Whether you’re writing a novel or a business guide, it’s important to think about the end result of how your book will look. Here are five things to think about before you start writing.
How to Structure Your Book
1. How long it will be: an A5 paperback of around 120 pages can be 55,000 words. If you have a rough idea of how long you want your book to be, you can break it into manageable chunks and allocate the first and last 15% of the word count for your introduction and conclusion. Or if you’re writing fiction, use them to set the scene and bring in your characters, and then tie up the loose ends in a satisfying way.
2. Break it down some more: if it’s overwhelming to think that you’ve got to produce 50,000 plus words to have a substantial book, break it into more manageable bits. Plot out your character arcs and cliff-hangers or your theory and practical sections, and if possible give them a word count too, then focus on one part at a time.
3. Write it out of sequence: when you know your topic inside out or how the story pans out, there’s no reason why you have to write it in the order it’ll eventually be read. If you have a character who demands to be written first, or you have a section that you’ve already done research for, write those first, and slot them in at the appropriate place.
4. Maintain reader interest: if you’ve written a book, you want to make sure it’s read right to the end. Keep the reader entertained and eager to read more. Where appropriate use short chapters and put characters into difficult situations. Even if you’re writing a textbook on a dry subject, your reader has picked up for a reason, so give them plenty of useful information and motivate them to carry on.
5. Ending/Conclusion: tie up all the information you’ve presented and summarise what you hope the reader has learned from your book. Signpost them to further reading or more information, or encourage them to engage with you on social media (so they’ll know when your next book will be out!) Don’t forget to give the secondary characters a proper ending too, and that they haven’t changed personality since the start of the book.