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Writing Books/plots & ideas


dear sir,

i have a question concerning the plot of a story.
i am 18 and have read a vast selection of books and novels from horror to romantic comedy. my favourite authors are Alice Sebold, Sophie Kinsella and Marianne Keyes, the thing is, i really want to write a book of my own but how do you write a book without sub conciously copying parts from books you have read, or using bits urself including the plot of a story, charactures, places etc... i dont want my book to be anything but my own ideas and structure. do you understand what i am trying to ask ?

i would be grateful for a reply a.s.a.p
thank you
sarah leake
18 yrs

Dear Sarah:

First, allow me to say that I'm sorry for taking so long to answer you; the AllExperts web site was not working earlier.

As to your question:

I am going to give you information you asked for, and some information you did not ask for, but you require it.  Let's take care of the bad news first.  Your writing lacks proper spelling, punctuation, grammar, and format.  There is no way on earth you are ready to write a book.  At this point, I don't believe you are able to compose a single sentence without a mistake.

The good news is, if you have what it takes to write a book, you will see the challenge through to the end.  You will do whatever it takes to accomplish your task.  I suggest you take English courses along with creative writing and literature courses.  I suggest you start at the high school level (I believe they now call this 'middle school'?).  You may be angry with me if you wish, however, do not allow me to discourage you.  Never allow anyone to discourage you!  Believe it or not, I'm on your side.

Now, as to your question proper -  

Like most queries, the answer lies hiding in the question: "...i really want to write a book of my own..." and "...i dont wnat my book to be anything but my own ideas and structure.  do you understand what i am trying to ask?"

Yes, I understand.  You are asking me how best, as a creative artist, you may come to know yourself.  You may not realize that this is the question you are asking, but it certainly is.  When one knows one's self in a deep and profound way and calls upon that knowledge to express one's self in a creative fashion, the writer/artist no longer worries about the originality of their material.  Introspection is the writer's food, water, and air.  It takes many years and much self-study to learn to write from your gut, from the deepest part of you.  

As a less philosophical and more practical approach, I suggest you begin keeping journals.  Write about everything in your life.  Let nothing escape your notice.  At first, your journal may seem surface and mundane, although, with time it will naturally grow deeper as you begin to examine your life choices and motivations; this is creative growth and growth is the direction you wish to move in.  Write your journal with a dictionary and a simple style book by your side.  

At this point, I am going to impart a beginning to your writing that, if taken seriously, will help to deepen your writing and cause you to examine yourself - it's my way of giving you a head start.  Ready?  Here goes!

We believe we are living.  This is not true.  In fact, we are dying.  From the moment we are born, we are born dying. Only when one comes to grips with this fact does one begin to live a self-determined life.  Now that we know we are dying, each mundane act takes on great importance.  Life becomes an original adventure novel because every action is taken as if it were our last; it very well could be!  A trip to the supermarket is filled with odors, colors, textures, sounds, and faces that we must get to know because this is our last trip.  When one masters the art of dying, simultaneously one masters the art of living - interesting how that works!  

The life you will find yourself writing about will be your own.  The plots and stories and characters will evidence themselves and grow from your own experiences.  You are already an original, you just have to discover yourself and write it down!  One day something you write in your journal will bite you back.  It won't leave you alone and you'll be forced to return to that page.  On that page you will find your book.

Max Roth

Writing Books

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M.L. 'Max' Roth, Executive Editor


My specialist area is literary and philosophical fiction. I am pleased to answer all queries regarding story, plot, character arc and development, environment, structure, theme, subtext, and conflict.


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