Guest Post – Floyd Hyatt Explains How To Write A Book

Take it away, Mr. Hyatt:

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Oh, that; sure, no problem.

How to write a book in less than a thousand words.

First, you need a story to tell.

Then consider:

1.) Whether the story is going to be character driven, or not.

The difference:

Character based stories revolve around decisions. Decisions that change lives, attitudes, and futures. Choices would be presented to the characters, and the responses to these choices comprise how the story progresses, and focus on what they mean to the characters growth, past, and the tales result. Currently, Character driven stories are the more sought for. That is, interest focuses on personal changes achieved, more than the solution of events. Events become prominently, just the levers of growth.

In non-character based stories, events buffet the characters like tsunamis, carry them along, focusing on how events change lives, how decisions alter events. Like the difference between the Great Man theory of history, and the Seminal Event theory of history. Most stories are a merger of these two, but overall, the focus is on one or the other. The key character change in an event driven story may simply be survival, but the war is won, the baby saved, whatever.

2.) The Point Of View of the story. Will you write it from the internal perspective of one character? Or, from the perspective of an outsider or agent, chronicling a tale? Will it follow several, or just one person’s movements, overall.

3.) Will you be looking at the topic historically, or in an as it happens manner? What do you see as the overall tense of your story? Bear it in mind, because you will be writing in it.

4.) The scene, time frame, characters, and conditions that the story starts with. Here, you start to assemble your story. The background and settings, the World build details, what hurdles it provides you characters, and some idea as to the event progression you want.

5.) The conclusions to reach, both from the perspective of what happens to the characters, and overall, how things will end plot-wise. Don’t forget your poor little sub-arc characters, the mini-heroes and important minions. Especially, remember your primary antagonist needs love too. Cut, did he/she not bleed? Are his/her motivations not as fine as thine, if not your own?

Also, changing or not changing, is something important to detail, not just for the heroic leads, but for a reasonable selection of your cast. Readers have peripheral vision, and unlike moles, don’t just want to tunnel on to a set conclusion. Adequate sub-plots help enrich a novel-length story. May even provide the text that makes a difference between having a saggy center in it, and a successful write throughout.

6.) Outlining: Now you are ready to sketch in the plot of your story, referring to where it starts, what the main character is missing and where it ends, where the need is fulfilled. There is nothing more damaging to story writing, than to have decided some attitude, or perspective of a character will be reached in a story, then failing to achieve it, so note it. There will need to be near misses, or try/fails along the way. Usually it is best if the fails are due to the lack of realizing a needed Key. (more on that later) You should have, oh, at least two try/fails. The closer the hero comes, only to fail, the better. This is true whether the goal is The Big Wedding, Winning The War, Climbing Mount Everest, or Finishing That Story (heh). Keep frosty, and on target. Try to envision where key events are going to happen, where sub-plots should peak. Somewhere in the center is a good place for a few of the Keys to turn. Keys are the revelations a character or characters experience, that take them from powerlessness to the road to success, from despair to hope, from data gathering to realization of THE PATH to success, from misunderstanding to inner growth, belief, or resolve. The crisis may still be before them, but the strength to succeed, the skills to compete, are achieved. Someone once pointed out the moment in StarWars where Luke Skywalker hears an inner voice saying “The power is in YOU, Luke.” This was a major key. The hero recognizes he/she now has what is needed to succeed. Then lightly structure the stories crescendo. (try/succeed)

7.) Other considerations: Functions that keep readers interested, such as a good hook, or starting scene, that is actually important to the story plot. Stories usually don’t start at the beginning. They plop the reader down in the middle of something exciting or curious, and see to it the reader is encouraged to want to know the who why when and where of the situation. Be prepared to consider as you outline, that a good section should end raising enough curiosity in a reader to want to read the next, and find out what happened to that wrapper, character, gunshot, photograph, etc. Beyond that, prepare to show it happening. The story won’t be a dry explanation of what happens or happened, like the outline is. It shows it occurring. It is demonstrated in movement, color, smell, feelings, and pratfalls, couched in dialog, description, action. It is, in short, a play. Keeping a list of players near-by, that tells what they look like, how excitable they are, what agendas they have, who they like, dislike, how they speak, and move, will save you back checking your story all the time for consistency, but if your memory is eidetic, great. Be a little sneaky. You write to the purpose of entertaining the reader, involving the reader, perhaps even frustrating the reader a little bit. Maybe not everyone wins that the reader is lead to root for. That’s called drama, it injects emotion. Provide the reader an experience. You are not writing a journal, you are providing an entertainment. Go get em, tiger.

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A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Well? What are you waiting for? You heard the man: Go get em, tiger!




I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Guest Post – Floyd Hyatt Explains How To Write A Book

  1. Jane

    August 26, 2013 at 9:52am

    Mr. Hyatt, you are amazing!
    This post distills (in a clear and exciting way) all of the How-to-Write books I have perused over decades! These tips and rules are literally everything one needs to know to plan, keep track of, and execute any sort of fiction, ever. Sir, I like your style.

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    • F A Hyatt

      August 27, 2013 at 11:43am

      Great to hear from you, Jane.
      Im happy with the summary, in that I really believe if you have this much firmly in mind, A book can be written, start to satisfactory finish. There are tons of techniques, tricks and tips beyond what is outlined here of course, but at root, if you have a story to tell, this much alone will get the draft done.

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