Tuesday, June 20, 2017

So you want to write a book

“So you want to write a book.” That was the title of an interactive workshop I attended recently given by Julie Castillo, author and instructor.

She often is asked by students – Do I have what it takes to write a book?

Of course, you do, is the first answer. You can't know if you have talent until you try. 

But before plunging ahead, she recommends asking yourself other questions, such as:

Should I write that book? Will it hurt me or will it hurt someone else?

Who am I writing for? You should know your audience, but at first, write to please yourself.

Do I have the talent? You don’t know until you try.

How do you know whether your idea will work in the commercial marketplace? She said you need to have something unique and fresh. If you are writing non-fiction, you need to ask, what new information does my book bring to the marketplace that isn’t there?

How do I get started? One way is to write in a journal. Tell your own story. You may find the extraordinary in your every day life. Also, freewrite on a subject, just get your thoughts down on paper. This helps you dig deeper).

How do I get it written? You need structure. Three acts – beginning, middle and end is the basic step. Outlining your idea will help you structure your book or story.

How will you promote your book to ensure its success? There is a lot you can do and you should start early. Your book is only considered new for a year.

Julie speaking at a 2013 meeting of
the Carroll County Chapter MWA.
There were more questions asked. Also, a lot more detail was given for the questions listed above. If you want to learn more about writing, I would recommend taking one of Julie’s classes or another class by an experienced writer. 

I wrote previously about Julie. Check out my August 15, 2013 blog, if you want to see what she discussed at that presentation.

Julie Castillo is a fourteen-year veteran of the publishing and film industries, co-writer of two novels and thirteen nonfiction books—including two New York Times bestsellers, biographer for Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura, and chronicler of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! 
A recent book is Eat Local For Less.

She is a college anthropology instructor, writing instructor, enrichment curriculum designer, entrepreneur, writer, and futurist. She holds an MA in sociocultural anthropology from Catholic University with a specialty in gender studies and ethnopsychology.

Julie has taught creative writing and publishing classes at local community colleges since 2007, including Carroll and Frederick county colleges.

There is much more to writing a book than just sitting down and putting pen to paper, or pushing computer keys. Whether you take a college, community college or other class, learn online or through books and writing friends, it is important to continue to learn the craft of writing. That is one of the reasons I am writing this blog, sharing what I learn and learning from others.

I hope you keep learning and keep writing.

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