When I begin a new book I use both Microsoft Word to write & MS EXCEL to build up my Outline.  

After I have five to ten chapters completed I'll start my outline using 4 or 5 columns in EXCEL to capture the details.

Chapter # / Timeline / Main Character / Description of what takes place in the chapter / Notes.

I always write the first draft quickly but do take time to enter the next 5 scenes in my outline to ensure I don't write myself into a corner.

Format your manuscript in MS Word prior to typing a single word. Use 10 or 12 New Times Roman font.  Use margin spacing of 1 inch on all four sides of the document.  Write the sentences double spaced.  I put only one space between sentences because this saves pages and readers don't tell the difference between 1 or 2 spaces. 

As you write try not to repeat the same words.  This forces you to look up synonyms, and build your vocabulary.  

Work on your sentence structure as you write by changing the sentence types as you write down the page.  This can also be done when you come back and edit your manuscript.

When you name your characters try not to use the same first letter for the names - don't have a Shelia and a Shelly.

If you can write a page or two every day.  This will keep your head in the story and save you time.  I know easier said than done while you're working a fulltime job, raising a family, etc.  For many years I only wrote on weekends.

Don't talk to anyone about your story while you are writing it.  This is easier said than done because you're excited and want to share what you're writing, but give it a try. 

Most of all enjoy the journey of writing your books. 

© 2020 by BRYAN KOEPKE

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