May 5th 2021 | Cheryle Writes
The first step is always the hardest – an old proverb that definitely holds true when beginning the process of writing a book. Cheryle Boyle is an author based in Atlanta, Georgia that has played many roles in her life, including legal secretary, medical transcriptionist, wife, mother, grandmother, and Mrs. Fix It. Recently, she has begun to pursue her lifelong love of writing in earnest. Her self-published novel, “538: Murder, Suicide and A Mother’s Love,” is available now on Amazon. Cheryle describes the process of her writing as a personal journey, and while the process of writing a book differs from person to person, there are a few steps that can be instrumental in making a successful start.
Maybe you’ve always wanted to be an author and are just now setting aside the time to start writing? Or maybe a recent daydream stuck in your head and is begging to be turned into a novel? Perhaps you saw an interesting character sitting in the park and now can’t stop imagining the story behind the face? It could be you’re stuck at home and itching to get out. If you can’t explore the world in person, you can still go anywhere your mind is willing to take you. Whatever the reason you feel called to write, don’t ignore it. Give yourself permission to sink into the ideas that are circulating in your mind.
What is your story about? Don’t worry if you don’t have everything worked out right away, but in order to start writing you should have a general idea of the basic elements. Scribble them down, scratch them out, and start over….and over….and over until it feels right. That doesn’t mean they won’t change and evolve as you write, but the more complete the picture is in your mind, the more readily it will come out in your writing.
◦ Characters – who are the main players in your story? This is a fun part. Take some time to sketch them out, think about what they look like and some of their personal attributes and personality traits. Obviously they will evolve over the course of the process, but consistency is important in bringing characters to life and making them believable.
◦ Setting – where does the story take place?
◦ Theme – what is the main idea of the story? There doesn’t need to be only one theme, but what is the truth the story is trying to illustrate?
◦ Conflict – where is the conflict in the tale you are trying to tell? It doesn’t need to be major or reflected in every line, but having a struggle between opposing forces is integral to creating a captivating story, so give it some real thought.
◦ Resolution – otherwise known as the “denouement,” this is the ending of the book where the plot strands are knit together and the conflict is explained and/or resolved.
Feeling pressure to come up with the perfect opening sentence that will captivate your reader and compel them to read on can be overwhelming. If you wait for that sentence to emerge in all its glory, you may be waiting forever. Start writing where you have the words and as your plot and characters develop, your story will begin to come together and you can work backwards filling in the blanks.
Don’t worry about writing poorly or disjointedly. We all want to be eloquent storytellers that draw readers in with our descriptive elegance, but the truth of the matter is that sometimes (usually) storytelling is messy. Don’t feel pressured to be perfect from the start. It doesn’t all come out in one perfect blurb. Writing a book is a process and the finished product won’t look remotely like it did at the beginning. Give yourself permission to fail, to make mistakes, to change your mind. It’s your story. Don’t be afraid to tell it.
The truth is there is no right or wrong way to start a book. The most important part is giving yourself permission to take the first step. For Cheryle, allowing herself to embark on a journey of exploration through writing has been transformational. Contact Cheryle to uncover her next steps in this journey of self-discovery and enlightenment. Whether you want to get in touch to discuss her creative muses, or receive advice about becoming a self-published author yourself, she will be happy to share her story and knowledge and welcome you on her journey.