Embarking on writing a novel may seem like a daunting task, and in reality, it can be. Like any major project, figuring out how to get it started is usually the most difficult part. Oftentimes, the best way to deal with large complicated tasks is to break them down into manageable parts. By turning one giant obstacle into multiple simpler problems, it becomes easier to motivate yourself. If you are feeling a bit anxious, this online writing workshop will guide you step by step in the novel writing process.
Come Up With an Idea
For many people, getting the right idea can seem difficult, almost impossible. However, I’ll let you on a little secret- most of the time you will find that you end up with more ideas than you will ever have the time to write. A good starting point is to decide, first off, what type of novel you want to create. This will help you to narrow down your ideas. Research the genre you have chosen, and read other authors that have been successful in that field.
Choosing an area you know can make the whole process much easier, but it is not a requirement. If you are interested in writing on a topic you know little about, be prepared to do a lot of research in that area. The advantage here is that the research you do could easily spark the right idea for your new novel. Make sure you keep a notebook with you at all times to write down any ideas that you have, no matter how farfetched they may be.
Develop a Plot
While some writers can just dive right in and start writing straight away, with no thought to a plot, most people are not able to do this. The result often becomes very muddled, and you will find that you write yourself into a corner, unable to continue. By developing a plot before you start writing, you will give yourself a rough outline to work with, that will make it far easier to stay on track. Producing your initial plot does not prevent you from altering parts of it as you go along. Are you interested in the fiction genre? You can receive expert guidance through this young adult fiction writing workshop!
A good plot needs regular action throughout, and something that happens immediately at the beginning, to hook the reader into wanting to read the rest of the book. Make sure that your plot is firmly based within the genre that you are trying to write, and does not veer off into another genre midway through. When you have finished the plot, try to write one sentence that summaries what your book is about. If you cannot do that, your plot is probably not focused enough yet.
It is important to consider the characters that are going to be in the book before you start writing. You need to develop them in your mind and on paper, before incorporating them into your novel. They need a clear biography, information about their history, life, skills, and knowledge. By creating a complete persona, when you actually start to write them into the plot, they will appear more real. Your goal is to make your reader care about your main characters. This will keep them reading as they want to find out what is going to happen with them. The list of characters does not have to be complete, as it is more than likely that as you are writing the novel, additional characters will appear. Even so, if you find yourself creating a character later on, go through the same process for them as well.
Write a First Draft
Now that you have a detailed plot and the characters to make the story come to life, you can start to write your novel. If you have not done so already, you need to divide the plot into chapters, and make a summary of what you expect to happen in each chapter. Ideally, do this for all the chapters, but if you are sure exactly how each chapter is going to flesh out, do it for each chapter before you start writing it.
This will help to focus your mind on what information needs to be in that chapter. Writing is an evolving art, so it is almost a certainty that as you are writing a chapter, some aspects of the story will change. When you have finished the chapter, compare it to your initial chapter summary, and the plot as whole, to see if you have achieved your original intention. It is not necessarily a bad thing if it is different, as long as you are clear how it affects the plot as a whole. This should reduce the chance of you getting writers block. If at any point you get stuck, go for a walk or do something completely different. Do not try to force your way through as it will show in your writing.
Revise Your Work
This is where the work of writing a successful novel really begins. Despite your pride at finishing your first novel, you need to go back through the book, and look at each chapter critically. Make sure that the plot, and any sub plots follow along logically. Check whether every loose end has been tied up. Nothing irritates readers more than wanting to know something from the story, and never finding it out, because the author never explains it. No matter what you think, your first draft will be poor compared to final result, once you have finished revising it.
First drafts are by their nature very clunky, and a lot of the dialogue will be poor. Also, compare your characters actions, to the biographies that you prepared earlier, and ensure that all the things that they do, and say, is in line with the persona you created. When writing, it can be easy to force your characters to do something they wouldn’t realistically do, in order to satisfy your writing needs at the time. If you get stuck, set the revising aside, and write something for fun, or do something else for a while.
Once you are happy with the revision, get feedback from your family, and friends. If you know other authors, get their opinions on your work. Do not be surprised if the end result is another set of revisions, as someone with fresh eyes will see things differently than you. If someone has a query about some part of the story, go back and look at why the question is arising, and what you can do to address the issue, to make it clearer. Always keep in your mind the most intelligent person you can imagine is reading your book, and address the story to them. Check out this blog post on how to write a novel for more tips and tricks to get a great story going.
By following these steps, you should be able to create an excellent, well thought out, and comprehensive novel, with characters that truly jump off the page at the reader. Do not be concerned if it seems to be taking a long time…just take a look at Jane Austin. She spent sixteen years between creating the first draft of Pride and Prejudice, and its publication. I’ll bet you can do it faster. Moreover, once you get published, why not take it to the next level by learning how to become a bestselling author on Amazon Kindle?