Writing a Book Chapter

So you’ve got an idea for a book, you’ve got a plan for what you’re writing…how do you write a single chapter?

The same principles apply as planning your book. Where your book plan was a guide for you to get from the start to the end by way of the middle, you now need to think about your chapter in the same way. Your reader is coming in at a certain place, and you need to guide them out of the end of the chapter somewhere else – how can you get them there?

If it’s the first chapter, you might need to make some introductions. For a novel, this will be locations, characters, the world we are in. For a factual book, it could be the people involved, the location of the topic, specific characteristics of successful people, or even a short piece about not worrying too much about making progress (as long as you make some).

In both cases, think about the structure, the tone of voice and the flow. You’ll also want to consider how much detail you need to include. Too much and it can become boring, too little and the reader will feel they’re not getting enough information.

Create a mini-plan for yourself. Your book plan should contain some guidelines for you to follow, so use these as your starting point. Then add in some extra points about where you want the chapter to go, what information will be included, and how it will fit into the rest of the book.

Finally, start writing! Follow your plan but don’t forget you can always change things around as you go – if something’s not working or you feel your chapter is going off track, don’t be afraid to go back and adjust things.

The key is to start. You can get caught up in planning, trying to make everything perfect, adjusting before you even get going. Making sure you’ve got the right structure in place will take your book from an idea into a reality, but ONLY if you start writing.

Just one word.

Go on.

You can do it.

Then the next word, and the next, and before you know it, the chapter is done. Once you’ve finished putting it all together, read through your chapter several times to make sure that everything is polished and shines brightly – what would your readers expect?

If you need to make changes, you can do it now, to set yourself up for the next chapter. Don’t worry about typos or grammar – you’ll fix that later. The important part is to get this out of your head and onto paper or a computer.

You might find you missed a plot point when you’re writing a later chapter – there’s no issue in going back and adding it in. This is your draft, and it is the perfect space to make mistakes.

Keep going.

Word after word.

Get those chapters out of your head.

Once every chapter is made tangible, then you can go back and edit, correct, and revise. But so many books get caught between your head and the paper, and they never escape.

Let your book flow and release it to the world.