How to write a book – the short honest truth

Every author I know gets asked the same question: How do you write a book?

It’s a simple question, but it causes unexpected problems. On the one hand, it’s nice to have people interested in something I do. If I told people I fixed toasters for a living, I doubt I’d get many inquires. People are curious about writing and that’s cool and flattering. Rock on.

But on the other hand, the hand involving people who ask because they have an inkling to do it themselves, is that writing books is a topic so old and so well trod by so many famous people that anyone who asks hoping to discover secret advice is hard to take seriously.

Here’s the short honest truth: 20% of the people who ask me are hoping to hear this – Anyone can write a book. They want permission. The truth is you don’t need any. There is no license required. No test to take. Writing, as opposed to publishing, requires almost no financial or physical resources. A pen, paper and effort are all that has been required for hundreds of years. If VoltaireMarquis de Sade and Marina Nemat could write in prison, then you can do it in suburbia, at lunch, at work, or after your kids go to sleep. You will always find excuses if you want them and you probably do.

If you want to write, kill the magic: a book is just a bunch of writing. Anyone can write a book. It might suck or be incomprehensible, but so what: it’s still a book. Nothing is stopping you right now from collecting all of your elementary school book reports, or drunken napkin scribbles, binding them together at Kinkos for $20, slapping a title on the cover, and qualifying as an author. Want to write a good book? Ok, but get in line since most pro authors are still trying to figure that out too.

Writing a good book, compared to a bad one, involves one thing. Work. No one wants to hear this, but if you take two books off any shelf, I’ll bet my pants the author of the better book worked harder than the author of the other one. Call it effort, study, practice, whatever. Sure there are tricks here and there, but really writing is a kind of work.

Getting published. 30% of the time the real thing people are asking is how do you find a publisher. As if there wasn’t a phone book or, say, an Internet-thingy where you can look this stuff up. Writers-market is literally begging to help writers find publishers. Many publishers, being positive on the whole idea of communication, put information on how to submit material on their website. And so do agents. The grand comedy of this is how few writers follow the instructions. That’s what pisses off all the editors: few writers do their homework.

The sticking point for most people who want to be authors is, again, the work. They want to hear a secret that skips over the work part. Publishers are rightfully picky and they get pitched a zillion books a day. It takes effort to learn the ropes, send out smart queries, and do the research required to both craft the idea for a book, and then to propose it effectively. So while writing is a rejection prone occupation, even for the rock-stars, finding a publisher is not a mystery. In fact the whole game is self-selective: people who aren’t willing to do the work of getting published are unlikely to be capable of the work required to finish a decent manuscript.

But that said – it’s easier today to self-publish than ever. People look down on self-publishing, but I don’t see why. When people buy books it’s not like they care who published them (“Oh, I don’t read Random House books, sorry”): they only care who recommended or reviewed the book. But again, our tragically unpopular companion, work, is required to self-publish so many prefer to keep asking writers how they got published instead of just doing it themselves. I self published my last book, and you can read what I learned from it here.

Being famous and wealthy: Now this is the kicker. About 50% of the time the real thing people want to know is how to become a famous millionaire rock-star author person. As if a) I qualified, b) I could explain how it happened, or c) I’d be willing to tell.

First, this assumes writing is a good way to get rich. I’m not sure how this lie started but writing, like most creative pursuits, has always been a less than lucrative lifestyle. Even if a book sells well, the $$$ to hour ratio will be well below your average corporate job, without the health benefits, sick days, nor the months where you can coast by without your boss noticing. These days people write books after they’re famous, not before. And if the only books you read are bestsellers, well, you have a myopic view of the publishing world. Over 100k books are published in the US annually, and few sell more than a few thousand copies. What causes books to sell may have little to do with how good a book is, as we’ve all been mystified by the abysmal bestsellers and surprised by amazing books few seem to know about. Either way, to justify the effort you’ll need reasons other than cash.

Discouraged yet? Good. Here is the upside: I love writing books. I love reading books. I love the entire notion that people can make things up in their mind and then make them real on a page, for the pleasure or utility of someone else. That’s awesome. If you like writing, if you enjoy the bittersweetness of chasing words into sentences, then you might love writing books too, despite, or even because of, everything I said above. If so, get to work – now :)

Here are some practical next steps:

[Light editing: 10/7/2019]


1,298 Responses to “How to write a book – the short honest truth”

  1. laakbaar

    Thanks for the lecture, but in the end you came through with information.
    Putting words one after the other isn’t the problem, but my problem is, how do I keep track of my characters plots etc. I am not very organised, so maybe I should follow a course in ‘how do I get organised for dummies’
    Yep, that could be it. But then again, maybe writers have that same problem when they start and they can give you some pointers. So you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Ah well, thanks for the info, and yes, I probably be a mediocre writer, but what the hell, the rest of my careers were mediocre too. ;o)

    1. Suz

      Use a white board LAAKBAAR
      Write the character names and lines interconnecting etc etc – SNAP instant resource for the forgetful

  2. Harry

    I really like the way you’ve projected the story about the authors and how they can write a book. I am trying to write a novel. I am trying to find a way that I could do the best.
    I’ve see about this website in a press release. Can you know about this? they said, they have new model for publishing. !!

