Writing Books/non fiction


hi susan,

ok well I am 17 years old and I have a story to tell. I want to write a book about my life and the struggles i've faced being bipolar, a crack addicted baby, neglected by both parents, mothers suicide & so much more. I just need help getting started. I know what I want to write but I can't seem to put it down on paper. I need help with chapter outlines. I don't know what to write in each, how to outline it. Im just so confused and need help. thanks


Hello Nichole:

Yours is a common problem, especially among young writers. They have a desire to write and a lot of ideas, but there they are stopped. What to do next?

Here's what I would advise for you: get a couple of packs of 3x5 cards, and every time you think of something you want to put in the book, write it down - a few words or both sides of the card, whatever is necessary. Go through your cards often, as what is written on them will spark more ideas for more cards.

When you have a large number of cards, lay them out and see if any of them seem to "go together." Gather those into categories: you would no doubt have one category about being bipolar, another about being a crack addicted baby, parental neglect, etc. Separate the cards into categories and put a rubber band around each.

At this point, you have some decisions to make about the book in general, for example, what you want to do with the book once it's done. Much depends on the answer to that question. When you have decided, come back and I'll tell you what to do next.

I hope this helps. If it does, a nice rating would be greatly appreciated. I am proud of my high scores over 1900 questions.

Thank you for writing!  

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Susan Rand


I can answer questions about the elements of fiction and non-fiction writing: how to get started, writing techniques, re-writing, etc. I will NOT write for you, do critiques except from my website at http://pygmypress.com, or give you ideas. I will not answer home-or-schoolwork questions in any category. If English is your second language, please say so, and I will make an exception. Please submit no more than one or two questions at once, as I tend to go into detail in my answers.


I wrote my first book in 1957 and have been writing and studying writing since. I have a BA in Written Communications, and have taught writing both privately and through adult education for 15 years. Have also edited (fiction books) for an online publisher and edited/wrote more than 100 articles for a teen sex education site. Currently writing web content and mentoring beginning writers.

BA degree in Written Communication

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