- By Earma Brown
- Published 02/1/2009
The best non-fiction books have a set structure to house their chapters. That structure provides the framework for each chapter. It’s stressful to re-invent the wheel every time with a blank screen. Most people including the author are intimidated by a blank screen. Instead of starting from scratch each chapter, use repeating elements to create structure. In John Maxwell’s “21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You” foreword by Zig Ziglar contains repeating elements that house each chapter. Each chapter has the same basic form. To build chapters that keep your readers reading include these 8 elements: 1. Chapter title: The title immediately followed by a subtitle emphasizes and explains its meaning. 2. Brief quote: Following the title are one to two quotes from your speeches or other authorities in your field which support the title. 3. Introduction: Each chapter begins with a six to eight paragraph of introduction that may include a story presenting the chapter’s main principle or underlying thesis. For short books 3 to 4 paragraphs sound great. 4. 7 to 10 points: Following the introduction may be lessons or tools used to achieve the goal presented in the introduction. Condense your material as you develop each point. Some lessons may require one paragraph and others may need several.
5. Case studies: Each chapter may include one or more story form case studies that support the
chapter’s central idea. 6. Self-evaluation tools: The chapter may include brief questions that permit readers to measure their progress with each of the principles described in the chapters. 7. Conclusion: Each chapter may end with four to eight paragraphs that summarize the central idea and supporting points. 8. Other Engagement Tools: The chapter may include other engagement tools such as worksheets, note sheets, lists that work to engage your readers and make them active participants in the book instead of just observing. 9. Write a book of solutions. Your audience is looking for solutions to their problems. They are looking to you for encouragement to overcome their challenges. Mine your background, your files, and your speeches for the gold called your knowledge. Use speedy book writing techniques and finish your book faster to sell sooner. 10. Write a book with realistic expectations. If you think an hour here or a couple there will get your book done, rethink your commitment. Plan to fit at least 8-14 hours into your schedule to get your book done and out to the world. It may mean getting up in the wee hours of the morning before your family gets up or burning the midnight oil after work. Either way, know consistency will drive you and your book to a successful completion.
Step out of your comfort zone prepare your marketing plan, mine your existing knowledge and create a framework for each chapter, speed write your book and you’ll be surprised at what you accomplish by following the simple steps of an easy writing program.