There are so many times when I have thought to myself, “That would make a great idea for a book” or, “She would be a great character for my novel”. The problem is, when I sit down to start writing a novel, my mind goes blank or I easily lose my train of thought.
To start and continue through with anything successfully, it can be helpful to follow steps and have a plan. If you are interested in how to start writing a novel, let’s take a look at 10 steps that you can take to get your writing juices flowing.
Step 1: Find Inspiration
For some people, the hard part about writing is finding the right inspiration. Writing is a creative process, and you will have to tap into your creativity for this one. The great thing about creativity is that it can come anywhere, and it does not always matter where you look. Try to look for inspiration in even the simplest things, such as at a coffee shop, while you are in line at the grocery store, in try finding inspiration from some of your favorite writers. You can even look to your past experiences for things that might be inspiring to you.
Step 2: Pick A Genre
Picking a category that your novel falls into can be tough if you have not started it yet. However, if you know where your novel is headed or what type of audience that you are going to gear your writing towards, then you should not have much of a problem. Even if you have not yet chosen a genre, you might want to read a few books that fall into the categories that you are interested in. This exposure will help give you an idea, as a writer, as to how you are going to go about constructing your novel according to its genre. Here a few genres that you can consider exploring for novel writing:
- Literary novels, science fiction, romance, thriller, fantasy, historical fiction, and so on. Additionally, there are some novels that can count as cross-over novels, such a cross between romance and science fiction.
Step 3: Setting
After you decide on your genre, you will need to choose the setting for which your novel is going to take place. When you pick a setting do not just pick a city or a house that your characters are going to spend time in. Instead, develop a whole separate universe or world that your novel will take place. The more detail that your novel has in terms of its surroundings, the sights, and the sounds –the more realistic your novel will be to your readers. To help you dream up an idea setting, trying considering a few different things, such as:
- Will the novel be set in the past, present, or future?
- Will the novel take place on Earth or on an imagined planet or world?
- Will the novel be spread out over a variety of locations?
Step 4: Characters
Creating the characters for your novel can be the most exciting part. There are many times I have had my characters in mind for a story before I actually thought out the rest of the storyline. Here are some tips for creating characters for your novel:
- Make sure that you provide your characters with personality traits and characteristics that are going to be easily recognizable to your readers.
- Your protagonist should be the most important character in your novel. They do not have to be likeable, but they should have qualities and characteristics that make them relatable to your readers.
- The characters in your story should not be entirely predictable, as to that keep your readers interested.
- Create characters that your readers want to live vicariously through – and will do so by staying hooked throughout the novel.
Step 5: Plot
When writing a novel, your story is going to need to have some type of conflict. The conflict will climax and eventually will be resolved. However, the ending of a novel does not always have to be a happy one. The plot could simply act as a way to provide change and meaning to your novel.
- It is not always necessary that everything needs to be resolved at the end of the novel. There can still be questions left unanswered.
- Your novel does not have to follow a certain structure in regards to the plot; it can work backwards as well and start with the central conflict in the beginning.
- To get an idea of how to construct a plot arc for your novel, try reading some of your favorite novels to see how the author put the plot together.
Step 6: Point of View
- You can choose first person, which will have an “I” voice directly from the charater’s point of view.
- Second person will address the readers as “you”, and is less common in novel writing.
- Third person allows readers to see things from an outsider’s perspective. When you are starting to write your novel, it is not essential that you pick a point of view. As you develop your thoughts, and even go through a first draft, you can eventually have a better idea of how the novel will sound.
Step 7: Begin Your First Draft
Once you have all the above information in your mind, or at least in consideration, you can begin writing the first draft of you novel. For any piece of writing, it is important to have a catchy opening line or first paragraph to keep your readers hooked and encourage them to keep reading. Try not to get too caught up in the details of your novel; just start writing and allow your creative juice to flow.
Once you start writing a novel, your work does not stop there. You will need to work through to complete a few drafts and then proofread or revise your work. Write a novel that you would want to read, and stick with it through the end. Try this complete novel writing workshop today!