You need to put in the work.
If you want to write a book, you need to be willing to put in the work. Writing may come natural to some, but great writing involves a lot of work and dedication. Writing is a form of art. You will have to teach yourself. (I know in your head you have this tremendous idea for a novel, but you will have to learn how to compose it in a manner that will entertain and keep your readers.)
• My first tip is to read a book of your choice, preferably in the genre you wish to write.
• If you don’t make time to read, you will waste time trying to write.
• Reading is your research tool that will become your instructor. I’m not talking about stealing another author’s work. But there are certain elements you will pick up from reading.
1. Set up–Reading will help you with the way a book is set up from the front matter to back matter and everything in between.
a. If done correctly, you may come to understand what a prologue is and how to use it, or determine your book doesn’t need one.
b. Chapters–A lot of first time authors worry about how lengthy a chapter should be. (I know I did when I first started writing.) My conclusion in short is that it doesn’t matter. The more books you write you will come into your own style on this. I have read a book where one chapter had simply one word, Sleep. (Like the shortest scripture in the Bible, Jesus wept.)
2. Sentence structure–You can learn how to structure your sentences. For example, if you don’t already know a period, etc. goes in front of the quotation marks. There can be a lot of things you may have forgotten from English class. (It’s like a refresher course.)
3. The flow of the book–You will see and take notes of a lot of things (I loathed in English class.) like foreshadowing, climax, conflict, tone, theme, and all that stuff.
4. The voice–Every writer has a voice… an individual style so to speak that makes the book what it is. It was hard for me to figure this out when I first started writing. But the more you read and write, you will find you voice. It will be like your comfort zone. Basically, the way you write, the words you choose, or how you say it.
5. POV–Point of View is your 1st person, 2nd person and 3rd person. You will need to figure this out before you even write. Again, read different books with different POV’s to figure out which is the best for you. I often only see the use of 2nd person in most interactive reading apps.
a. My favorite POV is 1st person because I feel it’s a powerful factor in writing YA fiction to get the reader become the character.
6. Present tense, Past tense – What tense is best for your book? Most familiar is past tense. I use past tense with 3rd POV and Present with 1st POV. It’s not a rule, it’s just what I tend do, I guess it adds to my “voice.”
7. Time–You will learn how to space out your time in your novel. Time will have to flow to move the story along. This was complicated for me at first and at times still is.
a. When I first started writing (freewriting, not published work) I would include everything, even having my character go to the bathroom because I thought it made writing more realistic.
b. Another problem I ran into was, I didn’t know how to break the story up. For example, my story would continue on without really having days, weeks, or months past. So, reading should help you figure out how to constructively carry this out.
8. Research–Read (Yes, I told you it was important!) as many nonfiction books, articles, and blogs as you can on writing. This is another essential step. Maybe one day I’ll compile a list of nonfiction books I like best to help you out.
Basically, the above is just a few factors that will enhance your writing from reading. Reading is a part of a writer’s research. To be honest if you’re a writer… reading is your work. Isn’t that great though? You can sit and read a book and tell everyone you’re working!