How to Write a Novel

A Step-By-Step Guide on How to Write a Novel

Writing a novel may seem like an impossible feat, but if you take it one step at a time, you can absolutely do it.

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Do you have a creative mind that needs an outlet? Do you want to try your hand at writing stories? If you answered yes to any of those questions, the only thing holding you back from writing a book is yourself. Here is a complete step-by-step guide on how to write a novel.

Avoid Writing an Outline

You may be tempted to write an outline before you even start writing the book. This may work well for some people, but for most, it will hold you back creatively. Don't set parameters for yourself before you even start writing the book. By creating an outline, you will stress yourself out over following the outline instead of following your creative ideas. Avoid writing an outline at first, but once you get into your book, you can create a loose outline for the rest of your novel.

Find a Setting

The setting of your novel will help shape the entire story. You cannot write a story without first establishing the setting. Once you've determined where your story will take place, you will be able to visualize the details much easier. With a setting in place, other details of your novel will become apparent for you and new ideas will start to flow.

Determine the Point of View

After establishing the setting, you'll want to determine the point of view from which you'll be writing. Do you want the novel to be written in first person or third person? If you write in first person, the narrator will generally be the main character of the book. Everything will be seen through this character's eyes (although first person can change from character to character throughout). If you write in first person, determine who the characters will be that you write as. If you write in third person, you could write more as an observer of the story, or an uninvolved narrator who has no bias towards the characters.

Decide on a Protagonist for Your Story

Most novels have a protagonist or a character that people can root for. For example, Harry Potter is a famous protagonist. Your protagonist does not (and should not) be a perfect character but should have traits that people root for and enjoy. If your protagonist is completely unlikeable, your novel won't be enjoyable for readers. Your protagonist can even be an anti-hero, someone who isn't necessarily good but is still someone to root for. Once you determine a protagonist, you can start coming up with a plot.

Write in Fragments 

Novels are hardly ever written from front to back in exact order. There will be days where you may feel inspired to write about a specific character or a specific setting. Follow those inspirations and write those pages, no matter how out of order your writing may be. It will all fit together and come together more quickly and naturally. Forcing yourself to write in order can slow the process and make writing feel like a chore at times. Here are some more tips on how to write a novel fast.

Create a Plot

Your plot should cover broad areas such as setting (which you should have established), main characters, main conflicts, and what the stakes will be. Creating a plot is time-consuming, but make sure you don't get too detailed here. As long as you have a general overview of what the story will be like, the details will fall in place as you're writing the novel.

Come Up With a Deadline

Having a deadline is important because it gives you a concrete goal to work towards. You can look at a deadline and determine how much you should write per day or per week to hit that goal. However, it's important to be lenient with a deadline. While it's an important goal to have, you should never force yourself to speed write or write when you aren't feeling inspired. Be forgiving with yourself if you have days where you aren't feeling creative or you're not in the mood to write. Other days where you're feeling extra creative will make up for bad days.

Research What You Don't Know

If you're writing a novel, you'll probably incorporate a lot of things you are familiar with such as a specific setting or type of person. But there will also be times where you'll have to write about things you know very little about. Instead of writing away and not thinking twice about these things, you need to do thorough research on them. Learn everything you can about the things you are writing so you become an expert on it. This will make your novel feel much more real and readers will appreciate how much you know about everything you write.

Have Someone Else Read It

Once you're finished writing, you'll need someone you trust to read the novel. Try to avoid having a significant other or a close family member read it because they may be less willing to give you constructive criticism. Instead, find a friend or an acquaintance who knows a lot about English and literature, and have them give you helpful feedback. From there, you can review the feedback and make changes as you feel necessary. Once you're happy with your novel, it's time to start looking for publishers, or you can self-publish on your own!

Learning how to write a novel may seem daunting, but once you break it down into manageable steps, you'll see it's possible for you to achieve. So now that you know what to do, get to writing your novel!

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You'll Know That You Chose The Right Major When You Have These 5 Realizations

Loving what you do makes life a million times better.

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My whole life, I've always known what I've wanted to be: a teacher. I came into college as an English major with an interest in high school education. I wasn't too sure if I was going to stick with it, but since I had been good at English throughout high school, I decided to try it. After almost a year of being an English (and now officially accepted into the English Ed) major, I can honestly say that I love my life.

I am turning into the epitome of English major, and I am NOT mad about it. I thrive on coffee and good books, I read for fun, and I edit other peoples' papers with joy. I type papers with Jane the Virgin-esque gusto, and I feel utter glee when I complete a critical essay I am proud of. A fun Saturday would honestly be me in a hammock on the quad reading a book all day long.

That being said, I know a lot of people come into college undecided. Many others also come into college with a major they're not passionate about, and stick with it because of the money they'll make in the future. Here are X reasons why loving your major is more important than making lots of money.

