The Captain and the Lady Fair

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Part 1 of How to start writing

Posted by Quinne Darkover on February 26, 2014 at 9:40 AM

I have often seen people saying 'I want to write" followed by a few questions. I decided I would start a series about writing BUT about how I write and a few extra thoughts.

Part 1

How to get started. You must already have something in mind to write about or you wouldn't be asking about how to, so I will skip to the mechanics. You can use a computer with a word processor ( best option ) write on paper, write on the back of envelopes. No matter what you want to write, just get it down. Let the brain pour it out and worry about grammar, spelling, format, and all the techie stuff later in the edit phase. ( When you do a final edit, do your best then hire an editor… plan on it. )

Having said that, I will say it is best to have a proper format set up to start with. What format? Both ebook and paper books have something in common. Use either indent for new paragraph or a blank line between paragraphs and do not use a huge fancy letter for first letters anywhere. Do not use both. Pick one. I use indent because I am a cheap old fart. I will explain. Paper costs money. If you use blank lines, your page count goes way up. The higher the page count the more the book costs to print. The more it costs the less you make. Nough said.

Turn on spell check and turn off auto-correct. It will correct like cell phones and pick a word IT thinks you meant even if it is a wrong one and you will not see it if you are a hunt and pecker like me. It will highlight the word so you can fix it. Turn off grammar check. It will drive you nuts saying things are wrong when they are not.

If you are writing for a book ( paper ) I found it easiest to set up the page size to the book size, use page numbers, a title page and copyright page. I did not use a contents page because my chapters do not have titles and it looks silly to have a list of numbers. Ebooks often use a contents page so that you can create links. This allows the reader to skip to a particular chapter. Turn off page numbers and pagination for an Ebook. If you are doing both, I set it up for paperback, then modify a copy of the doc ( or docx ) to meet the needs of an ebook later when it is all done.

I am going to stop this part here because you have enough to get started banging keys. Later I will cover, spelling, dialog, grammar, voice, POV, and more.

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