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I have an idea for a fiction book but I don't know how to go about writing it. I have no experience in this area and would appreciate any help that could be given

Hi Lisa!

Sometimes getting started is the hardest part. But at least you have an idea. Here's how to develop it.

For this you must use your computer. Type your idea into your word processing program, with all the details you have now. When you run out, stop, but do the same thing the next day, and the next, every time something occurs to you. Keep going this way until you seem to have come to an end, or the main problem is resolved. (There must be a problem, of course, or there's no story). Next, you must decide whether this story will be "character-driven" or "Plot-driven" - where will the emphasis be placed, on what happens, or on the character's growth - emotional, physical, spiritual, etc.?

Once you've made that decision, commit yourself to it. It seems easier for beginning writers to handle a plot - I'm 65 and not sure I know anything much about human nature!- but it may be the opposite for you.

Explore this idea fully to make sure it is good enough to inspire and sustain you through 90-100,000 words. There's a lot of work to writing a book! At some point you may run out of steam, or lose interest in the story/characters, or you might just become completely bored with it all. If that happens, put this story aside and wait for another idea to present itself. Don't look around for some formula you can use, or borrow someone else's ideas, or try to graft elements onto or into a story. Wait for an idea to come to you. You may go through this process 7, 8, or even 10 times before coming upon a truly great idea - many writers do! Don't worry about it - what you will learn in your practice will make it well worth the trouble.

In the meantime, start reading books on writing. At your local library you will find many of them. Start with the very elementary ones and work your way up, making notes as you go. Also read novels of the type you want your book to be, and study the words and sentences to see how the author got the results they wanted (making you FEEL something!)

I hope this has helped. If it has, a nice rating would be appreciated. I am proud of my high score over 200+ questions.

And good luck with your book!  

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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, 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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