Thursday, August 25, 2011

Write Your Book Now! by Gene Perret

So we all need a kick in the pants sometimes. Whether it be from a critique partner or a blog post or an online friend. This time, it comes in the form of a book--and the author is here to talk about it!


First a bit about WRITE YOUR BOOK NOW! by Gene Perret: Nearly everyone wants to write a book. Sometimes we get as far as writing a few pages, or even a few chapters. But very few of us ever complete that book we’ve always dreamed of writing.

Whether you aspire to write a romance, an expert guide to business success, or the Great American Novel, Write Your Book Now! gives you proven, field-tested tools to successfully finish the book you’ve always wanted to write.

The central insight of Write Your Book Now! is that no one writes a whole book. All anyone can do, at every specific step of the writing process, is write part of a book. Write Your Book Now! simplifies the book-writing project by breaking it down into a series of discrete tasks that anyone can accomplish.


You need this book, right? RIGHT. Gene is here to talk about letting your chapters marinate, something I agree with wholeheartedly. Take it away, Gene!


Let Your Chapters “Marinate:”

I’m sure you’ve experienced this phenomenon at some time or another: You are trying to recall a name, but it escapes you totally. You struggle to remember. You might even run through the alphabet to get an initial that helps you recall the name. Nothing works. So you abandon the effort. Then suddenly, with no warning, the name almost literally pops into your head. This is an indication that your mind continues to work even when you’re not consciously working.

This same phenomenon can be useful to writers. I call it “letting the chapter marinate.” I recommend this practice in my most recent book, Write Your Book Now!. The idea is to think about the specific chapter you are going to write. Consciously formulate some ideas that you will include in that chapter. Make notes. However, then allow some time for your subconscious to continue to work on the chapter without your interference. (Dude, this is what I do! Instead of outlining, it's stewing. Sweet validation.)

Remember the way that elusive name “popped” into your head with no prompting from you? Well, thoughts could well pop into your head that will enhance the chapter you’re about to write. Utilizing this technique can add substance and depth to your writing. It bypasses the obvious ideas because somehow that second level of the mind comes up with more innovative, unique aspects of whatever topic your writing about.

To take advantage of this process, you do have to plan your chapters before writing them.

This is another technique that I recommend in Write Your Book Now!. Momentum is an important part of writing. Once you begin to tap out words on your keyboard, it’s beneficial to keep going. Just like sports teams try to maintain positive momentum, so should authors. (Which is why I can write whole books in three weeks. Momentum. Who knew?)

Planning your chapter produces more forceful writing because one thought can lead into another. The entire text seems to be driving toward the goal. Having that road map planned before beginning the typing allows the author the freedom to simply keep “driving.” There’s no need after finishing one thought to stop and plan what the next idea will be. It’s already been thought through.

Another important part of this process is to complete any research that is a part of your chapter. In many of my joke writing books I like to include examples of whatever comedy technique I’m illustrating. Stopping to look up appropriate examples forces me to interrupt my writing, gather my references, and then return to my writing. If the research is done before the actual text writing, I can simply list the illustrations without breaking the flow of my writing.

With a well-planned chapter, you can have all applicable quotes, entertaining anecdotes, pertinent statistics, and other references on hand so that you can turn to them whenever you need them in the text. It’s counter-productive to interrupt solid writing momentum to do research.

Some author once noted that he had the book already written, all that remained was to fill in the words. Filling in the words can be a daunting task and one that demands your full attention and devotion. Allowing time for your chapter to “marinate” and to plan all of the steps in the chapter, along with whatever research is required, will give you the freedom to concentrate on being a writer.

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Wow. See why you need to buy Gene's book? It is just that fabulous.

So do you allow your chapters to "marinate" in the way Gene describes? Do you allow yourself to stall in the writing to research?


Check out what the other Bookanistas are up to this week at the Reading Room.

Or on their blogs:

13 comments:

Liza said...

Yup, I marinate! And when I do the most wonderful things come to me in the middle of the night and in the shower. Of all the things I question myself on (and there are many) this is the one thing I don't fret over. I do know that if I wait for a bit, the right words/ideas always come.

Christine Danek said...

I do marinate, but I think in some instances I should let them marinate longer. I tend to write fast then have to go back and change a lot. I'm such a panster.
I will have to check that book out.
Thanks.

Jonathon Arntson said...

My problem is that I do not let things marinate for too long (whether it's an idea in my head or chicken in a bowl). I get impatient and bored. I need to train myself to harness the excitement I get and ride the wave the whole way through. Whoa, analogy overload.

Cherie Reich said...

I let things marinate too, although I do use outlines and such. I often think about a book days, weeks, months, even years before I sit down to outline and write it. Gene's book sounds awesome.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Holy macaroni! I really, REALLY needed this today. I am off to BUY this book. :-)

Shari said...

Can I just say, I LOVE THIS! Here's to another must-have book!

catwoods said...

Apparently I do my best marinating in the shower! Too bad I can't remember what I remembered by the time the water's turned off. LOL.

Great review.

Jemi Fraser said...

I love letting my subconscious work away - I usually have a character in my head for a few weeks before I write his/her story :)

Gene Perret said...

Liza...

Yeah, I sometimes get inspired at awkward times, too. Many times ideas will come to me in the middle of the night. If I don't act on them, they keep me awake. Often, I'll get up and type them out. It's frightening to realize that I'm a better writer half-asleep than I am fully awake.

Christine...

We writers do sometime rush into the text. In fact, part of my book warns against that – trying to start writing a book before being fully prepared. It's just that writing is so much fun we want to get to it.

Jonathan...

It is a fine line between when to write and when to marinate. I sometimes close my eyes to let things marinate. My wife once said to me, "If you're still marinating when dinner is ready, should I wake you?"

Cherie...

I also use outlines, notes, and techniques like that along with allowing a chapter to marinate. Anything that will allow me to sit at the keyboard and just get my thoughts on paper is welcome.

Shannon...

I'm glad this article, and my book, struck a chord. Hope you enjoy reading and using the suggestions in the book.

Shari...

Thanks for your enthusiastic response. Enjoy the book and have fun putting it to good use.

Gene Perret

Gene Perret said...

Catwoods...

That can happen. That's why I always shower with a stenographer.

Jemi Fraser...

It does really work. It's amazing how well we can think when we're not thinking.

Gene Perret

Randy said...

Drive time is when I marinate (because I work third shift and traffic is really light during my drive). If I put my chapter in mind and start thinking about it while I drive, I find I come up with all sorts of good solutions by time I get home.

Gene Perret said...

Randy...

That's a great idea. In fact, I wrote my first book this way. I'd think about it on the way to and from work and then make my notes and write my chapters on the weekend. Another good idea is to set the project in your mind right before going to sleep. You may wake up the next morning with some brilliant ideas. And you don't even have to fight traffic.

Gene Perret

Susanne Drazic said...

Sounds interesting. I'll add this to my TBR book list. Thanks for sharing about it.

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