Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Guest Post: Erik Therme - Tips on writing books

Thank you Erik for your time today. I hope everyone enjoy's his guest post. Don't forget to check out his book Resthaven!

“Any tips on writing a book?”

This is, without a doubt, one of the most common questions I’m asked. I don’t think a week goes by where I don’t come across someone who has either A.) Started writing a book, or B.) Dreamed of writing a book. And why not? We all have stories to tell, and the physical act of writing is nothing more than putting a pen to paper, or typing words into a computer. Right?

There’s more to it than that, of course, but for this conversation I’m going to assume you have a basic grasp of language, some natural talent, and a general idea of how to use punctuation. If so, I’ll kick things off with two pieces of advice before we get started.

First and foremost: Never, ever begin the process by thinking, “I’m going to write a 300 page book.” That’s way too daunting. And depressing. Instead, sit down and think, “I’m going to write today, and it might be only one page—or even one paragraph—and that’s OK.” And it really is. Life is busy. Paying your mortgage probably isn’t dependent upon completion of your book, so there’s no reason to rush. Writing isn’t a race. I’ve been writing since the age of fifteen, and it still takes me at least two years to finish a novel. Go at your own pace.

Secondly (and equally important): First drafts are a mess. They’re supposed to be. This is the time to pour everything onto the page to see what works and what doesn’t. Don’t be afraid to write badly. Just get it down and don’t look back. If I get to a scene that’s causing me problems, I’ll simply write INSERT CHASE SCENE HERE and keep going. Seriously. I’ve done this. And so have other authors. It’s allowed. Everything can be fixed later.

Still with me? Awesome. Now comes the fun part: Telling your story. There are a million things I could say here, but I’m going to narrow it down to three simple “guidelines” that have always worked for me. I have no doubt you’ll eventually forge your own guidelines; but until then, these should help you stay on the path.


ENTER THE SCENE LATE & LEAVE THE SCENE EARLY

In the original draft of my debut mystery, Mortom, my main characters discover the rat and key (the clues that drive the story) on page 30. When I did my rewrite, I realized that everything up to that point wasn’t really needed, so I “entered the scene late” by cutting out 25 pages, which led my characters to discover the clues on page 5. The beginning of the book immediately improved, and the reader was now immersed into the story much more quickly. I then ended the chapter “early” by cutting right after my characters find one last (shocking) clue, which—in theory—left the reader wanting to come back for more.


RAISE THE STAKES & CONTINUE TO BUILD THEM

This rule came heavily into play with my second novel, Resthaven. In my first draft, my characters’ main conflict was to escape a locked building while being chased by the antagonist—a creepy, old dude who is out to get them. The story worked OK, but it still felt like something was lacking. In my next draft, my characters find a young boy hiding inside; so in addition to trying to escape, they also have to keep the boy out of danger. Adding the boy “raised” the stakes tremendously and helped pull the story together in a more fulfilling way. From there I continued to “build” the stakes by throwing endless obstacles in their path, until there wasn’t only the possibility of injury, but also of death.


EVERYTHING MUST SERVE THE STORY

This sounds like a fairly obvious statement, but it can be a hard rule to follow—even for established authors. In my upcoming novel, there’s a scene between two characters that has great writing (in my opinion, anyway), fun banter, excellent scene description . . . but no real function. The scene doesn’t advance the story or add anything to the characters’ motivations, so there was no reason to keep it. These are the hardest scenes to cut, but once they’re gone, it always makes for a stronger read.


And there you have it. All of my infinite wisdom boiled down into a handful of paragraphs. Writing a book isn’t easy, but when you finally type those two magical words—THE END—it’s all worth it. Until, of course, it’s time to begin the rewrite.


But that’s a conversation for another day.

1 comment:

Khaled Ragab said...