  3. Starling Grey

    first off: *bookmark page*

    second: while I imagine you get this all the time (scrap that, I can read… while I KNOW you get this all the time) I kind of just want to say thank you. Your article really made me think and berate myself for my own arrogance in thinking I could get it all right the first time around. The sense of humor and the solid advice really encouraged me to re-evaluate my writing process – I have an idea and I have the skill and yet I’ve been working on the same novel for two years due to constant (imagined) writers block. Now I realize that I just hadn’t figured out my process yet… After reading your article[s] I went ahead and did some more research and I’ve written more in the last two hours than the last six months combined – and, shockingly, of better quality too! I felt so much pressure to make this novel ‘the best’ that I forgot the basics of being a writer: the actual ‘writing’! So, again, thank you.

  4. Kendall

    hi I have been writing a book, I cant write it out because it is too long, and I was wondering if you could give me any advice at all.

  5. shakeia beasley

    im trying to just get some insite on writing i have so much to write about i dont know where to start

  6. Gokhan

    Writing a book is a process that requires skill. After especially writing a book and getting it to be published and getting your book for a scenario than a movie to be made for it, is a perfect solution. Can you imagine your book in become live as a screenplay for Hollywood? That would be great. It’s not so hard just discover the ways how to.

  7. Gokhan

    Writing your own book than getting it published. There may be people interested in making live your book to be a story for a movie. Why not your book become a scenario for Hollywood? You can search out for ways your book to be a screenplay for Hollywood and start your Hollywood script writing career.

  8. Anthony M. Veller Sr


    Thank you for this page. I have been thinking about writing a book for several years. I asked myself every question you answer here, questions which kept me from even attempting to write. Your post is the fire under my ass I needed to get moving. Really excited to let down my guard, open my mind, and create something from it. Thanks Again!

    Tony Sr.

  9. Gail

    I finally decided to write a book about my life after lots of encouragement. My life story makes the movie “Precious” look like a day at the beach. So, as you can imagine putting all those memories down is, well, really tough. But what I am curious about is this…when writing a life story that is true, must I be concerned with a plot? Or should I just write down the story, then go back through it and fill in more details so a reader can feel and see through my eyes….this would be my first book…ever. I am discovering it is nothing like a college term paper or research project.
    But what advice can you offer me on writing my true story? I will worry about publishing later, I just want to get a good start on writing my story, first.

    Thanks for any advice you can offer.

    1. James S.

      I’m by no means an expert, but I’d say approach this as you would with any kind of novel – it’s harsh, but the reader will only care about the troubles of your life is the book has a point; a storyline, as it were. Try to construct an outline of what contributes towards acheiving the “end goal” (whatever that may be), and what obstacles the protagonist (in this case, you) have to avoid. It isn’t vital that you move theough events chronologically, as several well written accounts have extremely lapsing time frames. Never Let Me Go is fictional, but is the only example I can think of at 2 am. However, ensure every part of the story either allows the character to be brought further towards its (your) goal, or further away from it. Leave out parts that do not contribute to the storyline or theme or message of the novel. If you’re struggling with writing down, just sift through memories, and write down emotions; even emotions you may not have experienced at the time, but experience when playong back those particular memories. Emotion is what will captivate a reader, as if they cannot link with the protagonist (you) on a personal level, the situations the character is placed in will be of much lesser interest to the reader. I would indeed advise you write down the story, proceeding to go back and fill in the details, but ensure the storyline has no weak points. Once the reader loses interest, it is often extremely difficult to recaptivate them. I hope this helped :)

  10. joann zangara

    i lived a rough and crazy life and then turned it around i have 6 kids i drug dealed to take care of them for 23 years at onetime i thought i was black hating white people when im white my dad abused me well at 43 my mind snapped well i turned it around and going to school theres alot more to tell but if i wrote a book about this life i lead would it sell is it worth it thank you please let me no

  11. Dannie

    I’ve always had a question. Are there any books of just thoughts? I’ve been wanting to write a book about some life experiences for months now, but I don’t want to write an autobiography. I think that just writing thoughts would be a little silly. What do you think? Hopefully you get to reply and thanks.

