1. Ste
    Offline

    Ste New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2014
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0

    Writing my first book - can you help please?

    Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by Ste, Mar 30, 2014.

    Hello, I am new to this forum and firstly I would just like to say hello.

    I am starting to write my own book but I would like if anyone could give me some tips on do's and don'ts. I understand that I will come across large obstacles to get to the end and I accept that.

    I am writing a book about my experiences that I've got through over the past 12 years and this means people will know everything what has been going off in my head, Lots of strangeness but that people can relate too at the same time so on this alone I would like to know if this is a good idea or will it put me in a corner... lets just say that I've just let all my guards down. I would like to hear from people who have done this or your opinions on it?

    Regarding the book itself I'm wondering how my chapters to do, how many pages/words between each chapters and the recommended length of the book in pages/words and any other tips that is a must?

    Thank you
    Ste.
     
  2. ddavidv
    Offline

    ddavidv Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2013
    Messages:
    353
    Likes Received:
    240
    Location:
    Pennsylvania, USA
    Are you writing this as fiction (even thinly veiled) or as an autobiography?

    Do not be concerned with the number of chapters. That will sort itself out.
     
  3. Ste
    Offline

    Ste New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2014
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi, It will be autobiography
     
  4. aberdeen
    Offline

    aberdeen Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2014
    Messages:
    99
    Likes Received:
    10

    I only joined this forum a few days ago and have never written a book. At least yet, since I may be publishing a collection of my essays within the next few months.
    My question may seem rather strange. Why are you doing an autobiography in the first place? What is so special about your life? Why expose yourself to the world unless you really need the attention? I briefly knew an older man a few years ago. He gave me a copy of his autobiography, and it was rather boring. Yours may be more interesting, and I certainly wish you well.
     
  5. minstrel
    Offline

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    8,723
    Likes Received:
    4,821
    Location:
    Near Los Angeles
    Hi, Ste, and welcome to the forum! Please read the rules, participate, and have fun.

    I moved this thread to the New Member Introductions area - it belongs there.
     
  6. Ste
    Offline

    Ste New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2014
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi and thanks minstrel :)

    Hi Aberdeen, I cannot disclose what its really is about but I can tell you it unique and strange but does fit in with other people, some people would look at it and call it a condition/s but I've learned as time as gone on Its something that I've created and strongly for 12 years which is in the physical world. basically its hard to grasp but I've creative something from my mental mind to the physical world which continuous with me today.

    I'm question more really will I be attacked from left, right and centre, I guest I say this because I new to all of this ( Do blue pill or the red one that's the question)
     
  7. Andrae Smith
    Offline

    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2012
    Messages:
    2,506
    Likes Received:
    1,404
    Location:
    Wandering
    Hello and welcome to the forums!

    We're glad to have you, and I hope you find what you are looking for in our community.

    As for your book, I have some questions myself:

    --Why do an autobiography? Is your experience really that unique? More importantly, is it compelling?
    --How much experience do you have with writing? Is English your native language?
    --Have you considered turning this work into a fictionalization? You can use characters and events based on real life but detached enough to make things more interesting.
    --Have you considered a collection of shorts instead of a full length work? If you fictionalize it, a collection of shorts might be an interesting way of highlighting moments with the characters without the need to run them as one complete story.

    Whatever you decide to do--fiction, non-fiction, or any blending of the two--my first suggestion is that you touch up your writing skills. I'm led to believe English is not your first language (or at least not your strong point) because of the number of mistakes in your posts. If English is not your native tongue have you considered writing in whatever language is? :p

    Anyway, good luck with your writing. We're happy to help however we can.

    ~Andrae
     
    jannert likes this.
  8. AndyC
    Offline

    AndyC Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2014
    Messages:
    79
    Likes Received:
    39
    Hi there! I can't do anything but second everything Andrae said. We'll try to help in anything we can.
    Welcome to the forums.
     
  9. Inkwell1
    Offline

    Inkwell1 Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2014
    Messages:
    144
    Likes Received:
    10
    Hi! Welcome to the forum.
    One thing you should keep in mind is that there aren't any rules in writing, aside from accurate grammar/punctuation. Whatever style you like should be the one you write with.
    I like to write longer stories, but there isn't a limit to how many pages/chapters you use;
    There also aren't many musts in book writing. It's just something you can have fun with and mold to your liking.
    We are all happy to help in every way we can!
     
