March 2021 Featured Article
So You Want to Write a Book
This past month I have received a larger than usual stack of questions, messages, and emails about writing. Usually, the emails and social media messages I receive are focused on my books …this number one question recently has been “When is Book 3 coming out???” The answer is THIS SUMMER!!! YAY!
Not this month. This month has been very writing centered. Lots of people have reached out with questions about how to write a book, where to start, what does the process look like. Honestly, I love those questions. We need more books in the world! I am a writer because I am a reader. I love to read. I love stories. I love books. And I will shout it loudly from the rooftops every day of my life that we need more books! The world needs stories, especially Christian stories. We need to be reminded of the love of God in the midst of this broken world. We need to read stories that share the beauty of redemption and grace and healing. We even need stories that point out the darkness and terror in the world. We need to see what we are up against so that we can understand the true power of God’s ultimate victory.
So, if you have been thinking about writing a book…DO IT! The world needs your words. Here’s Michelle’s quick advice on where to start.
1) What kinds of stories do you like to read? The books you are passionate about reading are probably the types of books you will be passionate about writing. And trust me, you will need passion to carry you through the times when writing is challenging and frustrating and hard. Do you love romance books (like me)? Do you devour fantasy books? Pick your favorite genre. The genre you read the most will be the one you are most familiar with and that will give you a head start on your writing because you know what readers expect and what makes them angry….and no author wants angry readers.
2) Start brainstorming. Maybe start with a question. Mission Hollywood started when I asked myself this question, “What would happen if a bad boy movie star who didn’t believe in God met a woman who loved Jesus?” It all started there. Play around with questions and when you find one that intrigues you, one that makes you start imaging scenes and possibilities and characters, that might be your book.
3) Write down the most important parts of the story. Now, I must confess, I am not a planner. I like to jump in and write by the seat of my pants and see where the story goes. BUT, even a pantser like me needs a little bit of direction. So, I recommend at least planning the beginning scene, two scenes in the middle, and the end. For example, when I started Mission Hollywood, I had planned the meeting at the airport (the beginning), Noah blackmailing Ben to help at the church, the movie premiere, the **** at the ****** (spoiler alert…something bad happens), and the happily ever after ending. It wasn’t much of an outline, but it gave me a direction. I knew where I was going and I knew a few of the stops I had to reach along the way. Even the smallest plan can help keep you pointed in the right direction when you hit a “what comes next?” moment.
4) Write! There is no shortcut, no quick fix, no way around it. Writers write. It is literally our job description. In order to share your book with the world, you first have to get it on paper. Books are written one word at a time. Even the greatest, most amazing bestseller started out that way…one word at a time. You can have the best story, incredible characters, a compelling and emotional plot, but if you don’t put it on paper, no one will ever see it. One word at a time, that is the simple and hard answer.
So, friends. If you have a story in your heart, if you have something you want to say, if you have words that want to break free…now is the time! My email is always open if you have questions!