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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 10/1/2005 11:53:29 PM EDT
I am going to start writing a book. I have an outline prepared in MS Word, as well as some research, but that's about it.

For you authors on the board, what techniques did you use to get off your ass and get writing? Did you commit to a certain number of pages per day, or what?

What specific methods did you use to organize your work? I mean, I have typed out 50 page financial analysis reports and they get tricky because you begin to forget what you put where, etc.

What tools did you use? I mean, did you enter the manuscript in a word processor like Word and let someone else copy edit and/or put it into something like PageMaker?
Link Posted: 10/2/2005 12:07:45 AM EDT

I sub-divide things and then put the whole thing together into one Word document as part of the editing process.

You're just making a manuscript, right? Layout and design will be taken care of by your publisher. If you're intending to do the layout and design yourself, you need to contact your publisher to find out how they would want the document prepared.

I'm doing all of the layout/formatting on my thesis, which I'm doing by sub-section (generally, chapters) in individual Word documents. For an article I wrote to appear in a magazine, I submitted the text as a .txt file with no formatting, with scanned and generated images as seperate files--the publisher took care of formatting and layout.

And, yes, as a general rule, you want to set daily goals. Determine that you are going to write 2 solid pages (or whatever), and then do it, even if it is two pages of absolute crap. Crap can be edited, blank paper can't.

Jim
Link Posted: 10/2/2005 12:38:28 AM EDT
Slightly different than your situation, but I've got a couple of friends that recently finished PhD programs.

One did similar to KS_Physicist and did separate chapters in separate word documents, and let the department deal with formatting for publication. The other did everything in one giant text file and ran it though LaTeX for formatting, and then handed it directly to the printers.

Both of them had multiple outlines. One general one, and then each chapter/section had its own more detailed outline as well.

As far as motivation, they set deadlines for themselves on a separate calendar. "Section 1 done" "Section 2 done" etc. This was in addition to the deadlines that their advisors gave them. Small steps were easier for them to deal with than a big "I need a rough draft on my desk by XXXXXXX".
Link Posted: 10/2/2005 11:43:11 AM EDT

Originally Posted By KS_Physicist:
I sub-divide things and then put the whole thing together into one Word document as part of the editing process.

You're just making a manuscript, right? Layout and design will be taken care of by your publisher. If you're intending to do the layout and design yourself, you need to contact your publisher to find out how they would want the document prepared.

I'm doing all of the layout/formatting on my thesis, which I'm doing by sub-section (generally, chapters) in individual Word documents. For an article I wrote to appear in a magazine, I submitted the text as a .txt file with no formatting, with scanned and generated images as seperate files--the publisher took care of formatting and layout.

And, yes, as a general rule, you want to set daily goals. Determine that you are going to write 2 solid pages (or whatever), and then do it, even if it is two pages of absolute crap. Crap can be edited, blank paper can't.

Jim



I'll probably at least try to do the page layout on my own. I have a graphc designer friend who can help, and I bought a copy of Adobe InDesign 2.0 a couple of years ago.
Link Posted: 10/2/2005 1:02:56 PM EDT
I am a writer though not an author yet. My biggest trouble has been trying to finish one project before I begin another. One thing that has helped is any time I am just sitting around bored I write. Seeing as how I have noting else to do. Also if I hit a pitfall where I feel that I cant continue because I need to do more research (say for instance I dont know the name of something or want to elaborate on something but dont have the information I need) I usually go on with the story (i write fiction) and make a note listing where the change will go and what the change will be and then go back at a later time. I have to right when i have the inspiration and if I stop to research something I may lose the inspiration I had.



Good luck with your book.
Link Posted: 10/2/2005 1:05:08 PM EDT
I got a letter published in Penthouse Forums once, does that count?
Link Posted: 10/2/2005 1:14:08 PM EDT
Link Posted: 10/2/2005 1:36:39 PM EDT
I've over a dozen articles that have been published but no book.

However, for the past seven years I've been working on a non-fiction book and for me it's a balance between research and writing. It may be several pages a day or a book a day - depending on how I feel.

First, there was never a set number of pages to be reached. Nor were there any parameters as to format. That was discovered accidentally through feedback to a reader. Eventually, a "style" was adopted and adhered too.

Suggest you go to the library and grab a copy of the Chicago Manual of Style. Figure out which format works best (xerox that page) for quoting from books, magazines, periodicals, journals, etc. and stick to it. It'll make it easier for you later (and for your editor).