  10. Ste
    Offline

    Ste New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2014
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello Andrae, I'll get to the writing first and say yes your right! my writing/spelling is my weak side lol so I know I have a challenge with that alone. But my mind does me wonders for the rest! :)
    With the writing/spelling I'm sure there's a easy way round this.

    Regarding the book,
    I know people do click with strange things, it makes them curios and want to know more. I have seen lots of psychologists, and professionals regarding this thing I have and all of them cannot put it into a single condition because it just to complex and even today it confuses me in the sense of working it out, Its a reflection thing that's the best your going to get. I don't think that I need to add anything that is fictional to it as I believe its rare enough for people to be interested but like I side before it does kind of fit in with people a suffer from anxiety, depression, OCD, BDD, Flash backs etc, it goes beyond all of these so in a sense I could use it as a self help book at the same time because Around 5 months ago I found something that is making it better for the first time in 12 years.
     
  11. Andrae Smith
    Offline

    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2012
    Messages:
    2,506
    Likes Received:
    1,404
    Location:
    Wandering
    Well you go ahead and write your book. I'm just asking because many people think they have an interesting adventure in them, when usually they don't. I'm not saying your story is boring, just considering the possibility that it might not be as unique and 'rare' as we think. If you're around long enough to get to know me, you'll see I like to ask questions just to get people thinking.

    No matter, it's your story and I want to see it do well.

    Best of luck,

    ~Andrae :cool:
     
  12. chicagoliz
    Offline

    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 30, 2012
    Messages:
    3,295
    Likes Received:
    815
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Welcome to the forums, Ste!
    As others have said, just write. It will be as long as it needs to be. You will end up either cutting some stuff out or adding some stuff in, so the first order of business is to just get out a draft.

    I also just want to point out one thing about autobiography -- SOMETIMES it is easier to change it to fiction. (They do say all fiction is autobiography.) Not always, mind you, but sometimes. It can be easier to disguise certain things that you might not want some people to recognize, or that you don't want to attribute to one person. It allows you to change some events and the timing thereof to make the story flow better, and it allows you to create some composite characters to again help with the flow of the story and keep the number of characters at a reasonable number. It also eliminates the problem of faulty memory or of some later charge that a description of events was wrong, or at worst, fabricated.

    I say this not to tell you you should change your autobiography to a novel. I only point it out for your consideration. Only you know whether the story is most compelling as autobiography or as fiction.

    Enjoy writing. For me, writing that first draft is the most fun part.
     
    Ste and Andrae Smith like this.
  13. Andrae Smith
    Offline

    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2012
    Messages:
    2,506
    Likes Received:
    1,404
    Location:
    Wandering
    So sagacious @chicagoliz :cool:
     
    chicagoliz likes this.
  14. Ste
    Offline

    Ste New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2014
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for the input guys.
    I totally understand what your saying and yes there are parts of it that will be boring but to have highs you need lows right? its the opposite to appreciate the highs. I love all feedback, I take it all on board especially when I'm in a new field! Its a opportunity for growth.

    I think what scares me a little is the first chapter that I started it with me before 12 years ago, Which to me is all petty normal as it can be, A naughty, dad a drunk and all that but the reason I've started it with that is to make as much in the book as possible and to get a bigger picture of the story, but I don't know if to add this or not.

    Maybe I could add fiction to it like you said and Chicagoliz said, at least this way I don't have to add certain things that could make me vulnerable and that could add a bit of spice to certain parts.

    What would be best selling... A Story about someone else or about themselves as the writer. I'm now thinking if to write it and then say its about someone else or say its me, What are your thoughts on that?

    Thanks
    Ste
     
  15. Daba
    Offline

    Daba Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2013
    Messages:
    75
    Likes Received:
    59
    Unfortunately, there is no easy way around writing :)
    You need to write, read what others write, write, read what you wrote, read some more - repeat to infinity.

