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Writing Your First Book

A Writer's Resource Guide

First Things First

New writers always ask the question: where do I begin.This resource guide will give some step by step tips to follow to begin the process.

Pick a Subject That Matters

The old adage: write what you know is only true if what you know will be interesting. This resource will teach you how to stimulate ideas.

Make a Decision on the Type of Book You Will Write

Books come in many sizes and shapes. They can be fiction, non-fiction, biography, reference, etc and the list goes on and on. Make a decision on the type of book before you begin the process.

Is a Book Outline Necessary

If you are writing non-fiction, you definitely will need to begin with an outline. I find that even writing fiction a base outline of the book's direction is most helpful before beginning.

Keep Motivated and Stimulate Your Creative Juices

This is probably one of the most difficult areas in writing for beginners and seasoned writers. You find yourself looking a blank screen and unable to think. There are tricks to help you move along.

Editing and Finalizing Your Book

What are the steps to good editing and what is the best process. This resource will guide you.      

Pick a Subject That Matters

What Do I Write About?

Whether you are writing fiction, non-fiction or
self-helpbook of some sort, you will want to pick a topic that people are interested in reading about; one that will make them want to read your book verses a book written by someone else.

Here's some ideas you should consider when picking your subject.

  • Think about what you know
  • Are you an expert in some specific area?
  • Have you encountered situations in your life that allow you to help others deal with a problem?
  • Can you recall stories your mother or grandmother may have told you about your family heritage?
  • Can you read an article in the newspaper and image “what if” and write a great fiction story about that same topic?

If you’ve answered yes to any of the above questions, then you have already found a subject that matters and we are ready to begin.

A simple trick I use when beginning to write a short story is to think back on a particular event or image I've come across in my lifetime. Then I begin enumerating the possibilities of "what if" into various scenarios.

Suddenly I come up with what I feel is an ingenious idea and then we're off and running.  

How to Decide the Type of Book You Will Write

There are many areas to choose from so let's start reviewing them all


Memoir, Biography or Autobiography

These are all non-fiction or true story accounts of an event or a life story.

A Memoir is told in first person as the memory account of a particular incident that occurred in the writer's life.

A Biography is writing the life story of a person other than yourself that you may choose to write about or that you are requested to write about.

An Autobiography is when you write your own life story and are the other of the book.

Self-Help / How To / Reference

These books can be anything you write about for which you have an opinion, an authority, a knowledge or a particular method of doing something.

A reference book is giving instruction on the best way to perform a particular process, service or skill.

Children or Creative

This type of books requires design or artistic skills along with the writing. These types of books can be a joint effort between a writer and artist.

Fiction / Poetry

A Fiction story is one whose events did not actually happen as told in the told or perhaps the events are modified from factual or embellished to make the prose more interesting.

Many fiction novels are completely based on imagination while others start out as a real life account and are embellished using the "what if" factor.

I've seen beautiful prose written in a sonnet or poem that relates feelings, thoughts and even disappointment. You don't have to write an entire book to be creativ/ Poetry

Making the Book Outline

Let's examine whether an outline is necessary


It is sometimes difficult to make an outline for a fiction book because as the writer - creator doesn't always know the direction the book with take.

Characters often come alive in fiction and seem to have a mind of their own. They develop within the writer and then begin to take their own pathway. This makes it difficult to design a outline to follow.

If I am writing a fiction book, I generally begin with a book synopsis. This will give you a guideline of what you wish to convey in the book.

Then you can make a general outline of where you wish to take the book but

this is never set in stone with fiction.


This is very different from fiction in that you will want to make a concise outline of the areas you will cover in the book and in what order you will present them chapter by chapter.

This is vital if you are to pursue securing an agent or publisher because it is the first step in presenting the book proposal.

Remember these tips when outlining:

A memoir is easier as it usually covers a specific time period or event in your life.

A biography or autobiography covers your entire life or the entire life of your subject. This requires you to make a chapter by chapter outline of the years and events you will cover. These can be re-arranged and modified as needed during the writing of the book.

Ways to Keep Motivated - Stimulate Your Creative Juices

Put your true self into your writing. Make others feel what you feel.

Finding your Motivation to Write something every day

This one is really tough, at least for me. Frankly, some days I wake up in the morning and just plain don’t feel like writing. My creative juices feel like they’re all dried up.

