About Writing, Life and Writing About Life

How to Plan a Book

Well, following the good advice I had yesterday, I have captured my fiction book idea on paper, and am back to focussing on my Self Publishing download. Today’s section is about planning what will go in your book. Which is quite apt really as that is what I did last night, albeit a rough sketch.

“If you are writing a novel, you may not want to do much planning, you may just want to write your book and see how it turns out. In that case you will want to revisit it afterwards and write a synopsis (kind of a chapter by chapter summary) that will let you check if you have a logical progression through the story, and if you have a proper ‘beginning, middle and end’ structure.
For everyone else, planning the book is probably a wise move. You might want to make a mind-map, as I did for this download, which will help you get your structure in place. I did this on Xmind with a free account and you can see the results here.

It was a simple matter of breaking the subject down into the major steps in the sequence and then determining what needed to be in each step. For a different kind of book there may be major themes or a division based on time. You can play with different structures to see what makes most sense.
If you have lots of ideas of things you want to include in your book, you could write them on post-it notes and then move them from one section to another (and try out different organisation structures) to see what makes the most sense. This approach would probably be ideal if you already have a lot of material, for instance if you are creating a book from blog posts you have already written.
Make sure your structure delivers on what you have promised in your marketing material and offers the benefits you identified.
If you have material or ideas that don’t fit nicely into your structure, perhaps they aren’t part of this book at all, but rather a sequel or follow-on book. You may also need to consider breaking down your book if it is going to be altogether too long. Bear in mind that with self-publishing you will be looking at a cost per page for printing, and there will be a maximum cost your market will bear, so shorter may turn out to be sweeter for you. You can adjust your structure as you write, but starting with a plan is likely to help your writing go more smoothly.”

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Comments on: "How to Plan a Book" (3)

  1. Wow – this is amazing, Anne. Thank you so much for sharing 🙂

  2. […] last section of the Publish Your Book download I shared was about planning your book. The step after that is of course to write your book! After that I’m suggesting that you […]

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