write a book

How do I write a good book? - The 12 most important adjusting screws

There's no magic formula, but: professionalism and craft can help you. How do you write a book with authentic characters and an engaging plot? Looking for tips on what makes your genre special, how to find an appropriate book title, or how to avoid writer's block? Plan and write a book step by step from idea to publication.

Finding a gripping book idea

You want to write a book? Then you should first find a suitable topic. Or you already have a book idea that has been floating around in your head for a long time and now you want to put it down on paper? Maybe you want to put your imagination into a novel or pass on your expertise to your readers? But is the idea enough for a whole book?

How to turn your inspiration into a structured idea

You've already found a topic you want to write a book about? Great, then jot down all the keywords you can think of. Many writers carry a notebook with them at all times for spontaneous ideas, or you may have a note-taking app on your phone or keep a record of your thoughts on your PC. Inspiration can come from anywhere - a walk, a hot bath, or sharing with others. Stay open to new impressions, you'll notice how quickly the lines of your notebook or document fill up.

In the next step, you should structure them and compile them into topic blocks. The best thing to do is to formulate a sentence from your idea that succinctly summarizes the resulting book. Here you can use the Snowflake Method help.

How to make your book unique

Once you've found an idea, you should pause again. Your idea may excite you, but does it excite your potential readers? What value does your book idea add to your readers? What will your reader get in your book? These questions will help you develop the added value of your topic.

What makes your book unique?

What's it about and what do you want readers to take away?

How is your book different from others in the same genre?

Why would readers read your book instead of another?

Before writing: Introduce your idea

Once you've summarized your idea in one sentence, there's a potentially awkward step that many aspiring writers neglect: Tell a friend or family member about it. Does your succinct summary generate interest, or is the idea not well received? Is it just vaguely worded or actually uninteresting?

Take time to consider your idea. Is it enough for a gripping novel? A clear book idea helps with writing and with not losing the red thread. Many entangled subplots can cause the author to get bogged down and lose sight of the main thread. The story becomes unclear, the reader disappointed and too confused to follow the central track of the book. If you can state your book's theme in a few sentences, you'll always keep the core in mind. And also for the later marketing you're all set.

In what genre should I write my book?

You'll find it easiest to write in the genre you like to read. You know the common basics, the target audience, and what's important. If you want to write a love story, it helps if you've read a lot of romance novels. Then you intuitively know what makes a love story work: romance, fateful encounters, unfulfilled longings, tender temptations, passionate lovers, unexpected twists before the romantic countdown, or a tragic ending. Know your genre if you want to write a novel.

The same applies to non-fiction: as an avid hobby cook and fan of cookbooks, you know what's important in a cookbook. You've probably been annoyed by ones that didn't describe recipes well or used ingredients that were too exotic. Maybe that was even your incentive to write your own. Cookbook to write.

Watch out for the genre mix

Even if your fantasy novel contains a love story or you want to mix different genres in your book in some other way, make sure that it can be clearly assigned to a single genre in the end. Publishers as well as bookstores and online stores work with specific product groups, based on the individual genres. If your book is not clearly positioned, it may be misclassified and not found by your target audience. It's even better if your book fits into a subgenre, such as "urban fantasy" or "young adult romance". This makes the target audience more specific and increases findability and sales opportunities.

Define the target group

Is your romance novel for young women or more for women in the second half of life? Are you writing your non-fiction book for politically interested people with a great general education or rather for readers who want to acquire basic political knowledge? Describe your target group as concretely as possible. Not only will this help with marketing later on, but it will also make writing much easier if you know who you are writing for.

If you've got your Submit manuscript to a traditional publisher it is usually necessary to clearly state the genre and target audience. The editor who looks at your text needs this information to get a clear impression of your book. And also in the Self-Publishing you should know who you want to target and tailor your marketing to that.

The challenges of your genre

Depending on the genre in which you write, there are different house requirements to master. While a novel needs a clear plot and authentic characters and dialogues, the content of a technical book must be formulated in an understandable way and professionally researched. In technical books, moreover citedYou have to observe a few formalities.

Before writing, you should research your genre and know what to expect. Do you want a write a crime novel or is it more of a Thriller? Does your Children's book to the intended target group?

Structure and build-up of tension

Before writing, you should work out a structure. If you want to write a novel, it helps to plan in advance what course the plot will take. To do this, you can use a Arc of suspense oriented or use other methods such as the hero's journey to establish a base.

However, a structure doesn't mean you have to stick rigidly to it. Writing is a creative process and your plot can change as you go along. But it's important to keep the core in mind and not get bogged down or lost in illogical plot developments. The more extensive the story, the more necessary the thorough planning. A descriptive and suitable method for planning is the Snowflake Method: In this process, individual elements of a novel are planned piece by piece, like a snowflake, and assembled into a story at the end.

In the case of a non-fiction or trade paperback you should determine in the structure which topics you would like to include. Here, too, the common thread and a logical structure are important. Basic explanations form the basis for more complex aspects in later chapters. With a table of contents you keep track of the framework of your book.

Several Authoring Software offer assistance in planning and structuring a book. Some also help to create an overview of the characters or to design a vivid storyboard.

How do you write good characters?

If you want to write a book, you should know the main characters in advance and plan their development over the course of the novel. This way you avoid that they don't act comprehensibly for readers or that you describe them differently.

As a writer, you should know your characters intimately. Only then will they come alive for your readers. This includes not only appearance and age, but also, for example, the social environment, the previous life and the strengths and weaknesses. How does the protagonist change over the course of the story? And to what extent do his moral views influence the plot? A character sheet can help you structure your characters. Also in authoring software such as Papyrus or ywriter offer assistance with character development.