  12. Alexander

    I am thinking of writing a book. At the same time, I am wondering if what I intend to write about have already been written by someone else. And I guess that is what discourages me. To put so much effort into something and be bummed out later to find out that someone already had those thoughts. I want to be able to write something that no one has ever thought about before. Or a perspective that no has thought about. But how am I supposed to find out?

  13. olga

    I will be starting my book soon and with time and effort I will release it out to the world. Most of my life I’ve written poems, free writes, and many different forms of creative writing. Throughout high school and while achieving my associates degree I had many friends and colleagues come up to me and state that I have a true talent in writing, once my pen hits paper I get an overwhelming feeling to pour out all that is captured within. My only concern or question would be if I should stick to creative writing or a novel or a auto biography.

  14. kai

    I guess it’s good that I feel inspired by this because despite all the downsides, I really could care less. I still need to write this book.

  15. Christy Leigh

    thank you for taking the time to my question. my book is about my life everyone to tell me to write about it because of what I have been through and I’m still living life has been nothing ever happened. should I make a fake character or real people that know me say oh my god
    that’s something you would see in a movie
    so should I turn it into a book I could so use your advice. thank you

    Christy Leigh

  16. Tom

    It’s very refreshing in this day and age to read the truth from someone who has lived it. I knew nothing about the writing career before reading your article. Very informative and it has the very strong smell of truth to it. Thank you

  17. Justin Sandy

    I am working with a group right now that is writing my book with me in 4 months. It is a series of 4-6 hour long interviews and a questionnaire that brings out my individual journey, making it into a compelling story to read.

    I would never be able to have the time to write a book without them. If you’re interested give me a shout and I will make the connection.

  18. kelly simmons

    Book ideas can come out of anything. But the worst you can do is forssing yourself to think of one. Give it time and you will get an idea eventually.

  19. Avery Black

    Hello there. I have started my book, im up to 18 thousand words but I need small ideas to go in between the next smaller climax snd the next, do you have any ideas for me? Im currently having writers block :P thank you.
    And also, im only 14 to you think that the publishers will reject me because of my age?

  20. site

    Thanks for finally talking about >How to write a book – the short honest truth <Loved it!

  21. sir john

    Informative post. I am impressed from your writing style. Useful for the readers. Thanks for shearing

  22. Ayah

    This is my first time reading this.(Quite good information from it). I am writing a book.And I needed help. I need more websites for how to write a book please reply so as I can finish my book.Thanks.

  23. michael angelo roque

    I like the way you say the phrase: anyone can write. it gives me motivation to continue my plans of writing my first book. I been passionate about the topic for 11 eleven years and I accumulated a lot of ideas. Now I am ready for my first draft. thanks and more power. I will promote you in my book.

  24. Tom Phillips

    Best way to write a book is to convert your negative experience into something positive people could learn from. Make it a fiction book, make it a non-fiction, but write your first books with a pseudonym, because they will be bad!

    Writing is a skill which comes only from writing, not from reading.

  25. Ante

    Hey, man. I read most pages of what you wrote on this blog. First of all thank you for sharing and trying to help.

    I am 21 and am writing a sci-fi story which currently counts 22 pages on my laptop. What worries me is that it took me a month to write that and I wrote for an hour a day. You say a book takes 1000 hours to write whereas I can, at this pace, finish 250 pages in 350 hrs. I am definitely going to read it once it’s done and change some things, but I’m still worried I might not be putting enough effort into it.
    I have good support from friends which can’t wait to read it once it’s done. After they do, they will give me pointers on how to additionally improve it.
    I will worry about publishing once all alterations have been made. My dad has some experience with this.
    Also, I am writing in English which isn’t my native language (I also read in English so it’s easier for me this way).

    Anyway, I would very much appreciate your input on this. If you don’t answer, I understand.

    Best regards.

    1. Scott

      Congrats on your progress. You seem very self aware of your pace and your process. That’s very important.

      The numbers I provided are very rough estimates. Everyone is different. More importantly revising a first draft into a second draft or a third can take considerable time. You may realize you need to rewrite chapters or change the plot which can take considerable time. But there is no way to prevent that from happening. You can’t know what changes you need to make in a second draft until you’ve finished the first one!

      Don’t worry about effort. There’s always time to put more effort in. Each draft you write, and get feedback on, will invite plenty of opportunities to put more effort in.

      Publishing is the easy part. Look into CreateSpace and similar services. Writing the book itself is far harder than the process of publishing.

      Good luck. Drop me a line when you finish the book.

  26. Gene Hubble

    I’m interested in writing a motivational, self-help type book based on the bible. I know I’d be writting to a select group of people, namely Christians, but hopefully certain others as well. As you might imagine, I have all the resources readily available, which (if you believe in the bible), shouldn’t come into question. I have an idea for the basic format for the book and what it will contain. My question for you is, have you ever written this type of book, and if so, is it basically the same as any other book? Also, can you recommend a site where I can find free instructions for structuring a book? Thank you very much.

