The Dissection

Book Dissection

cutting up a book | Liz Henry | Flickr

Okay, so we have our idea. Awesome. And then we did the research. You did do the research, right? Cool…now what? The next step is to hunt down a book in your genre similar to what you want to write. Then read it and cut the idea into pieces. Once you can see how the story progressed put it together in your head and see how all the parts work. The idea behind this is to see how they created a story that has drawn readers and a publisher (unless they self-published).

For me, traditional publishing means poverty. But self-publish? No ...

I am the last person to blast anyone on self-publishing since I did it for both of my books. Following through on your dream, in any way possible, is great. It can boost your faith in yourself. Yes, it is hard to have to do it all yourself, but you come to appreciate the value in every step. Now, the pandemic has squashed my sales because I’m not able to get out and promote the books. I do my best on here and other platforms to get them out there.

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And… on with other things. Hi, how are ya? How is your day going? OH! Your cuppa is nearly empty and so is mine. I will meet you in the kitchen/breakroom. We can all huddle around the coffee pot and cheer it on as it makes a fresh pot. Go hunt for a nibble while I roll out the reading rug. Don’t forget to grab your copy of The Novel Writer’s Toolkit by Bob Mayer. We are on page 53. Wait…dude, you with the massive chip bowl full of nibbles. How many nibbles did you steal? Did you, like, go through everyone’s lunch and take all their sweets? You may want to reevaluate your eating habits cuz…wow. Anyway- you do you, sweet-cheeks, and we will move on.


What was the original idea in the book you decided to dissect?

How close is it to yours?

How did the author work with that idea to create a story?

What twists did they work in?

What’s your twist?

How is your twist different?

What is the intent of their story?

What is yours?

What did that author do that you liked?

What did they do that you did not like?

What could the author have added to make the story better?

What could they have left out?

What was the subplot and was it used well?

Reading Programmes: the art of reading for the OED | Oxford ...

Those are just a few of the questions in the book. Just another reason to get your own copy. Remember the lesson here is the more you read the stronger your style and voice. Book dissection can help you build how realistic your novel can be. This is where your research comes in handy. If you interview someone with the skills you need for a character in your story, the information they give you can make your character stronger and more believable. When you go back to the book you dissected ask yourself two more questions: How is my book going to be different? What is my unique twist? Remember, there are tons of vampire books out there, but most have different twists and turns to make it stand out and be unique.

Turning Idea Into Story

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How do we write the book? The transition from idea to story writing can be difficult. This is where the who, what, where, when, how, and the why of the story needs to be decided. There are a ton of ways to twist and turn your idea into different stories just by changing one of those 6 questions. Changing your main character from a man to a woman will shift the way they do things and react to situations. Think through the possibilities.

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More questions to ask yourself, what point of view do you write in? Where do you start the story? Subplots? And at least a dozen more (buy the book). All these questions and tons more need to be answered as you write your novel. For those out there who think, “I can write a book. It’s no big deal,” you may want to rethink that. For those of you who decide this is a journey you want to take, prepare for a marathon. Even if you write quickly it is still a time eater. Think about how much we have already done and haven’t put pen to paper yet. We have touched on finding the idea, research, preparation, and now, the dissection. At this point, if you have done these three steps, you have invested a good amount of time, but it is still only a small slice of what’s to come.

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Are you ready to do this? We’ll talk about that and a few more questions you should ask yourself before you lace up your sneakers for this marathon.

Until next time…

Please remember that I am not trying to write this book for you word for word. I am skipping a lot of detail. I highly suggest you purchase the book and read between the lines.

Polish your sparkle and keep twirling.

Find joy. Be joy. Enjoy.

I’m always looking for new friends!

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Author: Ticia Rani

I am...interesting. I am a writer, dreamer, mom, wife, veteran, friend, villain, and the wearer of many hats, but I don't look good in hats- go figure. I LOVE TO WRITE. I want to tell stories. I want to make you laugh, cry, and scare the crap out of you, and make you ask "why the hell did you do that?" I want to make you cheer my characters on or want to shake the crap out of them for things they say and/or do. I want to bring you along for the ride. Ready? Set?...READ!!!

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