Now that you have a nonfiction book idea that will fulfill your purpose, provide value to readers and be unique and necessary in its category, it’s time to flesh that idea out. You need to give your book structure and determine the content you will include in your book.
This is an important stage in deciding if your book is viable. You need to know if you have enough content for a book, if the content makes sense in the structure you give it, and if that content is actually marketable.
Some people like to write by the seat of their pants, which means with no plan. It’s best, especially for nonfiction books, to have a plan. This writing prompt helps you create your plan: the structure for your book.
Nonfiction Writing Prompt #13: Flesh Out Your Book Idea
To complete this prompt, create a table of contents for your book and then write chapter summaries, or a synopsis for each chapter. This second exercise is sometimes called creating chapter-by-chapter synopsis for a book.
I like to use a mind mapping process to begin this prompt. It helps me brainstorm potential content. Then I can organize that content into a table of contents.
Here are two posts that will help you mind map the start of your book:
- Mind Map Your Project from Start to Finish
- How to Start Your Blogged Book (or Any Book) Using a Mind Map
Once you’ve brainstormed your potential content, create a table of contents. This is the organization for your book, or a list of chapters.
Next, write a one or two paragraph summary, or synopsis, or each chapter. Detail exactly what you will write about, or the subjects you will cover, in every chapter.
Once you have completed this chapter-by-chapter synopsis, you have a compete “picture” of your book. It’s a good idea to also write a pitch for you book to hone your idea and be sure you really know what you’re writing about. Then, you are ready to begin writing.
What did you discover by completing this writing prompt about preparing to write a book? Tell me in a comment?
For more information on how to create nonfiction book ideas that are marketable and that support your writing goals, join the NFWU. When you do, you’ll receive this month’s Nonfiction Writers’ University (NFWU) homework assignment, which contains more exercises and information on this topic. Plus, you’ll have access to the growing archive of past homework assignments and NFWU teleseminars as well as some introductory gifts worth more than the membership! Join here at the low introductory rate!
The February NFWU Teleseminar was on “How to Mind Map Your Nonfiction Book Before You Begin to Write” with Book Coach Roger Parker. It is archived on the site for members. Next month’s NFWU teleseminar takes place on March 18 at 12 p.m. PT and will feature Ultimate Book Coach Kristen Eckstein, who will teach members “How to Write a Non-Fiction Book in 3 1/2 Days.” Learn more about the event here. (Members get recordings of the events, access to the forum, bonus products, and more…) Learn about the benefits of membership when you click here.