  27. steve mottern

    I 65 and have had a very interesting life a need to write about , for my family, my friends, and mostly myself.They know nothing of me as I never did my parents and dont want it to all end that way.any information would be greatly appreciated.Steve

  28. Daniel Kronmueller

    I have just started after long time writing a book. Well my interest is more in fantasy, which you mentioned is far more difficult to compete in, but I will write anyway and do not really care if I ever publish or not. I find it quite easy writing as soon you have a beginning. However I got stuck on the third page and realized that I need an outline to get some directions to were my story should lead and help or guide me in writing the story. I have to admit that my grammar was never particular good. I wished now that I paid more attention at school. Anyway I would like to thank you for you valuable tips.

  29. anne

    Hi I am looking for some help to write a book about a situation that happened over many years. It involves corruption and eventually murder of my Dad. Obviously their was money involved. I have kept a very detailed manuscript of events dates, times, names, places and have many boxes of papers to back everything I say. This involves Courts and Judges, Bankers, Police, many Lawyers, Doctors and many other officials. This happened over many years and the events that took place are absolutely beyond crazy. All my friends say I really need to write a book but I do not know how just need some help. Let me know if you can come up with anything. Thank you very much….just to read some of the statements made by Judges is enough to make you wonder what kind of world we are living in. its truly at most a super sad story.

  30. ana

    Hi, first of all thank you for this article, I felt your words were honest. I really want to write books for children, I have few stories ready and I know I need a publisher of course, but my question is; what about the graphic, the illustrations? I have no idea how to get there, I have the idea of what type of illustration I want but I can’t do it my self. Is this part of the publisher to do or has to come from me? Please help me with some information and sorry if my question was a punch in the stomach :(
    Again thank you,
    Ana Q.

  31. Louie

    I want to write a book about my life. In doing so I also want to write about the people, brothers, aunts, parents and important people in my life that makes the book real. I want to tell of how I was mentally abused by my brothers and want to use my name and their names and dates so their children and family can really see how they really were. How they used people, cheated and lied growing up. Things that they could never know because it is before they were born. I also want to tell of the wonderful and good times. How their treatment of me gave me psychological problems and sexual identity. I want to expose them, for sake of a better word. I already have 15 chapters written. Now I have people telling me that even if it is true that I will be putting myself up for liable and slander law suits. It this true and is there anyway of skirting the issue.

  32. Sharita

    i’ve been writing a book now for 10 years and promised myself that it would be done this year. My problem is publishing it i have no clue. i love to writtting it is a passion i’ve had since i could remember.

  33. Kimberly McCarthy

    Your “Here are some practical next steps” links on your above website do not work, I would love to see them.

    1. Scott

      They should be working now. Site moved to a new host yesterday and there were still some kinks, but fixed.

  34. Amy

    See the thing is, I know what I want to write about. I know what to say and what I want out of it. The only thing is, I have no idea where to start. I have a story that I want to tell not really for a book, but maybe just to get out there. I just have no idea how to even begin.

    1. Scott

      It doesn’t matter where you begin. Unlike sculpture, you can always revise a written work. Start wherever, but start. It’s only after working on it for awhile that you’ll discover a better place to start and you can revise the draft so it starts from that new place.

  35. alley

    i enjoyed the information here on your site, however, as you can see i’m no writer
    i to am looking to write a book, but english and spelling have never been my strong suit. as well as probably being a little a.d.h.d to say the least doesent help!
    i’ve been kicking this idea around for a few years about my life, a book, and alot of people telling me a should write one because hands down it would be a best seller
    im not so sure about that? but yea, when i step outside myself and try and look in to my life, my past, and the fact im still here is kind of amazing,
    the book would be a true story-with all the things that make most great books or movies great, such as action,adventure,romance,addiction,violence,,sex,hardship,heartbreak,coming of age , crime , institutions, self-worth, gambleling and everyday suburbia all rolled into one, it could even be broken into several books with sequals or an ongoing story line…..???
    people sit in utter captivity when i tell them of my story, and i find that amazing because its just the way i was raised and the life ive led? its just everyday stuff to me.
    i guess im asking how to go about haveing a writer help me? i dont mind hard work but im thinking i need an experienced writer to put things in perspective and keep things in order etc….
    any info would be greatley appriciated
    please reply to my email as to what your thoughts are
    thank you,

  36. Sophie

    Hi, I’m 11. I want to be a author but I don’t know what to write about. I want to do Romance, Girly story’s, Sad story’s also Happy ones!
    I don’t know how to start it off.

