybe you've decided that TextEdit really doesn't cut it and you need to buy Microsoft Word {or download OpenOffice for free...just saying}.

1 comment:

Shelley Sly said...

Yup, your first book IS an experiment. I can't believe I queried my first book... only the second draft... it was painful.

In a way, a first draft is like this, too. Just sit and write. Don't worry so much (easier said than done!) That first draft will most likely change a lot, anyway.