• Michael Gray

How to Write a Book in 500 Words

The biggest question I get is: How do you write so many books? The answer is: I have a system. You can learn and use that system too. Here are the basics.


THE BEGINNING


When I first started, I had an idea for a book but no details. I would sit in front of a keyboard and just start typing. Fantastic prose appeared. Characters were vibrant and fresh. I just knew I was on my way. Unfortunately, the story would get bogged down. Problems the characters found themselves in had no easy resolution. My only solution was deus ex machina—a sudden appearance of a weapon or person who had no business being there but solved the dilemma. Not high-quality writing.


To avoid running into dead ends, I went to the other extreme: outlining. I meticulously laid out the blueprint for the book, scene by scene. This made writing easy, but it lacked excitement and spontaneity. After grousing around, I settled on a middle ground.

Now, I lay out the various plot threads in a rough form. I look for possible dead-ends the characters might find themselves in, any problem they can’t get out of. With that in place, I will start typing, letting the words flow.


THE MIDDLE


The structure of the book is usually in three acts. Divide your story into three parts—a beginning, a middle, and an end. Sometimes I have four parts but usually, I stick with three. When it’s done, I let the book sit for a few weeks and work on other projects. Then I pick it up and heavily edit it. When I’m somewhat happy, I send it to my assistant writer/editor. She looks for problems while polishing the content. Once it comes back, I let it sit for several more weeks before editing it again.


If you allow any of your relatives or close friends to read your manuscript, you will be sorely disappointed. Either they will say they love it, even though it stinks and needs work. Or they will say nothing, making excuses as to why they couldn’t get to it. Trying to judge the quality of your story and writing from those folks is a losing strategy. Find yourself other writers and trade-off. Writing groups are very helpful. You can hire these professional readers online and pay then to read and critique. Most of them are good at it.


THE END


If you remember anything from this post, it’s this concept: writers are storytellers. I don’t care how great of a writer you are. In fact, I read many “award winners” that had a nothing-burger for a story. How these people win awards is another blog post. For you and I, though, we must have great stories. If we do, the reader will forgive our less-than-perfect writing.

This is how to write a book in 500 words.


Now, get to writing!


Michael Gray is a professional ghostwriter in Dallas, Texas. He has written over 100 books for politicians, athletes, CEOs, and everyone in between. He can be reached through his website TexasGhostwiter.com.

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