    1. Lizzy

      Hey, Sophie. I was, (still am), like you, but I’m sixteen now. I’ve written more plotlines than I can remember. Most of them have failed to get past the second paragraph. You can write any book you want, but don’t give up if you fail at one story. Find a way around writers block/plothole or anything else in you way. Don’t give up or in. As for starting off, I always start, (after the pencil, paper, etc.), in the middle of the beginning, where my plotline picks up, then I write the beginning, introducing characters and such. I hope this was helpful. Good luck and Good writing.

      1. srvengadesh

        hi, I’m 14 and I thank veronica as I found her words very useful to me!

    2. veronica

      hi Sophie! I’m 12 and at this moment im my 3 books right now, anyways back to the point. if you don’t know what to write about then what inspires you, do you ever day dream, or have ideas? next time you do remember them! that’s how i came up with my 3 books! for me, how i get ideas is i look out of the car and think. just ask yourself, “what are everyday things i can write about?”

    3. Jessica Balfour

      Hi Sophie,

      The best thing I can say to you is write from the heart about what you know. Think about the books you enjoy and ask yourself why you like them. That will give you an idea as to where to start.

      if you like, visit the blog I have just started, my posts are around the journey my book has taken, from an idea to a first draft, and I will keep posting until it becomes a fully fledged book. Perhaps it might help you!

      1. abdilah

        me to , and i just start writting it, i dont know how i can complete it , cause its to hard.

    4. Old Publisher

      Hi, as a former publisher and current writer, my advice would be to read as much as you can in the field you want to write it and practice. Get a notebook and write stories for yourself. Write essays. Describe how you feel. Over time you will find that you have your own style of writing. That’s good.
      Don’t compare yourself or your writing to your favourite writers. That’s how people get put off. If I thought I was nowhere near as good a writer as Martin Amis (which I’m not!), then I’d be tempted to stop. Look at Dan Brown, one of the biggest-selling authors in the world today, and his writing is terrible! There’s a lesson for you: story is everything.
      Tell a good story and you will succeed.
      But nothing beats practice and perseverance. Keep at it. Think of all the people who gave up for whatever reason… we’ll never hear of them. Don’t be one of them, be one of the ones who is determined to succeed. Then you will.
      Good luck!

      1. Amy

        Thank you for your words…

        “But nothing beats practice and perseverance. Keep at it. Think of all the people who gave up for whatever reason… we’ll never hear of them. Don’t be one of them, be one of the ones who is determined to succeed. Then you will.
        Good luck!”

      2. Sunday

        Thank you for sharing this idea.

      3. Edmund Charles

        To be or become a good writer, one needs to possess passion and imagination for the given subject being written about. Although the old axiom is to ‘write about that which you know about’, does have some validity, it is not a unbroken rule; Jules Verne, Stephen King, H.G. Wells and J.K. Rowling are just a few examples of those who excelled in their craft, which was not anchored in reality or experience. Patience is also another prime element for a writer. A story cannot be forced by sheer determination, it takes time and most importantly- imagination.

        Edmund Charles
        Author (Satan’s Pitchfork; Two-faced; and Agent Provocateur).

      4. Julia Hart

        Thank you for your comment. It gives me hope.

    5. Nina

      Salutations Sophie :)
      I have dreams to become an author and ironically im only 11, due to my age, the chance of anyone publishing our books is low… But dont give up, try and write a touching story about a homeless person who finds a friend in the end… I have many ideas! Unfortunately, I scrap most of them.

      In my opinion I think you should take some of your favourite books and alter them! Tweak them to make them better, but dont use these, they will be practise books. When you have altered many books, begin to pick out of the stories to create a new one.
      Hope it helped,

      1. teresa

        I do not want to know how to write a book. I want to know how to find an author to write it an how to prevent someone from stealing the story after you tell them

        1. Graham

          There are lot’s of people who can help you and I am one of them! The stealing bit is quite simple to sort out and we can discuss if you get it touch.

          1. sherry FranklinFranklyn

            hello Graham I want to write a book a children’s book I have an idea but I don’t know where to go with it wish I could do something with this idea I never wrote anything in my life I’m at Aldis.sorry lost.
            and my idea come from my characters that I drew

        2. Ruth Thompson

          Did you find someone to write your book?

          1. David Young

            hello Ruth
            Not yet still doing a bit research, got the main characters and the murders but not the suspect or the M,O. So still a bit work to do. Tried asking about for a writer but no joy yet still looking or may have to try myself.


      2. teresa

        you did not answer the question the first time

      3. hello

        me too i am trying to get an agent to publish my novels im only 11.

        1. Robert

          You should google or ask your questions on yahoo, just ask how to publish a book?
          I found out that their our sites online that publish your book without questions.
          I don’t think age matters I didn’t see an age requirement or anything like that so you should be fine and good luck.
          I think it said that you have to pay around 20 bucks but other than that they do everything else for you.
          Good luck.