I bet you know the feeling because you’ve been there too. It’s the toughest part of being a writer.

Each one of us has different motivations for what we do!

I think my greatest motivation in the morning is looking at picture of my three granddaughters and recalling all the things I want to be able to give to them and share with them.

Being a writer enables me to do just that.

Ways to Stimulate Those Creative Juices

  • Look through a magazine at the pictures; then envision a story or an event that I could relate to.
  • Listen to music and recall how the lyrics made me feel.
  • Get up and make a trip to the gym or my exercise room. That’s a great way to get the body moving. When the body moves, the mind with often follow.

Writing every day doesn’t mean an entire book or story but can mean a chapter, a verse of a poem, or even an essay on how to get motivated.

You’d be surprised how little it takes.

Writing something everyday keeps those juices fresh and tasty. It’s just what you want to create material that’s appealing to the reader.

Trust me when I say a transformation will occur when you make it a point to write daily, even if it turns out just to be a journal entry.

Get those creative thoughts down before you forget them.

Often I find myself lying in bed when suddenly the perfect sentence for my protagonist pops into my head.

I keep a tablet by my bedside and believe me I write it down quickly. I don’t edit it or think about where in the book I will use it. I just know if I don’t write it down it will leave my mind as quickly as it arrived.

Your writing will evolve as the words you write come easier and easier and soon that book is not just a dream but has become a reality.

Editing and Finalizing Your Book

Many new writers ask the question: when do it edit and how is the best way to do it?

When to edit?

I prefer to cease writing when I feel the creative juices have slowed and I need to breathe.

Then when I’ve had some time to walk away from the piece, I will return and begin to edit. This may be after one chapter, one section or one event. It may even happen after several chapters.

Some writers will never edit until the book is finished and then they begin. This to me is a daunting task but if it works for you then I applaud it. Every writer is different and you will soon learn the process that works best for you.

Get an expert’s help and opinion

How many of you have written a delightful piece of prose and edited it carefully and sent it along to your publisher filled with typos and gaffs that have embarrassed you to death.

I know it has happened to me. When I wrote my first book, I thought I was invincible to errors. Boy was I wrong.

No matter how many times you read a sentence or check for spelling and grammar you will most certainly miss something.

You need two sets of eyes at a minimum

Yes, I say at a minimum. In most cases there are many steps in the process.

Proofreading for typos and sentence compatibility.

There is copy-editing for word placement, sentence structure,grammer and style.

There is general editing for story design and flow.

All of these elements must come together to turn a book into a best seller.

Synopsis and Press Release

We spoke about writing a synopsis for your fiction book when you are preparing to write it as a means of a summary to guide you.

In a non-fiction book a synopsis would be used after the book is finished but the book outline would take precedence and should be done before the non-fiction product is started.

It can also be used to send to prospective agents or editors. In any case you should write all versions from a short two line summary to a long detailed synopsis to cover all your bases.

I have listed below the ones I wrote for my four book series entitled Rubies - Escaping the Curse.

The in "About" section on my website you will find all types of publishing materials including the press release and publishing credits. I have listed below some samples for you.

Summary: The price of a virtuous woman is far above Rubies. In Rubies –

Escaping the Curse the consequences of sin are revealed when this fine gemstone is shattered in a million pieces.

Short Synopsis: The price of a virtuous woman is far above Rubies. In Rubies – Escaping the Curse the consequences of sin are revealed when this fine gemstone is shattered in a million pieces. Its brilliance no longer glistens in the sunlight as the only remains are the remnants of the jewel broken and left with jagged edges. Four women struggle to escape the curse that has slowly destroyed their lives.

Medium Synopsis: The price of a virtuous woman is far above Rubies. In Rubies – Escaping the Curse the consequences of sin are revealed when this fine gemstone is shattered in a million pieces. Its brilliance no longer glistens in the sunlight as the only remains are the remnants of the jewel broken and left with jagged edges. Kaja Ericsen leaves her family in Norway to make a new life in America. She brings with her a curse that follows for generations. Four women struggle to escape the curse that has slowly destroyed their lives. After years of abuse and disappointment one of these women breaks loose from the chains of despair and finds the secret of unconditional love and its impact on her life.

