22 November 2014

How To Prepare To Write Your Book

If you don’t prepare, this might happen:-
After the initial excitement of starting to write your book, as you near the middle it’s become a bit of a slog.  This is because along the way, some of your initial ideas fizzled out, you hit a dead end with one or more of your sub-plots, and now, a third of the way through, you’ve run out of plot. You feel like you’re dangling on a precipice. Below is a deep black hole so, what do you do? You put your unfinished manuscript in a drawer to collect dust.

How can you prepare to write your book:-
  • It’s fairly easy to write the beginning of a story. Similarly, it’s easy to write the end, but the middle, that’s the killer. It’s the place you can find yourself looking into that deep black hole!
  • To make it easier, it helps to think of your story in three acts. The set up, the middle and the conclusion.
First Act
Set up and present your main character’s goal
Establish the conflict
Introduce the characters and their relationships
Establish the setting and sub-plots

If you set up your first act properly, you’ll have enough fuel in the tank to carry you through the second act to the conclusion. To do this:-
  • Make sure that your protagonist has a goal. 
  • Ask yourself what disaster will happen if he doesn’t reach his goal? 
  • What must he do to achieve the goal? 
  • Think about what could stop him from reaching that goal. 
  • Introduce all your characters. If they do not appear in a scene in the first act, invent a way that their name can be mentioned so that your readers know they exist. Give your characters life and a reason to be in your story. 
  • Give your protagonist a worthy antagonist (villain)! 
  • Think of a sub-plot or two that can be running along in the story while your protagonist is striving toward his goal.

Second Act
Complications and crises arise as your main character tries to reach his goal
If it’s a mystery, this is where the sleuthing takes place
Further threats and escalating dangers
Protagonist tries and fails and tries again

The second act is the longest because it’s where your story is played out:-
  • Your protagonist tries to reach his goal but fails when he meets problem after problem, but he carries on. 
  • It's where we see the full measure of the villain. 
  • Where the sub-plots come into play, helping you build that bridge from the first act to the third, over that gaping black hole. Don’t look down!

Third Act
Eliminate theories
Tie up subplots
The crisis when the protagonist finally figures out the truth and confronts the anatagonist.

The third act is where you can give yourself a pat on the back. You’ve reached the far side of the bridge. You’re nearly there! But not quite:-
  • Your protagonist confronts the villain and is successful in reaching his goal. 
  • Sub-plots are tied up successfully. 
  • Make doubly sure that all loose ends are also tied up because if they aren’t, your readers will tell you.


  1. I know the feeling well, Jill. Imagination fatigue and poor initial planning is usually the culprit!

    btw, your intro has a grammatical error: 'If you *don’t* prepared ...'



    1. Thank you, Scott, for pointing that out. My mind in a thousand places at once is my excuse.
      Imagination fatigue. I like that description.
      Best regards, Jill