From the time I was a little girl, writing has always been my escape from reality. Sinking into a great story, a fantastic adventure, is one of the simplest ways to relax, but writing a hit novel can be incredibly taxing on the contentment of the mind. Each word has to mold and weave with its surrounding vocabulary to create a vision worth reading. As a writer myself, I have written a complete novel, and I am currently rewriting another novel as well as multiple works published here and there, and the following tips and tricks are my go-to objectives when it comes to laying out a story and getting it done.
"Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand." George Orwell
1. Have an Idea
To be fair, this seems like the most basic piece of information, but there are plenty times where people right for no other reason than to write a hit novel. It's important to understand that while the current famous novels may be the go-to type of story to produce, it is even more important to put effort into creating the new voice, the new style, and the new story. Create something unlike anything ever read before, and for that, you need an idea, something that is all your own.
2. Form the Idea
A novel is an extensive list of notes and ideals fleshed out into a story involving dungeons and dragons or a martyr. However, in order to get a solid grasp on what it is you’re trying to create, it would behoove you to create some type of outline or brainstorming method to grasp the concept you’re going for and where the plot should be heading. By putting your thoughts in order, it can make it that much easier to stretch it out to create an entire story ready to be read.
3. Pick Your Poison
In the old days, writing was as simple as pencil scratches on a piece of paper or the ever reverent ping of a typewriter. Today, computers have taken up for the non-technological counterpart, but notebooks and pens are always popular. Personally, I choose to handwrite my novel and type as needed – generally two chapters at a time. It keeps me in the write place, gives me the opportunity to edit between drafts, and makes it easier to set a schedule. You do not have to default to Word to get your book written. Find what works best for you and stick with it.
4. Make a Character List
Something like this seems really simple, but once you begin delving into your story, you may find that you have either created too few characters to uphold a story, or you’ve imagined too many characters, so many that they begin to blur together. If the characters mix for you, they will definitely mix for a reader. So, make a list of every character you believe will aid in the story (and you can add to it as necessary), and then check the list and figure out the main players and the ones you can do without. Make it clean, make it clear, and make it understandable.
5. Make a Schedule
Depending on the business of life, you may not get to write every single day. I, myself, do not have the time to work on my novel every hour of every day, but it is important to write whenever possible. If you wanted to, say, write a 300-page novel in three months, you would have to delegate time to create three pages’ worth of story a day to meet your deadline. While possible, this is not entirely feasible if you are a full-time student, full-time employee, or just have a busy life in general. So, make time to write as often as you can. Five hundred words in ten minutes can make the difference between finishing a chapter or not. Find the time, and use it wisely.
6. Keep it Moving
Have you ever read a book that was so utterly boring you could do nothing but put it down? If you have, chances are it was not because of lack of action, but lack of movement within the story. If you write a chapter that bores you or seems to stretch a bit too much, find a way to cut it back and move on to the next plot item. It builds interest and holds a reader’s attention because the mind constantly has something to engage with.
7. Don’t Fear Your Peers
Never be afraid to write what you want. Because if you don’t write it, who will? Don’t worry about what is big on the market when you are creating your masterpiece. Worry about what you want to create and what you want a reader to get out of your work. Chances are, if it is a little off the current famous topics, someone else will be just as interested as you are. Don’t be tempted to write a famous vampire novel because that is what is big in the publishing industry now. You’re writing a novel, and no one wants redundancy.
8. Edit, Edit, and Edit Some More
Editing is the bane of my existence. Truly. I despise editing. It’s boring, nerve wracking, timely, and extremely redundant, but it has to be done to aid the creation of a novel. Mistakes can make or break your career as an author, and if you can get some helping hands on the project, definitely do so. There are great freelance editors that would be more than happy to take a look at your novel. Though it may cost money, I can guarantee it is an investment that will be returned. I have two editors. They are some of the most amazing and intelligent people I know, and I am so blessed to have them on board. Make sure you find someone willing to work with you to perfect your art.
9. Keep a Pocket Notebook
Earlier, I spoke of the utensils you can utilize to write your novel. Another important utensil is a small notebook you can carry with you every single day. This is important because, even if you cannot write your story every day, there is a huge possibility inspiration may strike when you least expect it. By keeping a small notebook, you can write any ideas that seem to pop out of nowhere so you can keep them handy and, hopefully, use them in your novel to make it even better.
10. When it Come to Publishing, Read Everything
Alright, you’ve written your novel. It’s been edited, and you are so proud of what you have created. Well, now you may want to consider submitting it to publishers. First and foremost, do your research! Find a publisher that fits your style and read everything you can, especially the submission guidelines. One unfollowed rule can be what determines whether your novel gets picked up or not. Every publisher has different guidelines, different document styles, different things they want from you. Make sure you understand exactly what they want, where to send it, and how to get to the publisher.
Now, you have been given my top 10 tips for writing a novel. I hope these tips are helpful to you, and I wish you well with your project.
Happy reading and happy writing!