        2. Tara

          My son is 11 and I am helping him publish his first novel. You should talk with your parents to get their help. They should be involved in the process.

        3. Robert

          You can just look up free publishing they will do it for you and they don’t care if you aren’t a good writer.

      4. eja rad

        Hi, Nina:
        It would please me to know that an 11 year old read my story –because the protagonist to my novel is only 9. Please write for a free PDF copy, or for just a synopsis:

        Please mention this article.

    6. Tara


      My son is 11 years old and he is currently over 27,000 words into his first novel. What he does, is he just writes a little bit 4-5 days a week. He is not worried about the length of the book, is just enjoying his characters and having fun putting them into different scenarios.

      If you want to write a novel, just start writing every day. Don’t put any pressure on yourself–just write what you want to, and enjoy it for what it is.


      1. deepa jain

        After listening ur views I’m feeling very satisfied that I also can write a book.

    7. becca

      Hi if this is something u wish your life to rotate around,never give up!im 18 & i have wrote 7 children books from age 13 thru 14 .never published & later thrown away.i never gave up my dream. Im in the process of trying to finish my first chapter book but as always my many attempts stop dead in the middle each time.i always lose the grip i hold at first.i know i will continue with my dream.

    8. Anonymous

      Music, who’s your favourite artist ? Listen to their music, understand their music, thinks about the message in their music, create your own version of that message, put it on paper.
      The best thing you can do is not ask for inspiration but find it instead.

    9. Julie Lynn

      hi im julie Lynn and im writing a book now called: The Story of Kanykreeper and lightmyfire and i think its going well

    10. Edmund Charles


      Congratulations. It is never too early to start writing, even if this is initially limited to letters or a diary. A person who both reads and writes, is never really alone. There are entirely new worlds and experiences that I can make through this great art. I wish you continued future success in your endeavors in the field of writing. Do not give it up.

      1. Tara

        My son is 11, and he just finished his first novel, Shark Tanked. It’s about 30,000 words, and took him about a year to write it. The key is just to keep at it–try to write 250-500 words a few times a week, and before you know it you’ll have a finished novel :)

    11. Christine

      Hi Sophie! Scott included a link to the NaNoWriMo site above. That stands for the National Novel Writers Month (which is held annually in November). It’s an amazing challenge which I’m happy to say I attempted for my first time this year. I think I would have been able to write enough words to officially “win”, but unfortunately my Dad was inconsiderate enough to decide to have severe heart problems that required his hospitalization for more than the last week of the month. ;-) Nevertheless, it gave me the chance to get a good portion of my story figured out & captured on paper, and I’m still continuing to work on it now as I can.
      There’s no real age restriction for NaNoWriMo or the summer program Camp NaNo, but the aspect of this organization that I think you & others like you will find most exciting is their Young Writers Program. I’ll include the link here & you can check it out. You’ll find all kinds of resources there, including a community of other young writers like yourself that are ready & willing to help encourage and motivate each other to reach your goals.
      Don’t let anyone discourage you! If you write, you’re a writer. It’s important to believe in yourself and do the work that’s needed so that others agree. (Check out a writer named Gordon Korman. He wasn’t much older than you when he had his very first Young Adult novel published. And it happened because he knew his story was good & wouldn’t give up!)
      Oops! Sorry to write so much. I guess I better stop so I have some words left to write my novel “A Patchwork of Mystery”. Hee hee!
      All the best, Christine

    12. annie

      if you can think it, you can write it. Just get creative. Look online for ideas. I use old soap operas to help me start a story line. Write for yourself not for anyone else!

    13. Writer

      Greetings Sophie,
      If you want to write a book write dawn all of you’re ideas on paper, and come back to them to get good ideas I have a journal it also helps. You should start by writing a storyline, and speak abut the main carecter at the start of the book, I draw the main carecter and the carecter a before writing, after I write dawn The drawing so I always know what the carecter looks like. Don’t give up if you fail writing one book start another I am writing my 5th book now, I bet you that good writers wrote more then one book before they wrote the good one.
      Hope this was helpful
      Happy writing

    14. Lexi

      Write out a plot line for the story, write about all the main characters characteristics, If you have other characters in the book – which are going to pretty important, be sure to write their role and characteristics as well. Most books have a beginning (introduction), the middle (A problem), then the end (a conclusion). I find that those are easier to write then a more complicated and longer idea. Anyways, please be sure to understand that writing a book takes a very long time. That’s just writing it, most times you will have to edit, etc. How to start off writing a book, is quite hard but once you get the hang of it, quite simple. I would recommend getting a piece of paper and pen and writing done, one sentence to begin your book. For example if it were a romance: My eyes wandered to the boy , who sat next to me in health class.