As with plot progression, the same applies here: Leave yourself room for change. You don't need to work out every character in detail. Rather, they usually develop in parallel with the plot. That is completely normal.

Which narrative perspective should you choose?

Narrative perspective determines the point of view from which you write your novel. This can be a main character narrating from their perspective. Or the narrator looks at the action from the outside and is omniscient. Which narrative perspective you choose depends on the nature of your story. Do you want to deal with emotions? Then you should choose a person or first person perspective. Do you want the narrator to comment on and analyze the action and characters? Then an authorial narrative perspective would make sense. Again, you don't have to make this decision from the beginning. Try different ways and choose the one that suits you and your book best.

Writing a book: Learning the Craft of Writing

Writing is hard work. Many prominent authors can confirm this. Taking a self-critical look at one's own text, changing it, varying it, discarding entire passages and starting over again - that's all part of writing and takes time and patience.

To practice your writing skills, you should take every opportunity to write and read. How does your favorite author build and sustain suspense in his or her mystery novel and keep the reader guessing? Reading targeted novels in your genre will help you come up with your own ideas and plots.

Interacting with other writers can be helpful in getting new perspectives on writing. Courses at a Writing School can also help you improve your writing. There you can also get valuable tips from lecturers. There are writing workshops on a wide range of topics and genres. You can learn what makes a crime novel, how to write atmospheric scenes or authentic dialogue.

But don't let perfectionism get in the way. The most important thing in writing remains passion.

How much research does it take to write a book?

For a historical novel, you should know the historical context, and for a mystery novel, the work of the criminal police or detectives must not be misrepresented. Research precedes a good book. Readers find it hard to forgive factual errors. That's why it's better to check details once too often.

With reference books, a mistake can even result in you losing your reputation as an expert. So check carefully and find test readers who are knowledgeable about the subject before you publish your book.

But don't get lost in research. Digging through numerous reference books on a topic will hardly advance you and your novel and, in the worst case, maneuver you into writer's block.

The beginning: How do I start a book?

Have you ever put a book aside because it just couldn't grab you? A good beginning is important - even the first sentences. You don't need to have them ready at the beginning, you can write them later. But what belongs on the first pages when you want to write a book?

Right at the beginning, you should draw the reader into the story. Only reveal enough to keep them interested. A detailed description of the characters will suffice later. It's best to grab a conflict or the main problem of your book right at the beginning. And the mood and style will also be clear in the first few pages - do you write humorously, ironically, mysteriously?

But it's not just the beginning of your book that's important, it's... Sentence Starters in general. Especially in descriptive text passages, repetition can easily occur: "He walked in front of the door and looked to both sides of the street. He was freezing, but didn't want to turn back for his jacket. He was used to the cold. He took a deep breath...". In "writing fever," this sort of thing can happen quickly. When revising, you should track down and replace such monotonous sentence beginnings.

Dealing with writer's block

The fear of the white sheet is something even top authors know. It has nothing to do with the skills as an author or the quality of the texts. Sometimes the words just don't want to flow and the page remains blank. Often little breaks or a walk help. Or new inspiration comes when you revisit the manuscript you've written so far. Exchanging ideas with like-minded writers can also help. There are different methods to Writer's block Overcome. Whether it's a writing routine or creative exercises - don't give up, but try out what helps you get back into writing.

How do you find a good book title?

An Book title should compress the plot in a few words to the point and make as many readers as possible curious - admittedly, not an easy task. But don't let that worry you. Write down keywords that make up your book or theme. This can often be enough to spark ideas. Also, there are different methods to come up with a suitable book title, which are also used by marketing experts or editors.

Maybe you had a suitable idea at the beginning or during the writing process? Then you should definitely go to Amazon or bookstore.com check if the title already exists on the book market.

Book Writing: Proofreading and polishing

Every year, numerous books come onto the market with which your work has to compete. Today's readers are also critical and expect an exciting and, above all, error-free text - and if they are dissatisfied, you will receive negative reviews. That's why you should at least have your text proofread and, in the best case, edited. This will help you avoid spelling mistakes and gaps in logic. It's perfectly normal to become "business blind" as an author. You know the plot and characters by heart, so you rarely find inconsistencies. That's when it can help to invest in an editor. Because an editor goes beyond proofreading and checks your book with regard to the thread, logic and structure.

Ghostwriters and pseudonyms

Do you have a novel idea in mind, but don't enjoy writing it? Or you're an expert on a topic and want to publish your expertise in a book, but don't have the time to write it yourself? Then a Ghostwriter can be a sensible alternative. There are a few things to consider when choosing a professional writer, and the costs should not be underestimated. But it offers many advantages, for example, the book can appear under your name.

Many authors, on the other hand, have the desire to publish their own book under Pseudonym to publish. This can be useful, for example, if it fits your genre better than your real name. Or if you want to write an erotic novel, but don't want to be recognized as an author by your private and professional environment. If you publish through publishers or self-publishing services, this is usually not a problem. If you want to take care of it yourself, there are, for example, at the imprint a few things to keep in mind.


It takes more than "just writing" to write a book. In addition to the passion for writing, writing a book involves a good portion of work. It takes patience, perseverance and a self-critical eye - many authors often rewrite individual passages of text several times. As a foundation, you should structure the plot of your novel or create an outline for your technical book. Courses at writing schools and exchanges with authors can help to professionalise you. And after writing your book, book professionals such as editors or designers and self-publishing service providers such as tredition will be there to help you.


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