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Recently I received an email with a very simple question so I thought I would share it with you and what my answer was. It’s short and sweet so here goes.

Dear Mentoring Writers,

I see from websites that you’ve written a variety of books, including an historical fiction one which won an award. Wow, well done. To me the process seems quite daunting – especially to write a book about a subject I know little of as I am only a young writer.

I’m wondering how you did this and what you learned from the process. I too am considering writing a novel but am not sure if I would be able to do so successfully. Do you have any words of encouragement please.  


A Desperate Wanna Be Writer. 

* * * * *

Dear Wannabe Writer,

Thank you for asking me such a thought-provoking question. I admit that writing, publishing, and promoting a book can be a daunting process. Now, this may sound strange to a young writer but when you create something like a book it is like becoming a parent. Had I possibly known what it was like, I might have had second thoughts but, in the end, I’m so glad I did it as it turned out to be a great step into what I think is a wonderful world.

So, what did I learn from writing my first novel? Well, although it turned out to be relatively easy in the end, I did learn quite a lot. To help you understand, here are some tips that come to mind which I hope will guide you into deciding to follow your dream.

1. I definitely needed to be brave to take those first steps of putting pen to paper. I knew I would have dig into my own emotions and my imagination and share what I found there. Taking that first step can be quite terrifying so be brave.

2. Before starting to write you need to determine what your story subject or theme is going to be about. With me it was about the friendship between two young women. Having got my simple idea I started making notes of what I wanted to include. Doing this helps you focus on the subject matter and also means you don’t forget important stuff.

3. After I had sketched out the gist of my story I knew I needed to do some research. After all if I was going to write about an era I didn’t live in then I needed to understand it. And so I started by using the Internet search engine which is an ideal way when looking for scenes, images of people and events that could or did happen during the period of time I was going to write about.

4. Having gathered so much information I needed to make lists of the various details I had. Now, I knew I wouldn’t necessarily use all the information I had researched in my book but it does help. Besides what I didn’t use now could come in handy at a later date.

5. Once I had the theme, the lists and the basic story in my head I personally sat down and wrote 20 letters. There was ten from one lady and ten  from the other. I changed the letters so they followed the normal correspondence that two people would have.

6. Once I was happy with those first 20 letters I started writing my book. Now I didn’t rush this, I just did so much writing each day as the thoughts came to mind. If I thought of something but it didn’t fit in the section I was writing I just added it to my list for use later on or in the future.

7. After about a month I had the first very basic draft. But, it wasn’t long enough nor was it anywhere near finished. So I read it through and restarted writing; adding more to the story.

8. I carried on writing until about sixteen months later my final draft was finished. I edited it and sent it off to be printed.

9. When the books came back I handed them out to a number of Beta readers. Their input would prove to be very relevant to the success of the book. They each brought something different in their reviews, comments, and insights as to how the story flowed.

10. Two months later the book I published the book. And that was when the hard work really started – the marketing; but that is for another time. You need to write a book first.

This is only a short summary of what the process is all about but hopefully it should be enough to satisfy your curiosity. What I will say is this - if you are thinking about writing a book (no matter what size or in what genre) – well, just go ahead and do it. Don’t worry about it too much or you’ll never get started. A useful tip is to listen to Mentoring Writers podcasts on our website and check out the blogs and resources offered there plus those on our mentors website, She has some very useful ideas.

In the meantime we wish you all the best with your writing journey.

Regards, Mentoring Writers.

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