Building Book Chapters

By Sophfronia Scott

When preparing to write a non-fiction book, most aspiring authors have no trouble coming up with a list of chapters for their nascent books. They might even come up with snazzy titles for those chapters. But after that? Nothing. That's where they get stuck. They don't know how to begin filling up those chapters with writing.

One of my private book coaching clients recently hit this same wall. As we worked through it, I realized some of the points we covered would be good to review here.

The Break Down
When thinking about your non-fiction chapters, it's best to keep it simple. Cover just one main point in each chapter. Then, to write the chapter, think in terms of WHAT, WHY and HOW. Each chapter, to certain degrees, will contain each of these concepts.

The "What"
With the WHAT, you're introducing your main point for that chapter and explaining what it is. Let's say, for instance, that you're writing a personal development book and you have a chapter on "Persistence". You might begin by discussing what persistence is and perhaps give a few anecdotes showing what it looks like in action in a person's life.

The "Why"
In the WHY, you'll talk about why your main point-- in this case persistence--is so important. This is where you really get the reader to "buy into" the concept. You can drive this section home by showing what it looks like when the thing is absent. You can tell stories (either your own or client examples) of what happens when someone lacks persistence.

The "How"
The HOW is a little tricky. Ideally you're telling the reader how to gain/fix/work with/eliminate the concept. But it's up to you to decide how much HOW you'll give. Some authors give very little HOW because they want to sell their expertise. You have to come to them to get the HOW. Some authors can afford to put more HOW into the book because their HOW is very difficult and the reader would still have to buy a product or hire the author to help implement the HOW. You have to take a pretty good look at your business strategy for your book--that will help you decide how much HOW you're going to give away, if any.

The Writing
Now all you have to do is come up with your WHAT-WHY-HOW for each chapter until you've written your whole book. Yes, it can be that simple. You can always add or subtract material once you've written the first draft. The great thing'll have a first draft. I challenge you to get started today. Let's see how fast you can build a book!

© 2009 Sophfronia Scott

Sophfronia Scott is Executive Editor of the Done For You Writing & Publishing Company. Learn what a difference being a published author can make for your business. Get your FREE audio CD, "How to Succeed in Business By Becoming a Bestselling Author" and your FREE online writing and book publishing tips at

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