To write or not to write?

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Eagerness to write and a hesitation to start.

Answers from Elena Ornig

I have met many new writers who agonized over their eagerness to write and a hesitation to start. The biggest problem for them was the structure of a book. Sure, I can understand it very well. One cannot build a house without a structural outline, and one cannot cook a meal without following a general recipe to achieve the great outcome. Yes, to write a book you need to understand and know the structure of a book. But this is not a problem because the structure of a book is quite simple and in current time – very flexible, particularly in creating electronic books.

Let’s just follow the main aspects of the structure to make sure it’s not a problem, rather a resolution to overcome any hesitation.

First remember that the average size of a printed book is about 250 pages (approximately 130,000 words) and less for electronic books as they are associated with downloading data. The average recommended size for electronic book is 120 – 140 pages (approximately 70,000 words). This is easy to remember, to comprehend or to work out as one page, on average, is 500 – 520 words.

Do not worry in the beginning about a front cover design and title page; rather pay serious attention to the actual title or simply the name of your book. You can choose it straight away as a final name or as a working name in the beginning. This will be a quite significant part of your book that will carry the initial interest of a publisher and reader in the future of your book.  However, keep in mind that the publisher might ask you to change your title in order to use a new “better” title as a marketing tool. Just remember that the title page is not a book cover. Frankly, do not worry about the whole book structure at all because a publisher will edit and finalize this for you if your book is chosen.

Your next important consideration is to concentrate on the chapters and not an actual table of contents or simply “Contents”.  The chapters are the main part of your book. At that stage all you have to do is assess the quantity of the chapters, which are related to the length of your book, and the names of your chapters. The names (titles of the chapters) are very important because they will be your guide, the publisher’s guide and future readers’ guide to the content of your book.  Even if you just write the indicative descriptions of what each chapter will be about – you will stop hesitating and start writing your book straight away.

When you have a clear comprehension of the size of your book, the title of your book and the quantity and names or indicative description of your book – you will have the main skeleton of your future book. So, the size, the title and the chapters’ quantity and names (or indicative descriptions) should be enough for anyone to stop hesitating and start creating.

However, many authors have found it easier if they first write a short summary of their future book. The reason for this is logical. With a short summary of a few answers to a couple of main questions you will have the basis of the main body of your book. This summary will help you in the actual process of shaping your book.  The questions I would answer are:

  • What does my book talk about and where will my story take a reader? [Genre, main topic of my thoughts and discussions, main characters, plot (main conflict and resolution), time (year, era or future), place (city, country or different planet) and author’s style (formal, humorous, sarcastic or serious)]
  • Why is this book very special in comparison to others (What great benefits, catchy surprises or classical answers will this book contain as a best available source of information or entertainment in the market)?

With just short answers to these questions you will have the main ingredients for your book and a good starting base for writing. Next, you just have to start to write as much as you can and not worry about anything else.

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.