So, You Want to Write A Book…

Keri De Deo



This post by Keri De Deo


When I meet people and mention that I’m an author and editor, they often launch into their book writing aspirations. They end the discussion with the statement, “But I don’t know where to start.”


Yes, Lewis Carroll said, “Begin at the beginning,” but it’s not as simple as that.

Editors and agents want the beginning of a book to capture its audience from the first sentence and to entice the reader to continue to the end.

That’s a daunting task. So, of course, if thinking about this beginning, you’ll never begin. Rather than “begin at the beginning,” begin writing where your idea starts. You can figure out the beginning later.

Diana Gabaldon, a favorite author of mine, speaks about “kernels.” These are small snapshots of characters, descriptions, images…short sentences that start an idea. From there, she develops these ideas into larger and longer texts. Sometimes, these ideas make it into the book, but sometimes, they hit the editing floor. That’s OK.

I repeat: THAT’S OK. Every thought you have for a book or a character or an idea does not have to end up in the book. It doesn’t mean it’s not valuable. It simply means that it’s not meant for the reader. Hold on to those pieces, though, because they could be useful in developing your character.

It’s also important to develop the habit of writing. Write daily–whether it’s in the morning, afternoon, or the middle of the night. Many famous authors write best in the morning, but morning writing isn’t necessarily the best time for all writers. I tend to write best late at night when it’s quiet except for the occasional owl or coyote. That’s my best time, but it may not be your best time. Explore your writing time–see when it flows the best, and then stick to that time and write, write, write.

Don’t worry if it’s good or not–just write. You can figure out if it’s good later, and if it’s not good, you can fix it. Writing is an art, but it’s also a skill that we must practice if we want to improve.

So, good luck with that book! Keep at it, and you just might find yourself among the published authors!

{A previous version of this was posted at}

Keri De Deo, owner of Witty Owl Consulting, lives in northern Arizona and works as a writer, editor, researcher, and instructional designer. She is author of the young adult novel Nothing but a Song, released in December 2017. She loves technology and finding innovative tools for a happy, healthy life. Keri spends her free time with her husband kayaking, hiking, and walking her two beautiful dogs, Maiya and Lilla. To learn more about Keri, visit her website or follow her on Facebook (@authorkeridedeo) and Twitter (@thewittyowl).



10 thoughts on “So, You Want to Write A Book…

  1. Best time to write: 9:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. Unfortunately, my brain wakes up about nine o’clock. It’s also the best time to sweep under the refrigerator and scrub the sink. Thanks for the helpful information.


  2. “…but sometimes, they hit the editing floor.” Interesting way of looking at it. I treat my writing exploits as one big R&D experiment…not everything I write is supposed to make it to market. Once I made that change to my approach, I became a much happier writer.


  3. I didn’t know who was the author of this blog post until the end. Great post, Keri De Deo. Before becoming an author, I was a newspaper reporter. When writing a feature story, my lead had to be catchy to snag readers. More than once an editor would tell me the lead paragraph sucked. I think there’s something else that can also snag a reader to buy a book, and that’s the blurb. I’ll look at the cover and read the blurb. If a fantasy genre book, the two tell me if the story is one I will probably like. And I’m willing to give a novel several chapters to draw me in. But I do like an action scene for the first chapter.


  4. Good advice. I always tell people I’d be happy to help them. I know when I first started I sought help from everywhere. Just a little encouragement sometimes means a lot. Welcome to the Writing Wranglers and Warriors. I’m glad to have you. Cher’ley


  5. Yes, good advice, and I always need to hear that some of my beautiful, informative writing might need to hit the editing floor and that’s ok! My best time to write is anytime I won’t be interrupted, which can be hard to know when I and my husband are both retired from other pursuits now.


  6. Great advice. I tend to write best at night. The house is quiet and I can’t see the critters roaming around the yard outside my office. Thanks for sharing.


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