Writing Your Novel - An Overview
My day is filled with fleeting story ideas. Just as natural as drinking water, my brain constantly produces new story ideas from the smallest prompt from a conversation, an image, or something as mundane as seeing someone walk by. Unfortunately, 99% of those ideas aren’t winners, and 99.9% won’t paint the blank screen with stories of intrigue and ancient secrets. For the small amount that makes it into my story journal, what should I do with them? I’ve reached the point where ignoring them doesn’t work; my brain is bursting at the seams with tiny characters, time travel theories, and superhero origin stories.
So let’s bring these stories to life. For those that feel the same, let’s break down the writing process:
1. Start with an idea: Consider your novel’s central concept or theme. What story do you want to tell? What lessons underline your story arc? Consider exploring different genres, settings, and characters.
2. Develop your characters: Create compelling and believable characters that readers can connect with. Develop their backgrounds, personalities, goals, and conflicts. Remember that even secondary characters should feel authentic.
3. Outline your plot: Plan your story’s significant events, conflicts, and turning points. An outline can serve as your roadmap, helping you maintain a cohesive narrative structure.
4. Establish the setting: Build a vivid and immersive world for your readers. Describe the physical environment, culture, and atmosphere to make it come alive.
5. Write regularly: Set aside dedicated time for writing and establish a writing routine. Consistency is critical to making progress on your novel.
6. Show, don't tell: Engage your readers by demonstrating emotions, actions, and sensory details rather than simply stating them. This allows readers to experience the story firsthand.
7. Edit and revise: Writing is a process of refinement. After completing a draft, review and change it multiple times. Pay attention to pacing, character development, dialogue, and overall coherence.
8. Seek feedback: Share your work with beta readers or writing groups to gather constructive criticism. Feedback from others can help you identify blind spots and improve your novel.
9. Read widely: Explore books within your genre and beyond. Studying successful authors can provide insights into storytelling techniques, character development, and writing style.
10. Persist and persevere: Writing a novel is a marathon, not a sprint. Stay motivated, even during challenging times. Remember that bestselling authors often face rejection before achieving success.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll post more about each point, but for now, remember rule 5, write regularly. Set a time to write, pause distractions, and fill your page. Try and focus on your book, but if you trip on writer’s block, write anything and everything during your scheduled time.