The Island Writers Meeting 4-27-2022
In the last 2 meetings we discussed coming up with ideas for the book we want to work on, whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, you have to have a concrete idea of what you want to write.
If you are continuously going from one project to the next, you’ll never finish and end up frustrated, so it’s important to finish one thing before you start on something else.
For the next couple of meetings, I want us to focus on one project and make a goal of finishing at least one book before the end of the year.
We’ve discussed genres, themes, subjects, who our audience is, and the 3-sentence test for your idea. We’ve talked about movies and how to use them to learn about the structure and the ‘What if, and Then What’ method for coming up with our own ideas.
TODAY’S LESSON – LEARNING FROM YOUR FAVORITE BOOK
Today we will discuss our favorite books, books that are similar to what we would like to write, and how we can use them to get a solid idea for our own stories.
For homework, at the last meeting, I gave everyone index cards and suggested watching a few movies to learn about structure.
Even nonfiction books have structure. Structure is simply what most people will expect when they read a certain kind of book.
Self-Help books promote change so most books will begin with a story of how someone was struggling in a particular area, what they tried to do about it, how it failed, what they learned, how they applied what they learned, and how it changed them in a positive way.
Romance books begin with people searching for love, possibly not liking the person meant for them, having a conflict, coming to some type or realization that makes them want to change, then finding true love or losing it forever.
Mysteries begin with a problem to be solved, questions, fingers pointing to possible suspects, then a bit of detecting, till finally the problem is solved.
Each book follows a format or structure. To learn the proper structure of what you want to write, you need to be reading books that are similar.
We usually write what we enjoy reading because there is some type of connection. Remember, a writer’s goal is to write for themselves first but if you want to publish what you write and sell it, you have to consider your potential audience.
What is it that you want to say to others? Do you want to help them, informed them, teach or inspire them, or just provide a means of escape from the world?
Everyone has the same issues so something that is moving to you will move others. The key is to find a topic that connects with others.
Connecting Your Stories With Others Exercise:
Here is a suggestion if you are struggling with landing on one idea to solely focus on.
1. Make a list of your five favorite books or the last 5 books you’re read. Don’t overthink this & trust your instincts. You can make two separate lists: one for fiction and the other for nonfiction.
2. What common themes seem to be shared in all of the books? Are you drawn to redemption, self-discovery, forgiveness, good versus evil, transformation, love conquers all or a triumph of the human spirit? What are the common denominators between your books?
3. Reflect on the stories from your childhood. What books or stores made an impact on your life, those that you can still remember today? Make a list of them and do step 2 for this list as well.
4. Study the overlapping themes between your lists.
These are the stories of your heart. They have molded you and now the recurring themes resonate with who you are and what your worldview is.
Stories of the heart have molded you and now the recurring themes resonate with who you are and create your worldview.
If your lists do not connect and you’re struggling with your writing, this may explain the problem. Don’t write to the market. It’s fickle and ever-changing. You should be telling stories you feel compelled to write. That’s where your passion lies. Find out what your worldview is.
Kristen McLain says
This was very helpful! Thank you!
CINDY JONES says
Thank you Kristen!