If you’ve ever seen a house built, you know that there are many steps until you reach completion. The same thing relates to writing, be it for a paper, a blog, a book or any other writing.
For a home, you first want to know what you’re building. Is it a colonial, an ultramodern home, a cabin in the woods? That choice could be considered the theme.
For a book or other writing project, you must decide what you’re writing about. Is it a short history, a mystery, a memoir, a novel?
The foundation for both books and buildings is most important. Once you have decided what you’re building, then you must start with a foundation. (Even with a houseboat, you need to know what the houseboat will include.)
For the book or article you are writing, you’ll want to create the backdrop or foundation for the story. Where and when does the story take place? Who or what will be in the book? What is your premise? Is it a steampunk novel? Are you writing a biography? Does the story take place in the future, the past, or on another planet?
Once you’ve decided the when, where and motivating idea for the writing, next you’ll want to create the characters. Even in a non-fiction book, it’s important to develop the characters that will populate your writing. Are they humans, aliens, robots, animals?
Like a home, you need the details for what construction will be filling your writing. What are the windows like? Are the walls of the home or container for your writing expansive, open plan or very contained? For writing, the ideas could all be within the characters’ minds, everywhere in the universe and beyond (think Dr. Who), in one room (a child in a sick bed, for instance) or in a school.
Once you’ve decided on the elements – the “walls,” the characters, the locations and premises for your writing, your next effort is to fill the writing with details.
What happens? (The details of the characters, their thoughts, their actions and interactions with others.) Something must happen! In a home, you’d want to include window coverings, furniture, closets for storage, and floor coverings.
In writing, build your story or premise, one concept at a time, bringing the elements together – sometimes jarringly to create interest. On one wall, you might have a theme color that appears, seemingly randomly, in many places. That theme might be followed up in couch cushions, in images on the walls, in displays in the kitchen of colorful produce.
Your writing would include that idea. Maybe the character had an incident in childhood that influenced – colored – their entire life afterward.
As with life, creating memorable writing and homes involves color, drama, invention, details and functionality. When you open a door, a visitor, should be able to find their way around – in writing or a home – or not (Think Alice in Wonderland.)
And, before you take possession of a home, you’d do a final inspection to make certain everything was in top-notch shape. For a written project, that would be akin to getting your work edited, a very important step to catch anomalies, typos and other concerns. You want the writing, and the home, to start life as perfect as you can possibly make it.
Whatever you build or write, though, be sure you think through the details and make the results engaging!