How do you write a book? You could read a book on that. Or stick around while a guy who’s still writing his book tell you how it is. Don’t worry, everything I can tell you came from reading those books on writing books. If you don’t write books, this might be an entertaining expose on how the sausage is made. If you are that one person I know who wants to write a book but has no no clue, well, you could do worse. Let’s do this.
Who’s the bad guy and how’s he gonna lose. If you don’t know this, your book will take twenty years and kill off two hundred and forty four characters to figure it out (lookin’ at you GRRM). For a murder mystery, it’ll be a lot easier to plant those clues and red herrings if you know whodunnit.
When evil rears its ugly head, somebody’s got to fetch the Mallet of Justice and give it a whack. That’s the hero. They might have friends. But only one of them gets top billing. That’s the hero. This gives the audience somebody to relate to and cheer on.
Themes and Flaws
Ever wonder why the curtains were blue? Well it means nothing if you don’t pick a theme and character flaw to overcome so the hero grows. Then you hide all sorts of clues and examples of the theme and flaw in the story. Years later, high school English teachers will praise your genius and foresight.
Status is quo until one day, the inciting incident really inconveniences the hero. Since nobody else is solving the problem, the hero sets out to hero the heck out of the problem. Making friends, enemies, overcoming obstacles and learning life lessons, the hero confronts the problem in a flashy way. The people rejoice, medals are handed out (except to Chewie) and the credits roll.
Wait, it gets Worse
The whole point of a story is how hard it was to solve the problem. We don’t flock to theaters to see gripping tales of going to the store to grab a jug of milk. Unless everything goes wrong on the way. Until the climax, the answer to how should this scene end is always “failure.” Lather, rinse, repeat. Before you know it, your hero is worn out and ready to learn his lesson, overcome his flaw and face his demon in the form of the enemy you invented before starting this project.
That’s all it takes to write a book just like some other books. Well, also, you have to write it. That part is hard. Speaking of which, I’ve got to get back to writing my book. Guess what happens next?