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Senior Project: Introduction to Writing Books

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Samuel Kim

on 12 May 2014

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Transcript of Senior Project: Introduction to Writing Books

Results: Your Finished Book
Senior Project: Introduction to Writing Books
About My Mentor
My mentor’s name is Mary Langer Thompson; I address her as Ms. Thompson. According to the California Writers’ Club website, she has published over 100 articles, poems, and short stories in various anthologies (collections of literary pieces) and journals (High Desert Branch of the California Writers Club, 2014). Apparently, she has been part of a poetry reading and poetry workshop at Riverside Preparatory Elementary School as a guest, according to her personal website (Thompson, 2013).

About Various Book Genres: Overview
In terms of book genres, there are thousands upon thousands of various book genres. However, the most frequently seen book genres are these:
Fantasy - a genre with magical or mythical elements
Science fiction - a genre with elements of science or advanced technology
Dystopia - a genre with a setting of a corrupt society/world (usually post-apocalyptic)
Romance - a genre with elements such as love lines and kisses
Mystery - a genre completely adorned in suspense
In terms of book genres, there are thousands upon thousands of various book genres. Yet, the majority of books are multi-genre, meaning they are several book genres.
Phase 1: How To Start Writing Your Book
In order to start writing your own book, you need to come up with a book idea and develop your own writing style. According to Alice LaPlante, if you are a beginning fiction (nonfiction) writer, you need to first "develop a voice that is unique, and natural...(LaPlante, 2010)" She also says to "write what you know." By this statement, she basically means "What personal experiences/themes from my own life can I place in my book as a whole and my characters as personal flaws?"
For example, Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson series and the Heroes of Olympus series, started out writing his first children's book, The Lightning Thief, as a bedtime story for his son Haley. He incorporated his son's disability of having ADHD into his famous character, Percy Jackson.
The same thing can be applied to Suzanne collins, author of Gregor the Underlander and The Hunger Games trilogy. Suzanne Collins had a military father and he told her everything about military history. Because of this, war is a prominent theme in her books and novels.

Phase 2: Editing & Publishing
When you are finished with writing your book, you now have to go into editing and publishing your book. Like I stated previously, you don't need to worry about mistakes on the first draft. Now, in this particular stage, you need to worry about mistakes. Look for spelling errors, mistakes in grammar, and overall tone of voice.
As for publishing your book, after making sure that your book is finished, you need to send query letters or emails to agents. If asked, and ONLY if asked, send the agent sample chapters and a plot synopsis, Again, if asked, and ONLY if asked, send the agent the whole manuscript. If the agent likes your work at this point, the agent will offer to represent you. If you agree to let the agent represent you, the agent will then begin submitting your manuscript to the publishers.
About My Senior Project: Overview
For my senior project, I plan to write a science fantasy novel. A science fantasy is a type of book genre that incorporates both elements of science fiction and fantasy. This type of book genre is part of a type of fiction called speculative fiction. Speculative fiction includes genres like planetary romance, historical fiction, and other things. Some prominent examples of this particular genre (in movies) includes James Cameron's movie
and the
Star Wars
Examples of These Book Genres
Examples of fantasy books would be books like the
Percy Jackson
series by Rick Riordan and
Goblin Secrets
by William Alexander.
Examples of science fiction books would be books like
Ender's Game
by Orson Scott Card and Kurt Vonnegut's
Examples of dystopia books would be
by George Orwell and
Fahrenheit 451
by Ray Bradbury.
Examples of romance books are the

(ack!) by Stephanie Meyer and
Fifty Shades of Gray
by E.L James.
Finally, examples of mystery books would be books like
Sherlock Holmes
and the
Nancy Drew

