Today, I’m going to actually talk about writing words. Where do you start? I highly recommend outlining, however you define outlining. It can be formal or not. I personally like to outline with an Excel spreadsheet because it is so easy to rearrange items. One author claims he actually writes IN Excel. True story.
Word has a great built-in outliner.
The purpose of an outline is to keep your story on track. If you can’t think your way through an outline, it may be difficult to think your way through a story, let alone a book.
I like to feel like I have at least the beginning and end outlined. Then I go back and write the first paragraph after I have written everything else. Sometimes, I realize I started out with an assumption that changed a bit as the story took place.
But, we need a place to put those words. The ultimate question for self-publishers is whether to start with a well-formatted document or something very plain text. I’ve done both.
With non-fiction, I tend to be less likely to rearrange major portions or chapters. So, with non-fiction, I begin with a template and format as I go. I start by naming each of the chapters. That helps keep me on track.
I do believe it is important to envision what your book is going to look like. Do you want to publish an eBook, or a printed book? What size book are you planning? Do you need a dust jacket? A spiral binding? There are lots of options out there.
It’s just a lot easier if you start with formatting, in my opinion. I use an outline to create chapters and then I go from there.
It really helps to begin with formatting if you anticipate including a glossary. Even fiction can need a glossary to define those out-of-this-world Sci-Fi worlds and so on.
To create a glossary, you have to select the word and manually add it to the glossary. That may be easier to do, as you are writing.
Next time? How to create a glossary.