So I wrote a book about how I wrote my books. In it, I covered things like lore, character development, dialog, and planning. I thought, what if I showed some of my chapters here.
What you'll find below is one of the chapters from my book "How I wrote my books, And you can too." I hope it helps someone, but I'll understand if no one bothers to read it. Still, if you do read it and get anything from it, I'd ask that you let me know. Also, feel free to check out some of my books and see how I used some of my advice to put together my work.
Chapter 1 Purpose
Every good book, every good story, needs a Purpose. We're not talking about plot points, characters, or even settings yet. Before you write anything, you have to know your reason for telling the story.
What do you want to explore? What would you like to shine a light on? Is there an idea you want to debate? Whatever your purpose is, it has to be strong enough to stand as the backbone of your book. Everything you write will stem from it.
A few examples of Purpose behind stories are:
The exploration of lifestyles contrasted across racial minorities.
Questioning gender roles in relationships.
The effects of religion.
To show the positive and negative results of growing up wealthy.
Showing that it's possible to find common ground between adversaries.
Notice how none of these ideas can be answered or solved easily. You want a purpose that offers layers upon layers to be peeled back and explored.
But what if you have a more simplistic purpose? What if you aren't looking to explore complex ideas. On the contrary, there is nothing wrong with a simple purpose such as:
Showing that racism is bad.
Learning how to love.
Good vs. Evil.
As long as your purpose offers multiple avenues to explore, it can, in theory, work.
A complex Purpose will take greater skill to dive into. Abstract or new thoughts have to be broken down and illustrated in-depth for readers to understand what is being explored. These complex stories are suited for older readers, but it is always impressive when an author can make complicated ideas digestible to younger readers.
Simplistic purposes are easier to illustrate. Common ideas and thoughts like "good vs. evil" are well known, so they don't take a great deal of work to make clear. The challenge becomes finding a way to explore these ideas in a way that hasn't been done before. Or, if you're going to do what has already been done, can you do it better? These types of stories are suited for younger readers, but if an author can find fresh ground to dig into, stories with simple purpose can entice older readers as well.
Whatever purpose you decide on, it's good to have a connection with it. If you're gay, telling a story about the challenges of gay marriage will likely be more manageable than telling the story of something you've never experienced, like PTSD after a war. I'm not saying you can only write about what you know, but it can be more accessible.
You get to decide the story you tell. There's no need to feel compelled to write about things outside your knowledge. Of course, you should challenge yourself to be informed so you can write about anything. That's what research is for, but pick something you feel comfortable taking on.
Pick something you can handle, and pick something that you can explore long enough to fill your book's pages.