Stick with Word. Most printers/copier places have software for Word, but not WordPerfect. I prefer the latter but when the copier/printer gets WordPerfect, it can be messed up.
Link Posted: 10/2/2005 1:55:53 PM EDT

Originally Posted By 4v50:
I've over a dozen articles that have been published but no book.



Do tell. Were they newspaper articles, magazine articles? What?


However, for the past seven years I've been working on a non-fiction book and for me it's a balance between research and writing. It may be several pages a day or a book a day - depending on how I feel.

First, there was never a set number of pages to be reached. Nor were there any parameters as to format. That was discovered accidentally through feedback to a reader. Eventually, a "style" was adopted and adhered too.



Interesting - I never thought about a style of writing, and looking at some of my stuff I see that I am all over the place, even within one article - first person, third person, conversational, formal and academic - ugh.


Suggest you go to the library and grab a copy of the Chicago Manual of Style. Figure out which format works best (xerox that page) for quoting from books, magazines, periodicals, journals, etc. and stick to it. It'll make it easier for you later (and for your editor).


Good idea. All I have here is Trimmer's Guide to MLA Documentation and I really don't like it.


Stick with Word. Most printers/copier places have software for Word, but not WordPerfect. I prefer the latter but when the copier/printer gets WordPerfect, it can be messed up.


That's good news. A friend told me that most places will only take PDF, even if they will be doing the copy editing / page layout.
Link Posted: 10/2/2005 1:59:50 PM EDT

Originally Posted By FanoftheBlackRifle:
One did similar to KS_Physicist and did separate chapters in separate word documents...





Both of them had multiple outlines. One general one, and then each chapter/section had its own more detailed outline as well.


EXCELLENT ideas! Thanks. My outline was far past cumbersome - now I am dividing it up as above.
Link Posted: 10/2/2005 2:21:01 PM EDT
Ever read Stephen King's book On Writing? I thought it was a great insight into Mr. King's life, and priceless information on how to write. At least, how he writes and was taught to write.

Link Posted: 10/2/2005 2:58:50 PM EDT
If it counts, I wrote and published my own book. What motivated me? A love for the subject matter.
Link Posted: 10/2/2005 3:02:07 PM EDT
Link Posted: 10/2/2005 4:58:18 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Merrell:
Get Dan Poynter's book

www.parapublishing.com/getpage.cfm?file=/homepage.html&user=#user




I've got his Self-Publishing Manual in e-book format and it is quite good, but I have done a Windows reinstall "too many" times so I am not "allowed" to read it anymore.

Reason #9653 that e-books suck......
Link Posted: 10/2/2005 5:15:26 PM EDT
The death I'm currently investigating, I'm up to 40 pages on it.
Link Posted: 10/2/2005 5:20:38 PM EDT

Originally Posted By P806:
The death I'm currently investigating, I'm up to 40 pages on it.



I suppose we can then presume that the death wasn't accidental in nature?
Link Posted: 10/2/2005 5:26:28 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/2/2005 5:38:03 PM EDT by 4v50]

Originally Posted By PeteCO:

Originally Posted By 4v50:
I've over a dozen articles that have been published but no book.



Do tell. Were they newspaper articles, magazine articles? What?



They were magazine articles and predominantly in Muzzle Loader and Muzzle Blasts magazine. I'm suppose to have one appear in October's Buckskinner. I've had a security article published in Security Management and several articles in Focus on Security. IALEFI's The Firearms Instructor have also published several of my articles.



However, for the past seven years I've been working on a non-fiction book and for me it's a balance between research and writing. It may be several pages a day or a book a day - depending on how I feel.

First, there was never a set number of pages to be reached. Nor were there any parameters as to format. That was discovered accidentally through feedback to a reader. Eventually, a "style" was adopted and adhered too.




Interesting - I never thought about a style of writing, and looking at some of my stuff I see that I am all over the place, even within one article - first person, third person, conversational, formal and academic - ugh.




Yep. Decide on your conventions first. Then stick to them. For me, it was either Seventh Corps or VII Corps, 8th Division or VIII Division, 41st Regiment or Forty-first Regiment. Spelt out first names of officers should have been adhered to early only by me, but initially I was too ignornant. It'll save you a lot of trouble later.
Link Posted: 10/4/2005 11:34:06 AM EDT
For those of you that have written complete books, how much time did it take you from beginning to end?

My research is for the most part complete, now I need to bang 300-400 pages out. I'm planning on 4 months to come up with my draft - sound about right?
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