How To (Actually) Start Writing Books
You need to start writing out an outline for your book (recommended for novice writers). Keeping some kind of notebook also helps in writing books.
Keep writing! Continue going forward until your book is finished. Then you can look at changing what needs to be changed. Doing anything other than actual writing is more a distraction than anything else (Cassell, 2008).
While writing your book, you need to schedule a writing time. It allows you to have leniency on how much you write everyday. It also doesn't allow you to sit on your bum for lengthy hours, leading to dull and boring details.
Leave research until the end. If you reach a point in your writing where research is necessary, simply make a note of that point and keep going.
Researching is a fun thing to do, but it can hamper your progress if you get bogged down in it too early. Better to do it after the manuscript is finished. After that, you can look back at areas you need to do research on and get the information you need.
Most importantly, don't give up! Most people don't finish writing their novels because they have feelings of doubt. They'll get to the middle of the manuscript and think, "Oh, this is too hard. I think I'll start another book instead and that will be easier." DON'T! That new book won't be any easier. Soldier through and finish. Don't worry about mistakes on the first draft (Riordan, Unknown).
Works Cited Page
Cassell, D. (2008, May 10). Do's and don'ts of writing a book effectively . Retrieved from http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/Do_s_And_Don_ts_Of_Writing_A_Book_Effectively.html
SparkNotes Editors. (2012). SparkNote on The Hunger Games. Retrieved February 24, 2014, from http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/the-hunger-games/
Riordan, R. (Unknown). Advice for writers. Retrieved from http://www.rickriordan.com/about-rick/writingadvice.aspx
Wiehardt, G. (2014). What is an sase?. Retrieved from http://fictionwriting.about.com/od/publishingterms/g/SASE.htm
Unknown (Photographer). (2012, March 22). The Hunger Games Craze [Web Photo]. Retrieved from http://meetmeinparadise.wordpress.com/2012/03/22/the-hunger-games-craze/
Unknown (Photographer). (2011, June 21). Audiobook Review: Divergent By Veronica Roth [Web Photo]. Retrieved from http://www.brazenbookworm.com/2011/06/audiobook-review-divergent-by-veronica.html
Unknown (Photographer). (2011, May 12). Book Review: Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion [Web Photo]. Retrieved from http://thebooksmugglers.com/2011/05/book-review-warm-bodies-by-isaac-marion.html
Gabriela, M. (Photographer). (2011, July 21). Book Review: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan [Web Photo]. Retrieved from http://oh-my-books.blogspot.com/2011/07/book-review-lightning-thief-by-rick.html
Unknown (Photographer). Book Review: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever by Jeff Kinney [Web Photo]. Retrieved from http://thehungryreader.wordpress.com/2012/01/07/book-review-diary-of-a-wimpy-kid-cabin-fever-by-jeff-kinney/
Yang, L. (Photographer). (2013, June 03). Harry Potter Redesigned Covers!! [Web Photo]. Retrieved from http://escapingwithbooks.blogspot.com/2013/07/harry-potter-redesigned-covers.html
Unknown (Photographer). (2013, May 31). Rick Riordan Reveals Official The House of Hades Cover Art, Plus The Synopsis [Web Photo]. Retrieved from http://www.kernelscorner.com/2013/05/rick-riordan-reveals-official-house-of.html
Bookyurt (Photographer). (2013, January 02). Bridge to Book's Over/Under of 2012 [Web Photo]. Retrieved from http://bookyurt.com/scouting/bridge-to-books-overunder-of-2012/

About Query Letters
Your query letter should have an introduction to yourself, including any publishing experience or expertise that is relevant to the subject matter of your book. In addition to this, it should have an explanation of what sort of book you have written; this is referring to the type of book genre. An offering of sending sample chapters and a plot synopsis is also nice in giving to your agent. Finally, if you are submitting your query letter through regular mail, you have to enclose an SASE. SASE stands for self-addressed stamped envelope (Wiehardt, 2014).
After your book has been published, there is your finished book! In hard-cover and soft-cover...
About Self-Publishing Books & Publishing In General
If you plan to self-publish your own books, you need to get "the word out" personally, meaning you have to schedule physical appearances, creating radio ads, other ads, etc. You have to know how to market and sell yourself and your book.
On the other hand, if you plan to publish your books using agents, you need to know that a good agent NEVER asks for any money, and the agents will try to find a publisher for you. If and when they do, they get a chunk of the profit off each book that you sell, along with the publisher. So you are splitting your profits 3 ways. Your part as author is called a Royalty Payment. It's about fifteen percent (15%) of what the book sells for. Unless you sell a whole lot of books, you probably won't make enough to live on. Many famous writers have given this advice: DON'T GIVE UP YOUR DAY JOB. In other words, have another profession and write at night or on weekends and in spare moments. Keep getting better and better. Write for the love of writing, not money.
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