      Writers block. You might get this frequently, but do not quit because of this. Just bring out your plot line out read over it and if you have to sleep on it!

      I am 13 and have been working on 3 books and continuously get writers block, most times I just have some fun and write paragraphs that might happen later on in the book.

      I dearly recommend writing something that inspires you!! Please don’t worry about what other will think of your book, there will be many people out there who would love to read it.

      Well i better go for now, thank you for listening Sophie.

      I wish you the best of luck Sophie :)

    15. Vanessa

      I just had a dream the other day and I woke up and was thinking about the dream. I thought and said, “You know what? This would be a great book!” and I am going to start writing it today!

    16. duwayne

      I want to do the same I am 19

  37. Chloe

    I just need a motivation push, I have to say that post did help. Never knew It was as simple as that, all along the answers were right in front of me, you pointed out the obvious and I ended up kicking myself, thank you for this. Time to continue my book and think positive, this time I won’t stop, no more breaks for me, I’ve been wasting my time and ended up hitting a dead end trying to cut corners, you taught me to try harder and work for something I truly want and for that I thank you.

  38. Sammy

    I love your sarcasm in this and have to say I’m a little disappointed in your response on how to write a book. Your right in two things, writing a book takes work a lot of work because it isn’t going to write its self and that yes a lot of people have too many stupid questions. If I wanted sarcasm I would’ve searched for that, so good poster of your opinion maybe you could tell us instead of your struggles what worked for you and the challenges you crossed to write your book. that’s what I am interested in, not a useless survey on the stupidity of the most ignorant writer. thank you

    1. mikkyol

      first, of all there are no questions that is stupid. i am no writer but i think anyone that is trying to be a writer should just write what ever comes to mind and the rest will fallow.

    2. Lucas

      You can’t even tell the difference between ‘you’re’ and ‘your’ and you’re going to call someone else ignorant? Right.

  39. gary

    Hi, I am an Iraq war veteran, I was wounded while fighting there. I now have a traumatic brain injury. My whole life I wanted to be a writer, now I am learning how to spell and form words into sentence’s. I am not crying about it, I will write a my books, and sell them. Is there a way to set up a computer that would help me write?

      1. Keke Lopez

        Hello, my name is Keke Lopez, and I have a couple questions to ask based on my favorite author, J.R.R Tolkien. Is it hard writing a book that has so many pages in it? And after writing a book so long do you think it’s hard to to end the book? I like your opinion please.

      2. gary

        thank you all for the best wishes, and advice. it is good to talk to people who want to write, I love everything about writing, It is a wonderful thing to use’s the written word to tell a story. I love syfy, But also want to write the story of the war I fought, and the men I fought it with. So thank you all for the help, I will keep watching this blog.

      3. Sally

        i would recommend Tim (Timothy) Mason, he wrote a book called ‘the best that i can be’ after having a stroke at a young age. He is from the UK, (Devon I think) and has a website that I can’t remember off the top of my head but there are contact details and he can tell you how he wrote it as he has very limited mobility and communicative abilities.. hope this helps!

      4. Louise

        I too am a Veteran, you can go to your nearest Va medical clinic and ask for assistants for a computer and software (Dragon naturally speaking) to assist you with your writting for free, cause your intitaled to get assistance. Go to your primary Dr. And talk to him or her.
        Thanks for serving.
        God bless you & yours

    1. Linh Tran

      Gary awhile back I was told about a program called “Dragon” it’s a speech recognition software. Works very well I haven’t had a chance to use it myself but I know some organizations use it to help veterans especially. Here is a link and good luck thank you for your service!

      Also I would love a copy of your book when you finish! :)

    2. veronica

      yes there is! there is a system called dragon where you can just speak and I will write! hoped this helped!

    3. Jonathan


      Id love to hear your story and possibly help you get it onto paper then print. Reply with your email and in happy to be in touch.

      1. Christine

        Hi Jonathan

        I have been scrolling down this page and noted your email to ‘Gary’ regarding hearing his story and possibly helping him to get it onto paper and print. I am about to start writing my own book which I have intermittently considered over several years now. After much careful thought, consideration and commitment to what I feel is my further direction and destined path, I am now at a point where I feel the time is right to proceed. For several years now I have intermittently felt within me, a desire to write a book about my life which to summarise; has been very troubled. Although I have several times allowed myself to stray from this will, my inner voice consistently returns me to this direction. My aims in writing my book are many. I wish not only to tell the story of my life and my lifelong struggle with depression, but to name but a few within my aims; is my principle desire to inspire others, empower and support inner strengths against adversity, and continue the promotion of understanding those in a plight for survival.
        My question to you is quite simply this… would you be prepared to hear my story and help me in successfully publishing it?

