When it comes to writing fiction, there are generally a few rules I stick to in the development process of a new title. And no, this isn’t about outlining or revisions. I’m talking about the things that will kill a book before it even starts.
Talking About It
Chances are if you are an author or a writer, you might understand some of these terms, but for the sake of explanation and a blog post, let me say what these terms mean to me.
Writing a book, whether you’re doing a full length novel or a short story, is a lengthy process that requires planning, dedication and a will to follow through to the end. Sometimes, the going gets hectic, but you push on through to the very end.
Why does this happen?
For me, writing is a journey one takes step by step…or chapter by chapter. Manifesting elements of your story to others brings them out of obscurity and into a concrete form. Doing so creates a set of obstructions to conquer and it generally makes the writing process more difficult. It’s entirely different than outlining a book for some reason.
Reveal too much, and you’ll have a mountain to climb before you’re through. That said, I believe it’s usually okay to reveal some things once you have at least 50% of the book written.
What do I mean by assets?
Literally anything you do that is not directly part of the process of planning a book. I would also argue that an extensive outline can be damaging to the writing momentum.
Again, as far as I’m concerned the 50% rule also applies here.
These factors don’t necessarily kill the book outright. Rather, they subtract from the momentum. That said, in my ideal scenario, I would dabble in neither of these until 100% of the book is written.
In closing, I’d like to say that the so called “Book Killers” don’t always pan out that way. Depending on the situation or the nature of your audience, talking about a book before it is written can be an immensely useful brainstorming experience.
It just usually ends up making things sour, so use your best judgment.