How to Write a Novel

Writing a novel can be very overwhelming, even for professional and expert writers. Coming up with ideas, organizing, editing, expanding, building characters, setting, plot, etc., is a lot of work for one person. For me, many of my ideas stem from past experiences, fantasies, desires, things I’ve seen or heard, really just from all over the place. Here are some tips on how to get writing.

  • Choose a place to write that is not near people or any distractions. This will keep you from prolonging the writing process and from doing other things that don’t involve writing.
  • Music/Silence – this really depends on you as a person. Sometimes I need music and sometimes I need complete silence.
  • Snacks are always good to have when you plan to write for an extended period of time. For one, this feeds the brain and the second thing is it keeps you from stopping the writing process to get up and go get something to eat.
  • Ideas are very important to have before you sit down to write. If you don’t have any ideas beforehand, you will be staring at a blank page for quite some time. Always have ideas ahead of time.
  • Brainstorm these ideas after you get situated. Now that you have your ideas written down, see if you can develop them into something good.
  • Setting and plot are the next step. These come before characters because you need to first know where the characters will be and what will they be doing. For all intents and purposes, while figuring out your setting and plot, name the people P1, P2, and so on.
  • Characters will be the next thing to do. Figuring out your antagonist(s), protagonist(s), supporting characters and extras. All of these people make up a story so it’s good to make a list of each person.
  • Give background on your characters (i.e. age, occupation, appearance, personality, etc.). This is important so that your readers can relate to these people and the story.
  • Figure out who your characters are in relation to one another (i.e. parents, children, friends, siblings, partners, enemies, etc.). You can’t just have a book full of characters and they never interact with each other.
  • Now you are ready to write the first line. Make sure that the first line of your novel is a catcher. If the first line isn’t good, you’ve lost your readers.
  • Continue writing the first chapter, prologue, introduction, what have you.
  • Once the first chapter is done, write the next and so on. This doesn’t have to be done in one setting. You can do and hour a day, a chapter a day, whatever makes you feel comfortable.
  • If you don’t feel like writing, don’t. It’s best to not write when you don’t feel like it to save you from writing something that you later will delete because it was terrible.
  • Once you feel like you have a finished product, go back through it and see where you can expand or omit. Don’t worry about fixing grammar, spelling, punctuation. Look through to make sure you were clear, characters were properly developed, each scene makes sense, the plot and storyline are well thought out and laid out. You are just making sure the story will be understood by the reader.
  • Now that you have done that, go back through and edit for syntax, sentence structure, punctuation, spelling, grammar, etc. It is also best to have a second set of eyes go over it. Pick someone that you trust to go over your work and give you honest, yet constructive, criticism.
  • Once that is done, go over it one more time to be sure that it is how you want it to be.

Stay tuned for my next post on the next step in this process, How to Publish a Novel.

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