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Friday, August 14, 2015

How to Write A Book

How do you write a book?

Okay, I will tell you.

Suppose you are driving a car from New York to L.A.. You are having a great time, riding by yourself, you stop anywhere you want, you linger here and there. Then in Chicago, you pick up a rider. The person you picked up is your reader. You drop down and swoop them up, and set them down smack in the middle of  someone's life in the middle of his/her day.  The trip we are on will be represented by the car and driver and those we pick up along the way
Image result for IMAGES i CAN COPY OF AN OLD CAR, cartoon
Now, I have a reader and a story. I'm back on the road to LA.  I can no longer travel at any speed I want. I need to keep moving. If I don't go fast enough, the rider will think I am boring and want to get out. Oh, Oh, too slow. She is getting antsy. Maybe there is something on TV. I had better take this road over here with all the twists and turns. I bet my rider would rather hold on for dear life than meander along uninterested by the countryside.

Look, there is a gorgeous red-head standing by the side of the road. She has on a blue dress that doesn't cover much. I wonder if she realizes how low cut the bodes is?I can almost she her, oh, never mind. I will pick her up and make her the runaway mistress of the local drug lord.

Jeez, there he is, we had better outrun him.  It's a shame he's so damn good-looking. Too cute to shoot.

Let's stop and eat. Stopping to eat represents your "backstory".  The backstory is the part of the book that tells you what you need to know about the drug lord and the damsel in distress, before you picked them up.  I always take the drive through and grab a sandwich. It doesn't pay to have a five course meal. We are back on the road with as little interruption of our trip (current story) as possible.

We need some peripheral characters, maybe a weird grandmother who whoops the big handsome drug dealer into shape once in a while or makes him help her with Sunday dinner. Could be a toy poodle he loves but doesn't want anyone to know he has. If he isn't human, why would we care if he and she get together?

Oh, man, I ran a stop sign. I bet I get a ticket. The answer here is to know the rules of the road. How do you learn them? There are hundreds of ways. Chicago Book of Style will help , as well as reading or studying grammar. Use your spell check and have a writing program that edits your work.

The other thing I need to get across country is gas. I have to fuel up to keep going. It's not hard to get petrol. There are stations everywhere. There are writer's groups, seminars on writing, conferences, classes at the library, mentors, people who love to read and the list goes on and on.

So, I wanted to go from New York to LA. I thought the idea for the trip was interesting enough to take someone with me. I made the riders as interesting as I could so I wouldn't get bored on the ride. I bought fuel when I needed it and ate when I couldn't stand it any longer and had to stop.

We are in LA. Now what? There are so many answers to that question and you didn't ask me how to sell a book, just how to write one. More later.