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  • Writer's pictureDale Thele

How To Not Write A Book

One Approach to Writing

The title may seem strange, but when it comes to writing a book, there are no set rules. Each writer has their own unique process, from planning to execution. The process is as personal and varied as the writers themselves. Following someone else's writing process step by step can stifle your creativity and lead to the dreaded Writer's Block.

So, let's take a closer look at my approach to writing a book.

Generating Story Ideas

My ideas often come to me in dreams, as if I'm watching a movie on a big screen in a theater. Other times, ideas randomly pop into my head. Regardless of their origin, I make sure to jot them down and store them on my laptop. These ideas could be a title, a plot, or even just a random scene. While not all of these ideas may develop into full-fledged stories, they serve as a pool of inspiration that I can draw from in the future.

First and Last Chapters

Once I have a basic idea for a story, I begin by writing a rough draft of the first and last chapters. At this stage, I have no idea how the story will unfold from point A to point B. I simply focus on bringing the first and last chapters to life on paper. Of course, these chapters may undergo numerous revisions before the final manuscript, but they serve as the starting and finishing points for my story.

Planning (or Lack Thereof)

Let me be clear: I do not meticulously plan out my books or stories. I am what writers refer to as a "Pantser"—I write by the seat of my pants. While most writers are "Plotters" who meticulously plan their books, I prefer to let the story unfold organically. Some may argue that this approach is risky, but for me, it allows for a more spontaneous and authentic writing experience. We'll delve deeper into this later.


Every story or book features characters. Initially, I don't plan my plot step-by-step, so I only know the main characters and not the incidental ones. To visualize my characters, I conduct model searches on Google, trying to find their likenesses as I imagine them in my mind. Once I have an actual photo of my character, I create a character profile that includes physical descriptions, likes, dislikes, personal history, childhood, memories, and more. I strive to know each character as if each is a real, live, breathing person.


Now comes the exciting part—writing the complete rough draft. I have a general idea of where the story begins from the two rough draft chapters, the beginning, and the end. I start writing from where the rough draft's first chapter ends. I prefer to handwrite my rough drafts using a fountain pen and college-ruled composition books. I clear my mind and allow my characters to guide the story wherever they want, hoping it will eventually align with my originally written last chapter. Sometimes, the characters surprise me with unexpected plot twists that lead to a completely different ending. A prime example of this is the conclusion of my upcoming book, FINAL CHAPTERS. The characters completely caught me off guard with a double plot twist. I hadn't planned it, nor did I anticipate it. That's the beauty of writing in a freestyle manner—the story takes on a life of its own, presenting plot twist opportunities that were never planned or conceived before I started writing.

First Rewrite

Once the rough draft is complete, I transfer the entire manuscript into a digital editor, my personal preference being Open Office. While transposing, I may make some minor changes here and there, but my goal is to keep the manuscript as faithful to the original as possible.

Second Rewrite

During this stage, I digitally edit the rough draft, smoothing out the story and refining the dialogue, among other things.

First Edit

At this point, I add action tags, work out descriptive passages, and other storytelling details.

Additional Edits

Subsequent edits will focus on different technical writing aspects. The number of additional edits depends on the concentration of technical issues. I dedicate each edit to one specific technical issue.

Finished Book

No matter how many edits and rewrites I do, I always manage to find technical errors that were missed. A missing word here, an extra period there, and so on. However, throughout the entire writing experience, there is no way to describe the feeling I get when I open the cardboard box delivered to my door, containing my published book.

Final Thought

Now you have a basic understanding of my book or story writing process. This approach works for me, but I'm not claiming it to be the best method for everyone. What works for me may not necessarily work for you. So, now that you have this knowledge, forget what you just read and write your book or story in your own unique way.

I'd appreciate hearing your comments. Please, feel free to leave your thoughts in the Comment Box at the bottom of the page.

Dale Thele, Bestselling Fiction Author

Bestselling Fiction Author

Stories with an LGBTQ+ Twist

corrupting readers since 2008

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