Where do you start writing?

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.

Pick one.

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.