The process of writing a book is a challenging chore for several different reasons. You must have a compelling topic, one that is not overdone or that you can approach in a completely different way. You must also have access to important research data that can help you get your arms around writing about the subject. You also must have a clear idea about the structure and style of your book because this will impact how and what you write.
There is no simple way to get through it but there are guidelines that you can adopt in order to help you get what you want written on track and coming out the way you intend. However there is discipline required that professional writers like Orlando Figes use in order to get to and through the process. To help you gain some of that discipline here are some tips about writing like a professional.
Get Your Sources and References Together Before You Begin
You are in luck, because these days, you don’t have to spend weeks at the local library or book store doing research as you burnt he daylight and night time oil. Today, there are plenty of quality research sources at your fingertips right online and easily available to you. Your challenge however will be volume and quality Because it is so easy to place something on any subject on I the Internet, you will see a lot about everything and much of it will be either inaccurate or only partially accurate or both. So you must check and double check any important facts you want to include in your book. Look for credible authors and sources who make a habit of vetting their sources too. Also, check out the sources page for every relevant article that may help you to get what you need more quickly.
Make an Outline
After your research is done and you have all the information around your topic that you need, it is time to start writing your outline. An outline is a sketch of the story you want to write. You basically lay it out in this sketch form in advance of your writing your book. The goal here is to make sure that your story is complete and makes logical sense. You want to follow characters and see where they end up and if they have consistent actions and deeds throughout the story. Do places and people connect in a way that is cohesive? Are you taking the reader on a journey? Do your conclusions hold water? You will discover the answers to all of these when you do an outline. Also, each time you think of an idea for the story it goes here first and must fit into the overall story.
The structure is actually part of the outline but it deserves to be brought out as a separate focus area. The structure is how you will tell your story. Books have different structures and you need to be clear about yours but generally speaking you will want to follow a traditional book structure which is:
Act 1: Defining the world and introducing the characters. We also learn about a problem that the story is highlighting and this problem’s relationship to our characters.
Act 2: The heart of the story and what happens to change the characters along the way. Do new challenges arise for them? Can they deal with it all?
Act 3: the resolution of the story and the sense of what might come next.
Although this structure fits best for fiction writing, it is often used even for great non-fiction novels as well. In any case it is only to serve as a guideline.
Stick to the basics and dedicate the time needed for you to write.