from feedback notes on;
So You Want To Write–a practical, easy-to-follow guide
for anyone wanting to write their first book.
From liftoff, your book is propelled by your natural ebullience and enthusiasm. Very quickly it conveys its message with a user-friendly, step-by-step approach. This congenial style will be instantly appealing to anyone wanting to write a book.
The title itself, in a metaphorical sense, is openhanded, welcoming, and conversational, which sets the perfect tone. Although many readers may have previously viewed writing a book as a daunting task (and will have procrastinated about getting started), you make it seem possible and doable, which allows the writer to feel empowered.
I would draw a line, however, between upbeat and effusive. In the first paragraph, for instance, I find phrases like 'great learning experience,' and 'exciting adventure' to be a bit formulaic and too predicable. Instead: 'Having worked on dozens of books, newsletters, and magazine articles, I can tell you that writing is one of the most fulfilling things I've ever done. Yes, it can be difficult at times, but I promise [make a promise] that when you finally see your thoughts expressed on the page, your sense of accomplishment and satisfaction will be unmatched [or complete].
Also, I'd tone down the hyperbole at the bottom of page 8 where you use words and phrases like: 'honor and pleasure,' 'amazing,' 'extraordinary.' For me, it's a little bit gushing. You might write: 'For the last ten years, I've had the honor of working alongside many of the nation's leading motivational thinkers, self-help practitioners, and self-made businessmen. And now I'm going to share with you all the strategies and techniques I've learned from the very best of the best!' Something like that would be meatier.
I like the idea that ANYONE can write a book, for I believe that EVERYONE has a story to tell. Nobody has a boring life if they take the time to honestly describe it. Most of the time, your language is simple and easy to read and it seems to get better as the book progresses; but throughout the manuscript, there are a variety of sentences that need correction or repair.
For instance, the sentence on page 13: 'This book that you desire to write, is it going to be a fun hobby, something that you are going to do in your spare time?' Repaired: 'Is this book just going to be a fun hobby and diversion, merely something you'll turn to in your spare time? Or is it going to be a major creative force pulling you forward to it?'
Or, on page 7: 'How long have you been thinking about writing a book but didn't know how to get started?' Instead: 'How long have you been thinking about writing a book? Maybe it's been months or even years simply because you didn't know how to get started.'
Also awkward on page 7: 'Did not knowing how to organize your material...etc.' It should read: 'Did your not knowing....'
Beyond the sentences, sometimes the reader feels a bit overloaded by the initial introduction of material. For instance, on page 8, it's confusing when you offer the reader three strategies, three steps and two concepts all within the space of a few lines. My reaction was: Huh?
So when you present new material, avoid making more than one major point in such rapid succession. For example, on page 8, the sentence is both confusing and a bit awkward in its phrasing: 'You are going to learn about three simple steps [to follow] and two concepts [to learn] that I found making [make] writing a book easy and fun.'
[By the way, to have all your sentences fine-tuned in this way, you might consider having someone line-edit the book. Before publication, it's essential that the sentences be grammatically correct.]
Now the sentence above is streamlined, but still overloaded. I personally like the three strategies, while the three steps don't really seem effective here; and the two concepts about state and rituals are excellent but perhaps introduced too soon.
Also, I would reverse the order. I'd tell the reader that in order to begin the process of writing, they're first going be coached on how to PREPARE in a variety of ways, which include putting themselves into 'state' and establishing 'rituals' to support it. THEN, I'd tell them they're ready for the next phase–speed writing, topic questions, storyboard–and I'd briefly define each one. In any case, in my mind, the section on page 8 needs to be more cohesive without so many strategies, steps and concepts introduced all at once.
I love the concept of finding 'your creative zone,' and I think you could describe it in a bit more detail. [Try to avoid or judiciously use the word 'amazing.']That 'special place' you refer to is a magical place for sure, when someone is totally 'into' what they're doing–like a fine meal, passionate sex, or a fantastic movie. In this heightened, creative state, you're totally concentrated and focused on it and your energy is pulsing through you. This is 'the zone' when all creativity flourishes.
When you mention Your Space, I'd talk a bit more about the chair, the desk, the writer's materials–paper, pens, colors, tabs–temperature control, ventilation and fresh air, the importance of having the space clean and fresh, flowers, candles, pillows, little mementos that inspire you, wall hangings. Also stress that this space must be separate from eating or watching TV. Talk about the lighting and the overall ambiance of the room.When you tell the reader 'Let's talk about this, so you know exactly what I mean,' you have to be very specific in your description, giving them lots of detail.
Your mastery of organizational phrases–Power Tools, Power Script, Inner Game, Creative Zone–is evocative and energizing. Just remember that the PACING as you introduce each one of these concepts has to be measured enough for the reader to absorb them–otherwise, they pass by too quickly.
On page 8, the sentence that you're emphasizing with italics is not grammatically correct: 'Whatever identity we take on, our subconscious guides us to fulfill that identity.' Your point is excellent but it's awkwardly written. Instead:'The identity we assume and reinforce within ourselves will always become a reality. In other words, if you tell yourself you're an incisive, inspired writer propelled by the power to help others and communicate your message–so it shall be.'