If you are thinking about writing a novel, then you will probably have no problem answering this question. However, even if you are a writer and you love reading and writing, that does not necessarily mean that the novel writing process will come easy to you. Writing requires endless creative energy, copious amounts of coffee, and generous attention to revisions and editing. If you want to get into novel writing and achieve success in the process, enroll in this novel writing workshop and read on to find out how to get started with novel writing in 8 easy steps.
Step 1: Find Inspiration
Your novel will be centered around a fictional world, and it is your job to create one.
Find inspiration: The process of writing is a creative, so it is important that you tap into your creative mind for inspiration. As a writer, you never know when you are going to find or feel inspired. You might find inspiration from an old experience, in a conversation, or in a photograph. Some people suggest that you write about things you do know, and others believe that you should explore topics that intrigue or interest you regardless of whether you are experienced with them. Because inspiration can come from almost anywhere, it can be helpful to keep a notepad or journal handy with you at all times in case you need to jot down ideas on the go.
Step 2: Pick a Genre
When you visit a bookstore or library, you will notice that books are separated by their categories or genres. To better reach a certain audience or group of people, it is important to consider and cater your writing to a certain genre. To get a better feel for the genre that you are aiming for, read different pieces of work from your genre. This will help you get a feel for how you should go about constructing your own novel. However, if you are having trouble choosing a genre, there are still certain categories that you can choose your work to fall under. For example:
- Literary novels: generally have themes, symbolism, and complex literary devices.
- Commercial novels: geared towards entertaining their audiences. For example: science fiction, mysteries, romance, and thrillers.
- Crossover novels
Steps 3: Choose and Develop your Settings
After you decide on a certain genre or category for your novel, you can start developing the setting for the novel and where it is going to take place. Depending on how your story goes, you are probably going to have to develop and organize a whole new universe for your characters. You do not want to have to limit your setting to a small city or house. Also keep in mind that the setting of your novel will also determine the novels’ mood and overall tone. Consider some elements such as:
- Will the novel be set in the past, present, or future?
- Will it take place somewhere imaginary or on Earth?
- Is the setting dark or lively?
- Is your novel’s setting in the past, present, or the future?
Step 4: Create and Develop your Characters
Creating characters is fun. As a novelist, you are essentially responsible for creating lives, personalities, and traits to bring life to your story. Before you develop any other characters, your main focus should be the protagonist of your novel. The protagonist should have easily recognizable personality traits and thought patterns that readers can follow and pick up throughout the story. You protagonist does not necessarily have to be the “good” guy; however, your readers should be able to relate and empathize with them at some point to maintain their interest. If you think about some of your favorite novels, you will notice that is good character is one that you can live vicariously through. Check out these other tips for creating your protagonist:
- Your novel can have more than one protagonist. This can be helpful if you want to tell your story from multiple view points.
- Make sure that your novel incorporates other interesting characters that will interact with your protagonist as well.
- You do not have to map out all of your characters before you begin writing. As you write, you can choose to incorporate characters as you go.
- As a writer, aim to develop the characters in your novel so well that readers will be able to determine how the character will respond, react, and act in certain situations. They should be so developed that they feel like “real” people.
Step 5: Developing a plot
Almost all stories will have a sort of plot, and this is what usually keeps your readers interested and what keeps them reading. The basic structure of a novel is: conflict, tension build, climax, and resolution. However, not all novels or stories need to have a happy ending of complete resolution for the plot to work. The plot is mainly there to provide motivation for your character’s actions, as well as to create meaning throughout the novel. When thinking up ideas for your plot, remember that:
- There is no formula for the “perfect” plot. There are plenty of different ways to go about executing a good plot.
- Not all loose ends of a story need to be tied up at the end. It is okay if there is no resolution, nor do things need to be nearly resolved.
- Things do not have to pan out in a linear fashion in your novel. Stories are all told different ways, and sometimes the more unconventional they are, the more interesting they can be to read.
If you are still having trouble figuring out a plot, try thinking back to some of your favorite novels and analyze their plots and where the arcs appear in their stories.
Step 6: Deciding on a Point of View
Just like plots, there is no certain point of view that has to be followed when writing a novel. Novels are typically written in either first or third person, however, they can also be written in second person or with a combination of different perspectives from multiple characters.
- If you are unsure of the direction you want your novel to be told in, do not worry about choosing a point of view before you start writing. You can even go through the first draft of a novel just laying out your ideas.
- There is no one point of view that is going to work best for a novel. In the end, it all boils down to what is going to work best for your novel.
Now that you have the basic information that you need to get started with for your novel, you can begin creating a draft or an outline to display your ideas and set some goals for yourself. Do not get too bogged down in creating the ideal draft or outline, because as long as you feel inspired, all you need to do is write.
- If you are creating an outline before you begin writing, remember that you do not have to follow your outline exactly when you begin writing. Simply use your outline as a representation for the direction in which your novel may go.
- Sometimes it may be helpful to make an outline just for your characters alone. This can help you sketch out the qualities and stories that you want to envelop in each of your characters.
- Your first draft does not have to be amazing. The purpose of your first draft should be for you to get your words and ideas out in the open so that you can have something to work with.
Step 8: Commit to a writing routine
When working on a creative project, there can be days where you will feel uninspired or lazy about writing. Therefore, it is helpful to have a writing routine that you follow.
- Create your personal writing space. This can be a place that you go to void of any distractions that will help you get into the zone for writing your novel.
- Develop a sort of routine that is going to get you in the mood for writing. If you need to have a cup of coffee along side of you, then do what it takes so that you feel in a productive mood as you are writing.
- Whatever you do, make sure that one of your goals is to write every day. Writing a novel is a long process, and setting small everyday goals will help you keep yourself motivated and on the path towards achieving your end goal of producing a novel.
- Set a date in which you want to have your novel finished by so that there is a set mark you are working towards. Be sure to allow time for revisions, editing, and proofreading as well.
As you can see, writing a novel is different for everyone. Every person and every story will have its own pace, structure, and viewpoint. Novel writing is an extremely rewarding process, so take these steps and start developing your own creative flow and turn that into a page-turner. For more tips and tricks on perfecting your novel, check out this online course that will help you whip your novel into shape.