How to Write a Book, One Hour at a Time
Hello, my name is Bryan Dickerson and like many of you, I am an aspiring author and novel aficionado. Allow me to officially welcome you to my blog and writing guide. Here you will learn how to write a book from start to finish in this comprehensive guide.
Writing a novel in just one hour per day
After talking to my friends, family, and countless random strangers about my writing process over the last several years, I have come to realize that many people have always wanted to write a novel, but either don’t know where to begin or believe that they don’t have the time or ability to write a book given their busy lives.
After all, drafting hundreds of pages is a considerable feat, and that doesn’t even begin to take into account the challenges inherent in creating a world, filling it with people, coming up with a plot, writing dialogue that flows, and a whole host of other tasks that come along with the job. In fact, just thinking about all of the time, effort, and knowledge required is pretty intimidating, maybe even a little bit scary. I mean, you might put in all that work and your story doesn’t turn out well, let alone take the form of something that you can sell to compensate you for your time.
Can anyone write a book?
Yes! I am here to tell you from personal experience that most of you already possess the skills that you will need to write a cohesive novel or shorter work, simply from being a life-long consumer of story. In fact, it is more than possible to complete a novel within a reasonable span of time, averaging only an hour per day on the project. Of course, not every book that gets written will go on to be an international best seller or even purchased by a major publishing house. However, with modern self-publishing techniques including digital distribution, anyone can write a book they can be proud of and that is easy to share with family, friends, and the rest of the online world. And who knows? You might just pen the next blockbuster hit.
Now, I don’t claim that this process will be easy for everyone. Indeed there are many challenges fundamental to the writing process that you will have to overcome while drafting and revising your novel. But I firmly believe that with the right attitude, plan, and resources, almost anyone can write a story that is meaningful to themselves and can be enjoyed by others.
I hope that some of the ideas contained within this guide will be of use to experienced writers as well, as I have gathered and consolidated a prime selection of writing tips and techniques from many sources, both online and in print, as well as my personal approach.
How long does it take to write a book?
It depends on both the length and genre of your work, but most people can finish an average-sized novel (70-90k words) in less than a year by using my method.
Ok, so what is this guide actually about?
My goal is to divide the enormous subject of story-writing into manageable portions. The plan is to teach you how to write by breaking down the various elements involved in writing a novel into concrete stages. Within each post, I will first provide a general overview of the topic at hand, complete with definitions and examples, and examine how each subject relates to the overall goal of novel-writing. I will then take a deeper dive into some of the key components discussed, concluding with a number of concrete exercises intended to help you to internalize these concepts and jumpstart your daily writing practice.
By following this guide you will learn:
- How to start writing a book today.
- The key steps to writing a book.
- How to organize writing a novel.
- How to write a fiction, with a little extra on fantasy novels.
- The elements of descriptive writing, dialogue, action, and inner monologue.
- How to improve your writing skills in critical categories.
- Novel writing tips and tricks.
- Writing exercises for every stage of the journey.
Why am I doing this anyway?
I am a lifelong consumer and lover of fiction (especially science fiction and fantasy). A few years ago, I decided that I wanted to make my own contribution to the genre and taught myself how to adapt the skills I learned from writing in other areas (work, school, etc.) to the field of epic fantasy, which I have been particularly drawn to ever since learning how to read at an early age (more about me). It took me nearly three years to plan and draft my first novel (as well as most of the second). However, my novels run over 200,000 words each. This should be good news for many of you, as most books are significantly shorter than epic fiction novels and should take considerably less time to complete.
Having recently finished my first novel, I have decided to share what I have learned along the way in a format I hope will be easy to understand and comfortable to digest. After working on this project on the side over the last year and some change, I am excited to have the first full installment in my story-writing series completed and ready for your viewing pleasure. Included in these posts are a number of insights I have gleaned during my novel-writing journey, which I hope will be of use to you as well. I appreciate your interest, comments, and feedback and promise to respond when I can, as well as use them to continually improve this site.
Check out the next sections in this overview before jumping into the guide:
Getting organized and getting started
Learn everything you need to start writing your novel today. This section includes:
- An orientation to the major stages of writing a story.
- How to set up a productive writing environment.
- How to establish a daily writing routine.
Overcoming writer’s block
In this section we tackle the problem of writer’s block including:
- How to identify your particular form of writer’s block (low energy, focus, or mood).
- Targeted techniques for overcoming each problem.
Then it’s time to begin your novel writing adventure with my comprehensive guide:
The Writing Process
To help you plan out your book, I have sliced the novel-writing process into three major stages: the planning process, the drafting process, and the revising process.
I then break down each of these major stages into fundamental pieces that are easy to absorb as concepts, complete with brief writing assignments to get you started at each point along the way. The core goal of this initial installment is to get you oriented and organized by providing a unified framework that will take you all the way from early brainstorming to a revised draft of your novel, ready to begin shopping to agents or self-publication.
Here is a sneak peak of the topics I will cover:
To learn more, begin your writer’s journey with my first post, Getting organized and getting started.