Long Synopsis: The price of a virtuous woman is far above Rubies. In Rubies – Escaping the Curse the consequences of sin are revealed when this fine gemstone is shattered in a million pieces. Its brilliance no longer glistens in the sunlight as the only remains are the remnants of the jewel broken and left with jagged edges. Four women struggle to escape the consequences of a curse that has slowly destroyed their lives.

Rubies – Escaping the Curse is a family saga about four women, Kaja, Marty, Katherine and Stacey, desperately caught in a web of deceit and tragedy. Stacey has convinced herself that she and all the women in her family are victims of some mysterious curse – a curse that has destroyed all their lives.

As her sanity crumbles after the untimely death of her sister, Stacey seeks the help of psychiatrist, Gregg Phillips. Together they journey back in time using a unique method of hypnosis. As Stacey’s story unfolds we begin to

realize the impact of sin and the consequences that can destroy of the lives of everyone in its path.

The idea for Rubies – Escaping the Curse came to me when searching for the truth about my own grandmother’s journey from Norway to America in 1913. Most of the story is centered around rural North Dakota and Duluth, Minnesota.

Kaja Ericsen was a real person who sacrificed her life with her children to find a new beginning in America. She left behind her two beautiful daughters, fully intending to return for them one day. When Kaja’s life becomes a threshold of bitterness and uncertainty, she becomes convinced that she and all her generations have fallen victim to a mysterious curse.

She dies a bitter and disappointed woman never able to realize her dream of returning to Norway and never sees her daughters again. Her own belief that she is a cursed woman is handed down to her daughter Marty who continues the chain of sorrow as she walks The Widening Road – Book Two in Rubies – Escaping the Curse which is the second book in the series.

I have not included that synopsis here.

Sample Press Release is below - this is only a portion of what you will find on my website but I wanted to give you an idea of what you should keep in mind after your book is written and published.

Based on the life story of a Norwegian emigrant, the Rubies saga is a portrait of American heritage mingled with a provocative story of deceit and tragedy. The four book series proves that fact truly is stranger than fiction Minneapolis, MN June 2015 In our society today a great deal of attention is focused on people of other countries seeking a new life in America.

This truth is evidenced by the fact that all Americans have a generational lineage to the emigrants of old who sought a new beginning in a land of freedom and prosperity. The Midwest is populated by the Olson’s, the Anderson’s, and the Johnson’s who came to America as the Ostman's, the Svenson's, the Tveter's. Names were changed but people remain the same.

In the newest fiction publication, Rubies – Escaping the Curse, we find all

the heritage of times gone by.

The Rubies Saga is a four book series tracing the life of a Norwegian Emigrant family from 1913 to 1992. “I truly believe that all fiction begins in real life. Most fiction books are based on real life characters whose stories are told through creative fiction as they are too strange to be believable.

Fact is most often stranger than fiction.” Sandra Joy Eastman The four book family saga, Rubies – Escaping the Curse was published on Amazon from July of 2014 through May of 2015.

All four books are available in paperback and kindle versions. Link is attached below. Rubies Saga The story takes place in the Midwest, from the North Dakota plains, to the charming tourist city of Brainerd to the shores of Historic Duluth, bringing all the history of the era while showing us that the past can become the present whether it is 1913 or 2015.

The women in Rubies – Escaping the Curse are caught in a web of deceit and tragedy convinced they are victims of some mysterious curse – a curse that has destroyed all their lives. As the saga continues over the four book series, we learn the secret of the mysterious curse lies only in the mind of its victims.

Rubies author, Sandra Eastman, was born in Brainerd, Minnesota, and spent a great part of her life in Historic Duluth. Rubies character, Kaja Ericsen, is based upon her own grandmother’s journey to America in 1913.

You Too Can Be Published

Never give up on your dream:

As the Work at Home Grandma I know that fact is stranger than fiction.

I help writers turn real life happenings into fictional stories and enable businesses to promote their marketing ideas with intriguing website copy.

I help people put their ideas on paper and turn their work into publishable product.

Any publisher will provide an author with an editor whose job is to make the book a best seller but you need to get your book in front of a publisher and that is where I come in.

I will work with you one on one to formulate your book and make it presentable for marketing.

If you are self publishing I can help you proofread, copy-edit or content edit as necessary.

It's easy to contact me for a free book consultation. If you're stuck on ideas or just want someone to have a look at the format, I'm available.