How I Wrote My First Book

Someone asked me how I wrote my first book. So here is my response (with some modifications).

Basically, I had two characters and a very general plot in my head that wouldn’t go away. I had that happen so often with other plots and characters before, that this time I was like, I’m gonna do it! And usually, with the other stories I’d start to write, I would realize how terrible the dialogue or descriptions were and decide to quit. But with that story I pushed past my insecurities and just wrote the story, telling myself that no one else would see it, so it didn’t matter how bad that first draft was.

Instead of starting at the beginning, I started out writing the scenes that kept playing in my head. I wrote all the scenes out and titled them, then tried to puzzle them together later. Then, once I really started to get to know the characters and their stories, the beginning came to me and I started fleshing out the first half of the book. No outline. No worries about writing rules. I just wrote what was in my head and didn’t stop until the story was done.

When I knew I had it in me to write a book, THAT’S when I started reading books about writing. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott and Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell are the two that helped most in that stage of my writing journey.

My first book took a little over a year to write, and I rewrote it three times before I moved on to the second book. (I’ve rewritten it twice since then, but let’s not get into THAT.) And by rewriting, I mean a complete makeover. I go through and *revise* all my books like 10 times before I let anyone read them.

So that’s how I wrote my first book! I write all books from the beginning now, apart from some random scenes that might come to me that absolutely HAVE to be written in that moment. And my more recent books haven’t had to be rewritten at all.

My advice to anyone who wants to write a book: Don’t wait for inspiration. Don’t let the rules of writing hinder you.


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