Starting a new book-Part 2 The Worksheet

Meredith Bond

I’ve used a number of worksheets when starting a book. My favorite is here (in my OneDrive folder). But not too long ago I read Lisa Cron’s newest book Story Genius and from that created a new worksheet. These are the questions I’m pondering now as I start figuring out my new book:

I start out thinking about what the Kernel Idea of the book is. Why am I writing this book? What made me think to do so? Bob Mayer talks a lot about the kernel idea in his book The Novel Writer’s Toolkit. He explains it really well, so if you need more about what it is and how to create this sentence, read his book!

The next question is the harshest and sometimes the hardest for writers to answer honestly. It is the one question that will keep your reader reading your book, or put it down and forget it: Why do I care? If you can answer that, you’ll have something that matters, that moves people, that will make readers willing to take this journey with you.

Along similar lines is “What’s the point?” but this is for you to think about why you’re writing this. What do you want your reader to walk away with? What’s the message you’re trying to get across?

We then get into the characters themselves with a thumb-nail sketch of them, what their goals and motivations are. Don’t forget to think about both internal and external goals.

And then we get into some even harder questions: What is the characters’ misbelief? What is it that they believe, that they have probably been told in childhood, that determines how they see the world and think of themselves.  How did they get this misbelief? and what is the worst thing that could happen because of this. 

The worksheet then goes into bigger questions such as what is the story question and then explores the ending of the book — because it’s frequently easier to write a book when you know where you’re going.

Check out the worksheet and tell me what you think! It will certainly take me a few days to get through it and answer all of these questions myself.


Meredith Bond is an award-winning author of a series of traditionally published Regency romances and indie-published paranormal romances. Known for her characters “who slip readily into one’s heart,” Meredith’s heart belongs to her husband and two children. Meredith’s second favorite pastime is teaching others to write.

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