Writing a novel may seem like a daunting task, especially if you are working on your first one. Here are 5 novel writing tips to help you get off to a great start.
One of the best ways to get started on your novel writing adventure is to read, read and then read some more. Whether you are about to start your first novel, or you are stuck halfway through your fifth novel, reading books written by other authors is one of the most effective methods to get you motivated to write. Nearly all successful writers have a good reading habit. Some great books have the ability to inspire you into writing your own book. Besides improving your vocabulary and knowledge base, reading extensively can also give you a lot of ideas for plots, characters and settings.
Through reading books, watching movies or just by observing life around you, you can get some ideas for the story you would like to write about. One important thing is: make sure that you write a story you would like to read yourself. Don’t try to write a book that is intended to please your family, or fit in with the popular culture, or what your agent wants you to write. After all, you have to spend weeks or months with this book, reading and re-reading it umpteen times. It would be easier for you to write about something that you can relate to, or sympathize with, or feel strongly about.
3. Plan it
A great idea for a book does not always translate into a great book, unless a considerable amount of planning and plotting is involved. Some authors claim to start with a germ of an idea and then just let the story write itself. For most authors though, this technique is doomed for failure. Spending some time on constructing the plot, arranging the plot elements in a logical order, and preparing a detailed outline of the story will pay off as you write your book. Having the core of the story already laid out makes it a lot easier and quicker to write the first draft. You can later change any parts of the story during the revision stage.
4. Write it
Once you have a good outline of the story, there is nothing left to do but bunker down and write! Don’t wait for the muse, the mood or the inspiration any longer. To quote a famous author, “the writing muse only arrives when you write, and not before”. Set yourself a time and space for writing every day, and don’t let anything disturb or distract you from your daily writing goals. If you still have trouble settling down to write regularly, consider joining writing workshops or writing clubs where the peer pressure would help you to produce some consistent writing output. At this point, don’t aim to necessarily write the best quality content; instead just focus on getting the story down as the first draft.
5. Perfect it
As Ernest Hemingway put it (somewhat differently!) “The first draft of anything is always junk.” While this may not always be the case, the first draft of a novel always does require improvement. Spend some time editing the draft for language, flow, logic and general structure. Make any plot fixes or major changes if required. Set it aside for a while, and then read it through objectively. If you have some trusted friends to critique the book, then get their feedback as well. Keep refining and polishing until the novel seems just right.
Once you have your first novel finished, you would have a grasp on the method that works best for you, and the second time around is likely to be easier.
Image credit: Rennett Stowe on flickr and reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://writingtipsoasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/CS_Rajan.jpg [/author_image] [author_info]CS Rajan is a freelance writer who loves to write on various topics, and is currently working on her first novel. [/author_info] [/author]