How to Write a Book: Outlining, Word Counts, & Market Research  | Part 2 | iWriterly

How to Write a Book: Outlining, Word Counts, & Market Research | Part 2 | iWriterly

January 17, 2020 8 By Kailee Schamberger


Is writing a book with one of your
dreams, but you don’t know where to start, how to outline the general events of the
book, or even what events are important to include? Learn the basics in this iWriterly video. Heya, book nerds! I’m Meg LaTorre On this episode of iWriterly,
I’m excited to continue our three-part series on how to write a book.
I’ll leave a link in the description below to part one, determining plot and
characters, in case any of you guys missed that. Today we’ll focus on outlining, word
count, and research. Whether you’re our
plotter or a pantser, meaning you fly by the seed of your pants, it’s generally
recommended to outline the main events of your story. This way, you’ll have a
general outline for where you want your book to go, but hopefully it also means
you’ll have less editing to do after your first draft. As Vivien Reis details
in her series How to Outline Your Novel, there are eight points that you want to
hit throughout your story. 1.) Homeland. Introduce a character in the world that
they currently live in and hint at the story problem. 2.) Catalyst #1.
The first third of your book is where you have your inciting incident. This
conflict acts as a turning point for your protagonist. 3.) Reactive phase. The hero
reacts to Catalyst #1 in an emotional manner, and they are following
the plot more than affecting it. 4.) Catalyst #2. The protagonist gets a piece
of crucial information that gives meaning to the story problem or conflict.
This gives the protagonist a reason to fight back. 5.) Proactive phase. The
protagonist is now on the offensive. They are directly affecting the plot instead
of following it. 6.) Catalyst #3. The protagonist gets one last piece of
information that spurs them to meet the antagonist head-on. 7.) Climax. The epic
battle or final showdown. And, of course, 8.) the Conclusion. I’ll leave links in the
description below to Vivien’s video, so you guys can check that out. To avoid having to
cut back on word count after you’ve completed your manuscript, research
general word count parameters before you even start. By researching your target
word count for your age group and genre– age group are things like middle grade (MG), young adult (YA), adult (A), and so on, and genre are
things like fantasy, thriller, contemporary, etc.–you will have a better
idea of what agents and editors are looking for. Should you pursue
traditional publishing versus self-publishing, it’s important to adhere
to word count expectations as a debut author. As a debut author, you haven’t yet
established your audience. These are the people who are essentially guaranteed to
buy your book. Therefore, it’s a safer investment for these publishing houses
to purchase, and ultimately sell, a shorter book. I’ll leave a link in the
description below to an article I wrote on word counts. By reading books in your age group and genre, you’ll learn not only what scenarios have been done in the past–such as wizards in boarding schools
–but you also learn what is selling in today’s market. Many writers rely
too heavily on books that were published 10, 20, 30 years ago. But the publishing
market then was so different than it is today. Modern readers prefer immediacy,
for example, to things such as a long-winded prologues. You’ll also want
to be aware of tropes, archetypes, and overdone scenarios in your genre. One
example is your protagonist grows up on a farm and his or her parents die in a
horrible accident usually caused by the antagonist or one of his or her
cronies. By being aware of what else is out there, you will help to make your
story as unique as possible. Thanks so much for tuning into this three-part
series: How to Write a Book. This has been part 2. Let me know in the comment
section if you have questions about the process of writing a book or anything
that we went over today. If you haven’t already, subscribe to my channel and give
the video a thumbs up. It lets me know that you like this type of content and
want more. As always, keep writing!