Thursday, March 28, 2013

How I Write My Books

Often the question is asked, "So how do you write a book? There are so many chapters and so much writing to do, how do you ever get it finished?"

Other questions are usually, "How do you get your ideas," or "How do you keep the story going until the very end?"

Questions like these are valid, but often, they get in the way of sitting down and writing your own book.

When I write a book I do a little research. I don't spend days and days on it, because I've learned that I quickly burn out. After a bit of research I get going on my book. Sure, research will then occur during the process of writing, and I make time for it when the occasion comes up, but I don't make my book about the research, I make the focus about the story.

I usually make a goal of a chapter a week. That way, I have a direction to travel. And I try not to think too far ahead, I just take each chapter as it comes.

Ideas come to me in the least likely of places, and sometimes, even from those in my family who have a great idea for my next book. A River of Stones came after I'd been writing the fictional story of a girl named Samantha whose parents were divorcing. Like my personal story, Samantha was confused. She wanted to know if she'd caused the divorce; she wanted to know why her parents didn't love each other any more.

One day, I was watching the Oprah Winfrey show, and someone was talking about a book called, Stones in the River, or something like that. And the idea came for the title.

For Conquering Your Goliaths: A Parable of the Five Stones, my husband read an email and told me about it. "You know, a story about the five stones that David gathered to defeat Goliath would make a great book."

The rest is history.

One way to keep your story going to the very end is to plan out the chapters ahead of time, but since I'm not one to follow what I've written down, I prefer the seat of your pants method. I have an idea of the beginning, an idea of the ending, and some idea of what's going to happen in the middle, but I try to be open to the characters and listen to what they want. And I need to tell you I've never been disappointed.

In the long run, a book must have a good plot and plenty of tension; that's the page turner stuff. And then the character's have to be great, not flat-cardboard varieties, but full blooded real individuals.

How I write books may be different from the way you write books, but the important thing is that we write them, and keep writing them until the end of time.


  1. I'm writing my next non-fiction book right now. It was titled Find Your Voice After Divorce but that's changed to include more situations. Now it is Recover your Voice after Divorce, Death and other Losses: A writing workbook for healing. I've got a table of contents with 12 chapters and 60 pages so far. Reworking my rough draft starting with section one. It's fun!

  2. I like the new title. Let me know when you've finished it. I would love to review!


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