I want you to finish a book!
When I considered writing my first novel I had so many questions and uncertainties that dominated my intention to be an author. I was fortunate enough to have a friend, Veronica Scott, who helped guide me through the process of becoming an author. By the way, I now consider myself a storyteller, yes - "a teller of stories", and the distinction has made a world of difference in my outlook on the whole situation.
For those who are not as fortunate, to have a successful author close at hand, I have created this site. Veronica told me that by just finishing a book I would have separated myself from the pack. I have spoken with another successful author, who has been in the industry for over 30 years and his statement was the same as Veronica's.
Being a "facts" kind of guy I searched the web for the source of this statement and the best I could find was a non-sourced and oft repeated adage that 3 out of every 100 people who start writing a book finish it. So, in the spirit of propagating unsubstantiated assertions, I repeat the non-referenced statistic for the sole purpose of your amusement.
Spurious statistics aside, I can say this with absolute certainty. By driving your idea from genesis to finished product you will have accomplished something. There is a significant personal difference between mentally accepting something as having been finished and accepting you didn't cross that line. The method of publication, the marketing and everything else that goes into making it a career is a whole other issue. Let's focus on getting the doggone book finished!
At the start, I searched my soul, wondering why I wanted to publish a book (something Veronica urged me to do) and I found I didn't care about being famous or making it a career. Famous might be nice but, then again, perhaps it wouldn't. That realization took a lot of pressure off me; I could just enjoy the act of storytelling. I realized if just one person read my work and found it entertaining then I would satisfy my desire to write. If I helped someone use their imagination while utilizing my own I had a win-win proposition.
I am not a well known author but I am an avid storyteller. I love creating a world, populating it, then filling it with meaning. As of this writing I have self-published 9 books using Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and Createspace. I have sold just under 200 copies worldwide; not stellar but satisfying none-the-less. All of my works have been placed on Goodreads. This is a site where readers have a place to recommend books they've read. The fact someone who read one of my books took the time to place the title on the Goodreads website means a lot to me. It doesn't mean it was a fantastic book, it means it was a good read.
I have found there is no standard, or set, way of getting a book out of your head and into print. Veronica does not use the same method I employ and she is very successful. There are numerous guides, how-to books, and websites (like mine) offering differing opinions on how to finish and publish a book. What really matters, though, is what works for you.
Since I'm not looking for fame and fortune I have no problem sharing how I craft a novel and bring it from idea to finished book. I will show you what works for me. If any portion of this doesn't work for you, then by-all-means don't use it.
Perhaps you will benefit from watching the process unfold in real time.
So, why I am I doing this? I want to help; it's that simple. I've learned a lot along the way and it should be shared. I also have much more to learn. In the adjoining HOW column I give a brief overview of the approach I take in developing an idea.
I utilize a story arc to organize my book idea and make certain I cover the areas readers expect in a good novel. This method was taken from Nigel Watts’ "Writing A Novel and Getting Published" and it is known as the 8 point story arc. I have altered it (slightly) so it works for me and one of those alterations is the addition of the concept.
The concept is what I want the reader to walk away with after reading the book. It doesn't have to be socially or cosmically significant but without it, the work repeatedly challenges me for meaning. My last novella in 2015, "Karmascendia", had as its concept: All thought is made real in some dimension.
I just make certain as I progress through the story arc the concept is reinforced.
I do not make the story arc too detailed, it is a high level outline guiding me through activities readers expect to take place. These areas include the beginning, the trigger, the adventure, the surprise, the critical decision, the climax, the reversal and the end. The ordering of these events can be manipulated but they should not be ignored.
So if you are interested after all this, I encourage you to navigate to the Methods section of the website to get a brief overview of how I employ these ideas.