Call me slow, but as far as I see it, there are two ways to write a book:
Buy a new house. Not to live in, but to write in. (Yeah, you heard me correctly: I ended that sentence in a preposition. My upcoming novel is full of those kinds of sentences, and also dangling modifiers, and split infinitives, and run-on sentences, hot damn do I have a lot of run-on sentences! And sentence fragments.)
OK. Now allocate one room just for the writing of the book. This is where you calculate word count, you target writing goals, you sit your ass in the chair and you just write.
But if you’re working on a book, then writing is not enough, you need to do some organizing. This is where the other rooms of the house come in to play. Dedicate a second room for outlining. Buy a gigantic whiteboard. This is for when you want to look at your book as a list. This is where you figure out the pacing and the flow of your story. How many chapters does it need? How does it flow from one chapter to the next? How long is each chapter?
But sometimes that is not enough, you need to visualize it further. This is where the third room comes into play. This is the room with a gigantic corkboard where you tac (tac? tack? tak?) index cards against the corkboard to represent the various chapters and scenes. This is helpful for you to see patterns and trends. Buy a bunch of colored markers so you can color code these trends as you see fit. This is where you can move things around or organize things based on theme or point of view or character.
There’s a problem though. If you change something in one room, you’ll need to adjust things in the other rooms. So now you need to hire a runner. A dude (or dudette) who runs between the rooms and adjusts things everywhere else when you make a change. It may cost you $15/hour, but it’ll be worth it, because you need to focus on the writing and you can’t afford to be interrupted in order to keep things in sync.
There are other things required for this method (like a room dedicated to research), but this covers the bare essentials.
Estimated cost: $200,000 for the house + $15/hr * 1500 hours for the runner + $30 for whiteboard + $30 for corkboard + $30 in pens and markers = $222,590.
Just get a damn copy of Scrivener already. It covers all of the above requirements and way more.
Estimated cost: $45
(My tutorial and overview of Scrivener can be found here.)
*Note: I don’t get any kickback from Literature & Latte, the makers of Scrivener. I’m just obsessed with this program…