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!