Getting started on a writing project can be extremely confusing. Where does one start when they begin to discuss their life or the meaning they have uncovered through their experiences? Is it when we are born, is it that one childhood event, is it when all the pieces came together, is it when we meet someone? Is it our imagination or a ground breaking idea? Perhaps the realization of some inner truth, too fragile and one which necessitates the need for an abstract, or fictional approach?
We all have a story to tell, but framing it in our own voice with our own perspective takes a bit of refinement. Without going all off topic, it takes a bit of practice to build structure into your manuscript. And before we even begin to discuss the structure of your manuscript, you need to establish:
WHAT IS THE POINT!?
People write to heal, people write to educate. They write to spread awareness, or to get a message across. People write to entertain. They write to validate or defend. There are a variety of reasons to write. What is your reason to write?
As you uncover the purpose of your manuscript, think about the following scenarios:
You are invited to participate on a panel based on the topic and content of your book. The panel is discussing _____________________. Other people on this panel include ____________________________.
Try to establish the placement of your book in the sea of all of books. What is its purpose in this vastness of thought? What does it contribute? And how does it relate to those other people on this panel? How do they inspire or relate to your book? Do you all, as authors or figures, have a shared purpose?
A man comes up to you and says he is hungry, and your book is the food he has been craving. Describe his craving.
In some ways books and literature fill up voids or address a need. Sometimes they are a resource, other times they are used for entertainment or even decoration. What type of need does your book fulfill?
It is 5:00 and people are shuffling into the bookstore after work. It is cold outside. My book is sitting in the ___________________________ section, and an individual, who is ________________________, glances at my book and is excited to read it.
Where do you envision your book to sit in that bookstore? What section does it best relate to? Can it fit in as a cooking, crafts, war, education, or fantasy book? Can it be in more than one section? Who is the type of person you imagine going to your section to pick up your book? Is it a suited business woman, a sports enthusiast, an artistic college student?
These types of scenarios can help you get started to focusing your writing in a certain direction as you start to shape your target audience. Later on we will take a look at establishing objectives and an official vision for your work that addresses that target audience. Without objectives and a vision, you can easily lose that target audience. For now, explore the possibilities of the above scenarios as they will impact the diction of your writing down to the marketing strategy you use or publishing houses you select.