Are You Writing a Book?

Have you started writing a book? Maybe you’ve thought about writing a book as one of your New Year’s resolutions? Or you’ve decided that being a published author would be a good goal to achieve?

There are many different reasons for writing a book and being clear about your personal reason will certainly help you stick with the writing process and finish it.

Most people don’t start to think of themselves as an author until their book is written and done. However, if you have some characters in mind, a story you want to tell, or some expertise to share with the world, you are about to go on a brilliant journey to becoming an author. The first question is, when do you plan to finish your book? Would you like it published in time for Christmas 2022? And if so, what support do you need along the way? We’ll explore some tips and experiences from our authors in this article:

  • How to get started with the writing process
  • Where to find more information about planning your book
  • Tools to help you stay on track
  • How to avoid stereotypes and cliches in your writing
  • Ways to stick to your writing deadlines

How to get started with the writing process

You may have been journalling your ideas and thoughts - this is a great place to start when you want to write a book. Keep your notebook close by or use a dictaphone app to record your thoughts when they occur to you.

Whether you’re writing fact or fiction, planning your book can keep you on track for those days when it’s hard to sit down and write. Many authors use a timeline to plot the key storylines and chronology of related events in their book. However, for non-fiction business books, it can be easier to start with a brain dump onto a mind map. Then you can organise the topics into chapters

If you’re developing fictional characters, one of our writing coaches recommends using a character arc. This is an in-depth document summarising everything about that character, including their physicality as well as their appearance. You might also consider reviewing the archetypes that commonly appear in genres such as romance, sci-fi, crime or mythology. Archetypes help your readers recognise and relate to your book’s characters without effort, because we inherently know of these. Classic archetypes include a hero, a lover, a jester, a leader or ruler, a magician, a wise woman or sage, an outlaw, a caregiver or guardian, a child or innocent and an explorer or adventurer. If you do base your work on these archetypes, the trick is to ensure they don’t become too predictable.

Which tools can help you stay on track

Software tools on your device, like Grammarly, ProWriting Aid, or a basic spell checker, can help you stay in the flow of your writing, because you don’t need to stop and edit your work as you go.

A basic loose-leaf binder can help you organise your writing into chapters and fill in the gaps. Write a piece, then print it out and place it roughly where it fits best. Then you can build the story around the major events.

Google docs for writing and Google Sheets for keeping track of any number of things: chapter summaries, lists of scenes, lists of characters and their traits, key plot points, research into setting and geography, and even to track how many chapters you've completed.

Scrivener is an app created by writers for writers.

How to avoid stereotypes and cliches in your writing

Overuse of cliche and stereotypical characters or scenes in your writing can put your readers off. They might decide not to even finish your book. Here are our top three tips to help you avoid falling into stereotypes:
  1. Pay close attention to your opening paragraphs. The role of your intro is to entice the reader to continue onwards. So you need to set up the first paragraph with enough intrigue about the current situation without a cliched opening, where you overly labour the description of who’s there and what’s happening.
  2. Check your thinking: is it original based on your own experience or was it inspired by something that you’ve read elsewhere? It’s easy to slip into stereotypes when creating fiction, whereas with memoirs, you can bring your unique story to life.
  3. Use a good editor after you’ve finished writing. A professional copy editor should have enough experience to pick up any glaring stereotypes and help you make them more believable. One of the challenges for some male writers is that they struggle to represent their female lead characters with realistic perspective and behaviours.

Another way to spot cliches in your own work is to write a list of all the types of characters who have annoyed you. Then think about why they provoked that reaction!

How to stick to a writing deadline

If you have got a specific date in mind to publish your book - and we recommend October if you want to reach the busy Christmas shopping audiences - then you need to set yourself some pretty tough deadlines. The publishing process takes 3-4 months, so you’ve only got until June to finish the manuscript. To stay on track:

  • Calculate the desired word count and divide it by the number of weeks you have available.
  • Run a test session and see how many words you can produce over five separate days.
  • Then average out that result and work out how many days you need to be writing versus taking a break.
  • Stick to your smaller goals and watch your manuscript grow!

Try writing in short bursts - fitting in half an hour or an hour - as well as longer, dedicated sessions. If you practise the habit of picking up quickly and typing more, it’ll come more naturally to you if you’re short of time in later weeks.

Want to know more?

For more information about SilverWood’s publishing process, check out our Quick-Start Guide here

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Level 1 Manuscript Feedback

An editorial critique of your manuscript up to 30,000 words


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“If you’re thinking of self-publishing, I hope you don't go at it alone. With a team like SilverWood behind you, you have the support you need to publish the best work you believe in.”

J A Higgins