- By Earma Brown
- Published 07/27/2009
Do you know how to create a chapter template for your book? Use the chapter template elements below and your book will be like a paved road guiding readers through your chapters. That paved road of organization includes mile markers, exit signs and other road markers for each chapter. Think about it; we easily get lost unless the path is clear. It’s stressful to take a journey without a clear road to travel. Besides all of that, most people enjoy a journey better (even a book journey) on a paved clearly marked road. Instead of leaving your readers to follow a mucky path of disorganization through your book, use repeating elements to create a can’t-miss-it road like the yellow brick road in the ‘Wizard of Oz’ movie (1939). In John Maxwell’s “21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You” book, he skillfully uses repeating elements. These repeating elements form a paved road that leads you clearly through each chapter. Each chapter has the same basic form (road). To create chapters that guide your readers like a yellow brick road include these 10 elements: 1. Sizzle your chapter title: Create grab you by the collar chapter titles. You can immediately follow up with a subtitle that emphasizes and explains the title’s meaning. Or you may consider a brief quotes. 2. Insert brief quotes: You may follow each title one or two quotes from your speeches or other authorities in your field which support the title. 3. Write an Introduction: Begin each chapter with 6-8 paragraphs of introduction. The introduction may include a short story presenting the chapter’s main principle or underlying thesis. For short books 3 to 4 paragraphs work best. You don’t want your introduction to over power your chapter. 4. Create an opening statement: For example, you could open each chapter with a startling statistic that show where your audience is now (before reading your book.) Many authors begin with a short analogy or story. Whatever you decide to open with, create an attention getter to hook your reader. 5. Prepare a thesis statement: After your short introduction including your hook (opening statement), write your thesis. Keep it simple; let your readers know what benefits await them if they keep reading. For example, one author friend uses sizzling bullet points to entice the reader into the chapter. You may place them right below quote or directly below introduction. 6. Write 7 to 10 points: Next, you may write lessons or present 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. 7. Include case studies: Incorporate one or more story form case studies that support the chapter’s central idea. 8. Add self-evaluation tools: Add brief questions that permit readers to measure their progress with each of the principles described inside the chapters. 9. Summarize your chapter. For short books, each chapter should end with 1-3 sentences to end the chapter well. For longer books four to eight paragraphs that summarize the central idea and supporting points should suffice. 10. Use engagement tools: Create active participants of your book readers using engagement tools like worksheets and note sheets. Make lists, questions to ponder or boxed tips to actively engage your readers instead of allowing them to be observers.
Step out of your comfort zone and create a yellow brick road for each chapter. Use the simple template above and before you know it you’ll speed write your book to completion. Remember, when you enjoy the journey life is made easier.