Writing Books/help


What should I study to become a writer? Is it necesary to have read plenty of books?
Is it necesary to have studied ortography and composition?
I worked 25 years as a firefigter in Venezuela and I want to write my memories but I do not know how to begin with
thak you

Hello Aurax:

Everyone's a writer, but good writers - those whose books are worth reading - must learn the following, in more or less this order:

1.  Spelling, grammar, usage
2.  The elements of composition: how to construct a sentence, a paragraph, a scene.
3.  Organization of fiction and non-fiction
4.  The elements of fiction (characterization, setting, plot, etc.) and the way non-fiction is arranged.
5.  The techniques of fiction: making characters live, arousing emotion in the reader, the "hook," how to keep the reader turning pages, etc. How to keep readers interested in your non-fiction book.
6.  Rhythm and pacing
7.  The business of writing: keeping records, etc.
8.  Finding an agent/publisher

It is not necessary to read many books, but the more you read the more you will learn about writing.

To get started, I recommend this method: First you need an "organizing principle." The organizing principle, or premise, is necessary if you want to write a meaningful
book, rather than just a simple story that people will immediately forget and especially if you want someday to publish it.

The premise is what your story is "about," and can also be described as the "takeaway," - what you want the reader to take away, or learn, from the book. It should be universally applicable (true for all people). This statement will describe one principle - something your life has taught you. An example would be "Love plus plenty of money makes for a good marriage." True or untrue, it should reflect your views on the subject. You must feel passionately about it and believe strongly that this is something the world needs to know, or to be reminded of.
This is the most important part of your book, so choose carefully.

Next, get yourself a pack of 3x5 cards, and on each write a line or two of a story "event," i.e., "I graduated from high school." Then go through them and toss out the ones that do not support your premise. There will be some, of course, that reveal nothing about the premise, are simply "Adds" - character development, plot action, bits of dialogue, etc. Lay those aside for inclusion later.

When you have all the events that support the premise down on cards, sort them into the order in which they will be presented, and make an outline. This is where you insert the Adds material. You should see a coherent structure  emerging now. Once the outline is done, begin writing your
first draft. Don't rewrite, don't judge your work, just continue on until you get to the end. All this draft is for is to establish structure. The fun part comes next, in the second draft, where you may let your imagination soar, filling in the details, but always adhering to the

I hope this helps. If it does, a nice rating would be greatly appreciated. I am proud of my high score over 700 questions.

And good luck with your 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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