Saturday, February 9, 2019

Have you thought about writing a book? by Rita Karnopp

Have you thought about writing a book?

There are so many people who have thought about writing a book.  The reason they haven’t?  They just don’t know how to begin.

Fiction writing has so many options that it seems impossible to know how to put it all together to create a page-turner, sometimes even to those who write it.  So, if you're just a beginning writer, it may take some self-convincing to get started.

I’m hoping to dispense that fear of starting for most beginning writers.  Bottom line – all you need to do is sit down in front of your screen (pad and paper if that’s your medium preference) and start.  It won’t be brilliant at first – no one – especially you – should expect it to be perfect.  I promise you – it won’t be. 

The Beginner Writer ~ My grandson is fourteen and has already started writing his first novel.  There are so many mistakes in writing format, spelling, and head-jumping – but he’s started – and I’m so proud of him.  At his young age he has all these scenes worked out in his mind and we discussed the biggie:  a beginning, a middle, and an end.

Surprising me, he already has major ideas for a second book.  Hey, don’t stifle that.  Yes, he should be learning the basics of writing and concentrate on his first book.  But never make the mistake of turning off a new idea – just because you’re in the middle of a work-in-progress.  90% of the time, I’ll get inspiration for my next book somewhere in the middle of writing a scene.   What do I do?

Easy.  I open a new page and type out the flood of information that strikes me.  Sometimes it’s a paragraph, sometimes it’s several pages.  Why do I take time to do this?  Many years ago, I was in that almost asleep – dream state – and the most incredible idea for a book came to me.  I felt the excitement of plotting take over.  It was such a fantastic idea – I KNEW I’d remember it in the morning.  I’m sorry to admit, that incredible story idea still hasn’t surfaced.  All I remember is that it was such an incredible plot and I was beyond excited about it.

Never let this happen to you.  Always keep a pad and pen plus a flashlight by your bedside.  If you’re like me – many inspirational plots occur to me either going into or coming out of sleep.  You will not remember them in the morning – unless you jot down the ideas right away.

One night I was in that almost asleep stage when a native man, wolf headdress framing his face, came to me.  He watched an eagle sweep down toward him and grasp him by the shoulders and fly away with him.  It went on and on … it was so real.  I got out of bed, turned on my computer, then started writing the scene I’d just observed.  It ended up being five pages long.  Two years later that exact scene fit perfectly into the book I was writing; WHISPERING SUN … my first and best-selling book to date.

My second bit of advice for beginner writers is to write consistently every day.  Where it be an hour and several.  Find the best time for you to write.  Do you need to get up an hour earlier than everyone to have that quiet time?  Or, are you like me?  I write best in the quiet hours of then night.  I won’t bore you with the number of times I’ve written until four or five am.  You have to find the time that works best for you … and then stick to it.  Self-discipline is key to becoming a writer.

Why, you might ask?  Well, it’s not easy to take yourself away from all the actions of day-to-day.  But a write must devote time to writing … and the more you write – the better you get at it.  Soon you’ll find the words come easier, the thoughts flow onto the pages easier, and you realize you’re not thinking about it … but you’re suddenly adding sounds, textures, odors, tastes, as well as conversations.  The more you write – you no longer have to work so hard on the basics – they become second nature.

Bottom line – if you want to be a writer – you must to write.  Period.

An important question I must ask.  Are you a reader?  The best writers are those who read voraciously.  It doesn’t matter what you read, just read.  I find I read the genre I’m writing.  If I’m writing 1860s … reading either novels or books on 1800s clothing, guns, language of time, or daily life in the 1860s only helps fodder those realistic images I need to add to my story. 

Have you considered bouncing your story idea off an established writer?  Sharing your work and getting their comments is a great way to improve your writing.  Just be willing to be open-minded.  If you take comments personally – then you won’t benefit from them – we learn by making misstates.  It’s all part of the process.  Always take time to think about a criticism … take it to-heart – then try to write better.  Believe it or not, in time you’ll receive more compliments than criticism.



  1. Great post. Writing is so individual. No pper and pen for me. I dream my plots. Keep writing

  2. Many book ideas come to me in dreams. I do keep a notebook and pen on my bedside table. Great advice, Rita.