    You should by all means simply sit down and write, that's the best way to start. But you should also explore the art of writing, visit the workshop, see how other writers write and where they make mistakes. Than analyze what you wrote and try to find those same mistakes.

    After I finished my first novel, i tossed it away. 90000 words lays forgotten somewhere inside my hard-drive. Simply because I had seen how much I didn't know about writing then. The idea is still here, the story isn't going anywhere, it will be written at some point, just not yet.

    My suggestion would be to extract a part of your autobiographic story, a part that can stand on it's own, turn it into fiction if need be (might be better that way, so you can keep real events for your book), and post it on the workshop so you can get some guidance about your writing.

    Good luck in any case :)
     
    Ste likes this.
  16. chicagoliz
    Offline

    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 30, 2012
    Messages:
    3,295
    Likes Received:
    815
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    For right now, put "bestselling" out of your mind. Concentrate on writing the very best story you can. It doesn't really matter whether it's autobiography or fiction -- an autobiography is, at heart, a story. It should be compelling because it speaks to the reader. It should ring true. And that's true regardless of whether your story is fiction or nonfiction.
     
  17. Andrae Smith
    Offline

    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2012
    Messages:
    2,506
    Likes Received:
    1,404
    Location:
    Wandering
    To second what the others have said, I think now is the time to simply write. Don't burden yourself with "best seller" thoughts yet. They may be far off, especially if you are still improving your writing skills. Not to kill you dream, just try to tackle your project in realistic steps and increments, one thing at a time. I suggest you start writing wherever you see the story starting and let it roll from there. Unnecessary information can be cut and moved in the editing anyway.

    Now, go! Write! Create! :)
     
  18. Ste
    Offline

    Ste New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2014
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ok, thanks a lot guys :) Thanks for the info. Ste.
     
  19. jannert
    Offline

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    7,784
    Likes Received:
    7,299
    Location:
    Scotland
    While there is no reason you can't write autobiography, there are a few pitfalls. One is that you MAY be too close to the situation at the moment to see it clearly, and you'll end up chasing your tail a bit. Two is that it can turn into just an endless (sometimes self-pitying) rehash of all the stuff that bothers you, or whatever has influenced you. It doesn't make much of a story that way.

    The really challenging thing to do is fictionalise it—and not just by changing names and locations (although you should probably do that as well.)

    What you might do is take some aspect of what has happened to you, preferably a point where you feel if you'd done something, your life would have taken an entirely different turn ...and then change what you did. Make your fictional character do what you failed to do. If somebody has abused you and you put up with it - give your fictional character a way to fight back. If you did something horrible to somebody else, take that moment and change it. What did they do when you did the horrible thing? Change that. Make them react to you in a different way. What happens then?

    If you have regrets about something, go back to the point where you regret your action or whatever you didn't do, and do the opposite. The result will not always be what you expect! In fact, if you explore things thoroughly, you may realise you did the right thing in the first place, and there is nothing to regret.

    In other words, you're using your own experiences as the basis for a story, but your experiences are no longer the story itself. They move into something else entirely. And trust me, this can be a very VERY enlightening experience. Not only does it force you to look at your situation in an entirely different way, probably from a different point of view entirely, but it gives you total control over what happens next. This is very liberating if you feel you've been badly hurt by somebody's actions, and it's very enlightening if you feel you hurt somebody else.

    If you are writing about depression, imagine there is a cure. But the cure is not without danger or sacrifice, or harm to others. Explore that idea. Or if you have some physical condition that is troublesome, imagine somebody else has it, and you are their friend or lover or whatever. Don't be afraid to change genders. If you're a female, make your main character a male, and vice-versa. Push the situation as far as you can.

    In other words, juggle around the ideas and make things come out differently. Your actual experiences will give your story the authenticity it requires, but it won't be about 'you' any more. If you're good enough at this, nobody will recognise you in the story, and it will just look like a work of imagination. Which it will be!
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2014
    chicagoliz and Ste like this.
  20. Ste
    Offline

    Ste New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2014
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Brill, thank you for your considerate time for explaining this, Its a shame I cant go into it further because it would narrow it down for people replying but I've heard others work being stolen.

    Ste
     

Share This Page