Last week we hit the halfway mark in this series of posts. Instead of directing you to all of the previous posts, I will give you the link to last week’s halfway mark summary. If you decide to explore further, then you’ll have the links.
This twelve step process is thorough. If you follow the guidelines, then you will be able to map your success. For those that stick through to the very end, I’m going to give you a BONUS 3 Step Short Cut. Does that appeal to anyone?
Yes? Great! I’m with you. I’ve already done the research to compile this series, and I’m ready to move on. It’s sort of like writing the first draft. Then in revisions, you’re reading through and it’s easy to rush yourself because you already know the story. I’m feeling conflicted about wanting to dump the volume of information and move on and knowing that the up front work is only a matter of due diligence. So in that vein, I’m sorry but I won’t short change my audience because we live in a frantic fast paced society that has only encouraged my ADHD tendencies.
No? You want to take the scenic route? Great! I’ve got my notes organized to continue laying out this master plan. I have so many notes that I could probably make this into a short book if I wanted to. Hmm. Yeah, I could do that. Trust me, I have enough notes on it already. These posts aren’t even a third of the volume I’ve collected. An expanded serial post like we used to do on Storytime Trysts. . . . I could do that. Go drink some coffee for a few minutes while I make a few notes on my calendar.
Alrighty, where were we? *Reviewing while sipping coffee.* Yeah, ADHD tendencies. . . and here folks, is an example of my level of distraction. FOCUS – it’s what I need a heavy dose of.
Step 7 – Set Up The Book
Let’s start with Structure.
Since Eclectic Bard Books publishes works of fiction, let’s focus on the structure for fiction books.
The structure is like the framework of your house. A basic blueprint of a book can be broken down into 3 parts.
- Front matter
- Main body
- Back Matter
You thought I was going to say beginning, middle, and end didn’t you? There you go jumping ahead of me.
You may be wondering, why would I break out the front matter and the back matter from the story itself? Because – when you are having one of those days when your brain will not focus on the next scene, your muse has gone off to the Caribbean with one of your rival friends, and you are faced with a blank screen, you can mark off one of the items of either of those categories so your writing time hasn’t been wasted.
I hate having to put the dreaded forward arrow in my planner that signifies moving a task to the next day because I didn’t get it accomplished. I’m all about being able to mark off an item on the to do list. Isn’t it better to be able to mark off that you completed something than to have wasted the time?
Breaking down these 3 parts into smaller bites will give you items that can easily be marked off of the list.
- endorsements – others recommending your book
- half title page
- other books by you – if this is your first book, this will be omitted. If you only have one or a few books under your belt, then this will be a quick list and a fast task to finish.
- full title page
- copyright page – this won’t be complete until the book is uploaded and you are almost ready to publish, but you can get most of it finished.
- dedication page – this one can be simple or complex, depending on the author.
- acknowledgments – again, simple or complex. This one often gets into more details, thanking individuals, acknowledging those who have helped such as your beta readers, your editor, location experts, medical advisors, experts that you’ve talked with to glean information, the barista at the coffee shop, etc.
- table of contents – not always required but if you are like me and like to name your chapters, it’s good to have a TOC to list them with your clever names. 🙂
- foreword – this is often a few words by someone respectable that could lend value to your work
- preface – a bit about your process, your story, the content, or a specific note from the author.
You would imagine that this is where the beginning middle and end would go, right? Sort of. I have a two-fold process.
Part 1: story structure
Part 2: the parts within each chapter:
Titling your chapters isn’t necessary, it’s a matter of personal preference. Epigraphs aren’t necessary, again – a matter of style. Some genres lend themselves well to the usage of epigraphs. Aedan’s work is a great example of using epigraphs.
- Afterword –most often, this is a note from the author either about what inspired the story or some aspect that was not included in the story.
- appendices – most often used in nonfiction
- Resource List – most often used in nonfiction
- Glossary – especially important if you are using foreign language, created terms, or obscure references
- Bibliography – most often used in nonfiction
- Index –
- Author Bio – you definitely want to include this
- Contact Information – where fans can find you
- Blurb for Next book – This also gives you a direction for your next step and keeps you accountable to stay on track and focused on one project.
When I set up my initial file in Scrivener, I make a template for each chapter. The current project includes an epigraph.
This is a basic skeletal framework. When I outline in Scrivener, it’s like using the old index card method as I lay out my virtual index cards on the corkboard.
By this point you should have your story concept in mind, the plot figured out or if you are a pantser, at least a direction that you want to go in. Here is where you can spend your time figuring out your characters because most often the story is character driven.
Laying out this basic structure will give you points to work on in your daily writing sessions. This method installs milestones so that you know a starting and stopping point for each session. Reaching these mini milestones gives you a sense of accomplishment that keeps you moving forward.
If you are contracting someone else to ghost write for you, then this framework will give you a series of checkpoints to easily check their progress against your timeline.
Another benefit of establishing this framework is that it allows you a better grasp for your timeline and a realistic date for completion.
What’s next? Research – now it’s getting fun!