        1. Sandy

          I can relate with your post Christine. I’ve been writing about my life. My problem is that I write and write, yet I’m not sure why I don’t know how to put a period where it’s needed. Or when to make a paragraph. I’d like to be able to write my story to help people to learn about the signs of a child or adults who’s also been abused. If my story helps just one person than I’ve done what I’ve wanted to write about. Does that make sense? Good luck to us both…

          1. JO

            Hi Sandy, don’t worry about where to put periods and puctuation. Just put it where feel it is needed. I’ll be very happy can help you with that, and I can get a good firnd of mine who does proofreading work to further check it. Let me know… get to it… “write now”!!

          2. Sandy

            Thank you very much. I’ve been writing and then something comes up where i need to stop. But I really do need to finish, if i touch one person then I know my book needed to be written.

    4. brian cotton

      hi there i was at a computer fair a few years ago and there was a computer that when you spoke through a mike it wrote rthe subject matter for you i dont know the extent of your injuries but felt this might be of help i do feel that a computer like this could well be expensive but might be worth looking in to

    5. Mary

      You can get the dragon software at walmart. It will type while you talk. Good luck!

    6. Susan

      Hi Gary, The ipad 5 has a feature that may be helpful to you. You speak and it types the words. Good luck, and God bless you. Susan

      1. Edmund Charles

        Ack. If dictation works for you that is great, however, I find either typing or writing in long-hand a preferreed method. the art of dictation began to become a lost craft in the 1960s.

    7. tony

      Gary, Your story is the most important element of what you write. If you live in a community with a good public library you might find someone who is very able to do the typing and composition with you. There are writers’ groups in most cities and there is a lot of interest and support for returning veterans now. Some people write short stories and publish them as columnists in periodicals, others take on the bigger job of collecting and organizing an entire book. Your service experience will remind you not to try to do it all alone. Gather friends, make it a team effort. You already know how to do that. You are going to supply the meat and potatoes, let your team mates who know how do the cooking. Respectfully, an Air Force veteran and American Patriot. Best wishes for a good writing experience!

  40. Jasmine

    Hi, im fourteen now and i want to become a writer. i love reading books and i have always wanted to be a writer since i was at a younger age. i love fiction novels and i want to write fiction novels. My problem would be that i don’t know how to start one. Does anyone have any advice?

    1. Aayush

      start with something you love. Personally I love Dragons, and that’s where I started- let your heart and your mind run wild:)

  41. Nicholas Moraitis

    I’m 39, I’ve been writing since I was 9. I have tons of material and lots of great stories that I know other would find interesting. However my spelling and grammar is absolutely atrocious. Although it may seem by this note that I may be over exaggerating a bit but most of this is just spell check and the few words it encompasses are easy to edit. Several hundred pages are a bit different. I think I need an editor before I decide to spend the money publishing anything. Does anyone have any advice for me? Thank you…NM

    1. Sandy

      Oh my I found someone who has the same problems I also have. As I’ve been reading these posts it just hit me that a few years ago I bought the Dragon program. Yet one of my problems is I can’t afford to pay for my story to be told. I wish us both the best on getting the help we need. Have a good day!

  42. teresa

    how do you find someone to write a book for you an keep them from syealing your story?

  43. Adam – web designer calgary

    As the Internet allows for basically anyone to get published, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find quality material, so having a post dedicated to web books is a great idea.

    1. Beatrice

      How many computer pages does it take to write a fictional novel?

  44. Andrew Wash

    Just a sniplet of my Book: The Book of Prophet Cha Cha : The Most High has always been with me, He has given me the best Job known to mankind, he’s always writing text for the future generation that are to come, our lives are only a drop in the bucket, I’m so glad that he’s given me the opportunity to help those who choose life over death, he’s given so much to I feel like I don’t deserve his gracious gifting,we all will face our deaths, but are we prepared to die, I love the Ahba, life is never easy, we must learn both sides, because our father works in dimensions, forces, light years, and everlasting lights, can anybody stop what has already predestined to come, I Prophet Cha Cha,

  45. Jeff - Profe

    I loved reading your advice to aspiring writers! I know that it all comes down to hard work and discipline. The issue is that there are so many other things in my life that also require hard work and discipline such as getting six-pack abs, making a million dollars, learning Mandarin Chinese and on a more serious note being a good father and husband. I have so much trouble balancing it all. I am hopeful that if I start out small I can work up to something big. Recently, I submitted a children’s story to Highlights. They didn’t use it but I know it wasn’t the best I can do. I am going to keep trying with small stories and articles and trust that with time I will get better to the point where my stories will one day turn into books that make a difference in the lives of others. Thanks Scott for your encouragement I will be on the lookout for your books the next time I am at the library.



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