Step 6 Right Craft

Writing skill – how to structure paragraphs, choose words and metaphors, draft sentences – was once the skill I thought you most needed in creating a manuscript. Now I know it is only one. A lot of brainstorming, critical thinking, research, and organization come into play first.

Still, writing craft remains critical. So you should make a conscious effort in every book to research ways you can improve paragraph-by-paragraph structuring and wordsmithing. Start by studying the various ways your favorite authors draft their 4,000- to 8,000-word book chapters. You will always get fresh ideas.

My view, however, is that a solid approach to writing a chapter follows an age-old pattern used by journalists: lead, nut, body, close.

The lead, or beginning, is often an eye opener. In the first few sentences, you offer an anecdote, image, idea, metaphor, or other device that grabs the reader’s attention. It ideally engages both the readers’ intellect and emotion.

Within the first several hundred words, the the lead is followed by a “nut” or “billboard” paragraph. The nut states the message. Together, the lead and nut launch the chapter in the right direction.

The chapter continues with an exposition of three to five messages. This is the body, and the writers supports each message with solid content.

Well-written chapters end with a closer – a summary, a zinger, a hook back to the beginning of the chapter, a segue to the next chapter.

Step 6: The paper trail continues
By studying good writing, you will be energized to do the first real writing for your book since the precis:

  1. Proposal introduction: I draft an introduction to my book that mimics my plans for the real book. I go for 300 to 1,000 words. I try to find words that exude my passion for the subject. I expect to feel excited by what I’ve written. If not, I set it aside and devise a new lead with new content.

The proposal introduction ranks among the most stimulating yet challenging tasks in the book-writing process. Nowhere else in all of book writing do I find a bigger rush of creative thinking. If you’re an author, what do you experience? And what tricks do you use to make it easier? Join the conversation on my blog..

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