1. Doing homework doesn't feel like a chore

All throughout high school, homework was extremely difficult, because I was doing homework every night for 7 different classes, over half of which I didn't even enjoy being in. Now that I'm in college, I don't have nearly as taxing of a load. The work itself is of a higher caliber, but I am in more classes that I truly enjoy, so doing the homework for those classes isn't as horrible. Deadlines and projects still weigh me down, just as they have before, but now, when I finally sit down and focus on my work, I am actually interested in what I am doing. As a result, my homework, papers, and projects also turn out to be higher quality, since I am not bored out of my skull when doing them.

2. Thinking about your future causes joy, not extreme anxiety

When I imagine teaching about literature, I feel a glow in my heart. I think about how my classroom will look, how I will engage with my students, what books I will teach, and what my life will be like in general. No lie, I even have an Instagram folder of saved photos of outfits I want to wear when I am a teacher. I am truly ecstatic about my future, and I know that the pay isn't great, but I also know that I will be happy and doing a job that I love. Granted, all jobs have their ups and downs, but as long as the passion is still there, you know you are on the right track.

So, find what you're passionate about, and stick with it. When there are passion and love in your life, other things will work themselves out. Don't spend the rest of your college education (and tuition) doing something you truly dislike, just for the financial gain in the end. We only get one life, and our quality of life truly matters. So give yourself a good future by testing the waters, finding what you love, and running with it.

3. You feel more engaged when you're actually in class

Currently, I am in a class titled Survey of American Literature. We read literature from the early 1600s all the way to the present. Are the texts we read sometimes drier than the Sahara desert? yes. Are the assignments sometimes overwhelming? Also yes. However, every Monday and Wednesday, I still get excited to go to that class and discuss what I read. Truthfully, it's the highlight of my week, because I am able to translate old literature into present learning experiences and connect my life to lives that left us long ago. Being in class, I am not bored, or doodling, or disengaged. I am present, and I am actually learning. Finding a major that you're passionate about will turn gloomy, dreary days into engaging, intellectual adventures, trust me.

4. You bond with the faculty more

Since I am in a major I love, I don't mind doing extra things within the major. I meet with advisors, join extracurricular clubs within the department, and volunteer in the department when needed. All this extra work, with me making my face known within the department, truly helps open up opportunities for me. Last semester, I was offered the opportunity to present some research on Honors within the English major — as a first-semester freshman!! By bonding with the faculty more as a result of my involvement within the community, I have opened up many doors for myself in regards to leadership and activism, and I can't wait to meet more faculty as I go along.

5. Literally, you will be doing this for the rest of your life

The fact of the matter is, this is your future. What you choose in college does matter, because it impacts the job opportunities which you are able to take on in the real world. Choosing a major immediately is not necessary, by any means. In fact, I encourage incoming college freshmen to test the waters a bit. Take classes you wouldn't normally take, complete those general education courses, and find what you truly feel passionate about. When you're in the right major, time truly flies. I cannot believe that 1/4th of my college career is almost over, but I am glad that I found what I love, and I can't wait to see what the future holds for me within this major.

So to my fellow students: allow yourself to be open to the idea of change. Don't get stuck in a mindset that college is just training for your future job and the degree will help you earn more. College is about much more than that and can be an amazing experience with the right major. Earning less but being happy is much more important than earning tons and hating your job. Find your passion, and stick with it! The rest will all fall in place.

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3 Ways to Save Money on Utilities During Winter

As college students or young adults, we're always looking for ways to save some extra money each month. Here's how you can keep your house warm without spending a fortune on heating this winter.

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Don't leave your heater blasting for the next two months and pay a ton of money to the utility company. Here are three ways to keep warm and save money.

Make Sure Your Heating System Is Performing Optimally

Your heating system is what will keep your house warm throughout the winter months, but don't pay a ton of extra money because your system is working harder to heat your home. If your heating system is working at its best, it will save you a ton of money during the winter. If you think your system isn't working properly, you can have professionals come out and take a look.

Keep Your Home Insulated

Insulation helps to keep your home warm without using extra heat. By keeping your home insulated, you can save a fortune on utilities because your heating system will be doing a lot less heating. If you don't want to pay for insulation, you can do small things around the house to keep it warmer. Keep the curtains closed all the time to hold in heat. Have the fans turn the opposite way to circulate warm air. These small things can really make a difference.

Bundle Up

Instead of jumping straight to turn the heater on when it gets a bit cold in your home, bundle up with a sweater, sweatpants, and a blanket first. Keep yourself warm using comfy clothing instead of paying money to heat your home. You'll still feel just as toasty, and you'll see a big drop in your monthly utility bill from not using the heater as much.

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