Think before you write

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“The task of a writer consists of being able to make something out of an idea.” – Thomas Mann.

Answers from Elena Ornig

For a long period of time from initial human’s need of recording important information, the writing activity has become the vital instrument of generating meaning.

Obviously, the written language and the spoken language are not the same. So, when you write, you have to take into consideration the differences between the literary (written) language and non-literary (spoken) language which you surely remember from school lessons.

At this point, I would like to bring to the writer’s attention an extra matter.

When you write a story, narrative or novel, you must clearly understand who you write it for.  When you write you have all the time you need to be precise, deliberate and sophisticated; therefore, take your time and analyse what is the purpose of your written creation. What statement do you want to manifest to the world? What specific knowledge do you want to share with others? What questions do you want to bring to the reader’s table for discussion? What problems do you seek to solve? What emotions do you want to trigger? What opinion do you want to express, and so on.  You must remember that by writing you do not just generate a book as a source of information – you formulate a meaning.

I have witnessed many appraisals of written prose and it seems like the only question that many new writers are struggling to answer is why and to whom are they addressing their books.  It is not just the reader’s age that writers have to identify. It is the reader’s common and general knowledge of the chosen topic and the world general view of it that a writer must take into consideration. If you are a writer, you must be able to answer a few important questions before commencing the writing process:

  • What is the main theme of your book?
  • What is your own personal opinion, philosophical view or benefit to others’ conclusions on a chosen subject?
  • What are the specific points that you will argue for or against?
  • What are the issues you will be addressing in your book?
  • Is your book meant to make a conclusion, statement or trigger open discussion?

As things go, without a clear understanding of what for, to whom and for what purpose you are writing, you will never be competent to convey the meaning to your readers. You will not be able to effectively communicate with your future audience.

Without knowing the answers to the above questions – you, as a writer, will struggle with finding your specific voice, or have difficulty in successfully manifesting your personal beliefs and values, clearly.  Without those answers you will find it difficult to reach a significant expression of what you, via your protagonist and antagonist, stand for.  Therefore it will be hard for you to create believable characters.

Ahy Character

What ever your character might be.

Think about your readers who will dwell upon your writing. What sort of experience they will obtain with your book?  If your book is meaningless – just foresee the frustration and confusion of your readers instead of their memorable enjoyment. Therefore, think before you write.

Please, determine these questions, write them down, investigate them and find the answers. It will benefit you to pinpoint genre, to structure your book purposefully, to choose correct settings, to profile believable characters, to write captivating dialogues, and more importantly it will help you to communicate with your readers with clarity and meaning.

Once you have that definitiveness of what your theme and purpose is, you will be well equipped to take the next step – to structure your book, to choose the right genre, to find your own voice and tone, and to create convincing characters. Consequently, as a result you will have the means for effective communication with your readers. You will be attuned to start a writing process.

Below are the remainder of the main aspects in the process of literature writing, but first take a couple of notes.

A genre is a category of a literature or simply a form based on stylistic criteria. For example: comedy, tragedy, epic, prose, poetry or drama is the general genre classification.  Few genres can be based on reader’s age such as adult or children categories. Numerous of the genre forms have sub-categories like crime, erotic, fantasy or horror. Specific genres have their own literary techniques like author’s voice or simply structural aspects of writing style, a tone which has an effect of how the meaning is presented or settings which will help you to acquaint unmistakable background information.

A theme is a moral of a written story or event (a point you wish to make or a lesson you wish to teach). For example: “Every action has consequences”, “Racism is degradation”, “Destiny is unavoidable”, “And nothing is accidental”,” Happiness is not a commodity”, “Real love conquers all” and so on. The same theme can be validated in different genres because a genre will only change the writing style, the settings and the tone (author’s attitude). However, you don’t have to follow just one theme. You can introduce a few different themes (sub-themes) to support or argue against the major one.

Aspects of the writing process:

Traditionally, the writing process has five specific steps to be followed:  prewriting, drafting, revising, editing and publishing.

Prewriting is a crucial step for every writer because it helps to clarify who are your readers, therefore what your content will include and how well you will communicate with your readers. This step based on planning and research.

Drafting, which I personally call the summary of a book, is as creative as a brainstorming process and it helps to outline the final product – the future book. It assists you to organize your thoughts about the beginning, middle and the end of your book. Drafting helps outline the plot and sub-plots; it guides you to identify initial settings, directs you to choose unequivocal characters and when to introduce them, sights where to be general or specific. This process also administers the writer in the process of unifying key words and sentence structure.

Revision means examining your work and finding the flows; the weaknesses and imperfections in the original proposition, structure of arguments, and in the overall strength of the draft.

Editing means the accurate modification of a written material – the final correction before publishing. Editing means the improvement of overall sense of your complete work. Note, that even after editing, you still need a proofreading that provides a final correction of spelling and punctuation mistakes or errors.

The last step is a publishing or simply the production process that results in making your book available to the readers. Publishing has many steps: configuration of a book cover design, actual production of a book (printing or its electronic equivalent), marketing (advertising and promotion) and of course distribution of a final product.

And as the very famous British science fiction author of ‘A Space Odyssey’, Arthur C Clarke said: “I don’t pretend we have all the answers. But the questions are certainly worth thinking about.”

My warmest regards,
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Written by Elena Ornig

Managing Director of Publishing Company "Julia Sophistique Pty Ltd". Committee member of Australian Computer Association GC Chapter. Member of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Member of the Chamber of Commerce & Industry Queensland. Member of the IT Forum Gold Coast. Sponsor of the Helensvale Writers' Group, Gold Coast. Committee member of the Gold Coast Writers Association Honored VIP Member of STANFORD WHO'S WHO in America. Publisher, writer and blogger.


One comment
  1. Hi Rodney!
    If you are writing in your diary every day – it will be easy for you to add reasonable amount of a content to your blog. The actual managing of weblog is not require massive amount of work. However, if you will start to sell something on your blog or organise events it will require more time.
    My warmest regards,
    Elena Ornig

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