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
نقدم لكم شركة هيثم كلين للتنظيف بالاحساء نحن نعمل فى الاحساء منذ اكثر من سنوات كثرة فى مجال التنظيف بالاحساء اتصل الان 0559366021
شركة هيثم كلين
عميلى العزيز اذا كنت تريد شركة تعمل فى مجال التنظيف بالاحساء نحن نعمل فى مجال التنظيف بالاحساء نحن الافضل والارخص اذا اتصل الان على افضل شركة تنظيف بالاحساء وكما تقدم الشركة خدمة التنظيف الفلل وخدمة تنظيف الشقق بالاحساء اتصل بنا على افضل شركة تنظيف فلل وشقق بالاحساء وكما تقدم الشركة خدمات كثيرة جدا فى مجال التنظيف اتصل نصلك فى ايه مكان فى الاحساء نحن نعمل على تنظيف الفلل والشقق والمجالس والسجاد والكنب والمسابح والمنازل وغير ذالك من الخدمات افضل شركة تنظيف بالاحساءهذه هى شركة هيثم كلين للتنظيف بالاحساء نحن نمتلك عمال مبدعون ولديهم الخبرة الكبيرة فى مجال التنظيف بالاحساء اتصل الان على 0559366021 .
بعض الحشرات يصغر حجمها بالشكل الذى لا يرى بالعين المجردة فإن امثل حل للتخلص منها هو التواصل مع شركة مكافحة حشرات بالاحساء والتى تقضى على كافة انواع الحشرات الزاحفة والطائرة وتقدم كافة خدماتها لكافة مناطق السعودية وخاصة بالاحساء حيث ترسل الشركة مندوبيها الخبراء الى العملاء فى الوقت الذى يريدونه وبالسرعه التى يرغبون بها , لذلك فان شركتنا بالاحساء هى اكثر الشركات السعودية مصداقية فى مجال مكافحة الحشرات ورش المبيدات وبأرخص الاسعار فضلا عن اعتمادها على ادوات تكنولوجية حديثه قادرة على إابادة الحشرات مهما اختبئت , فضلا عن استخدامنا لمبيدات حشرية قوية جدا قادره على ابادة الحشرات تماما دون رجعة اتصل بنا على افضل شركة مكافحة حشرات بالاحساءشركة هيثم كلين لمكافحة الحشرات بالاحساء هى الافضل والارخص بالاحساء.

• لدينــا خدمه المكافحة والرش … فلدينـــا جميع انواع الخدمـــات المكافحة والرش باحدث الاجهزه والمصـــل الالمـــانى الاصـــلى فنحن افضــل شركة فى المملكة العربيه السعوديه لدينا خدمات المكافحة والرش وهى ::: شركة رش مبيدات ::: شركة مكافحة حشرات ::: شركة مكافحة البق ::: شركة مكافحة الدفان ::: شركة مكافحة النمل الابيض ::: شركة مكافحة الفئــران ::: اجعــــل منزلك الان بدون حشرات فنحن افضـــل شركة ممكن ان تجدها لدينـــا ضمــان حقيقى فى مجال المكافحة والرش ومتابعه دوريه للعمــيل
• لدينــــا خدمـــة التســـليك المجـــارى ::: ومجال شفط البيارات ::: وخدمــة وايت شفط بيارات ::: لو تعانى من مشكله انسداد المجارى فعليك ان تتصـــل بنا الان الشركة لديها الخبره فى مجال تسليك المجارى ولدينـــا احدث الاجهزه فى مجال التسليك ولدينا احدث السيارات المتخصصه فى مجال نقل المتخلفات البيارات
• لدينـــا خدمـــة كشف التسربات ::: فنحن من افضـــل الشركات فى مجال كشف التسربات لان لدينا الايدى العامله المتخصصه فى مجال كشف التسربات لدينـــا احدث اجهزه الكشف ولدينــا الايدى العامله المدربه فى مجال الكشف افضلشركة تسليك مجارى بالاحساء
اتصل بنا على افضل شركة فى الاحساء هى شركة هيثم كلين للتنظيف بالاحساء

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