So you want to complete a novel?
Writing a novel is a long process and many people get lost along the way. In order to complete this process follow these 12 simple steps. By having a structure to follow you will not only complete your novel but have fun at the same time.
12 steps to your novel
- Step one is to create a work space. Decide where you will write your novel and develop the space to maximise your concentration and imagination. You could be working in a home office, your work office on a lunch break or a mobile device as you travel. Look at the environment you are going to work in and ask yourself how you feel in that environment. Are you focused and motivated to get to work. If not, why not.
- Step two is about scheduling your work sessions. A big reason a lot of people never complete their novel is that they allow the days to pass by and never quite get around to writing. Decide when in the day writing will happen, even if you can only spare twenty minutes. Commit to this time and show up for it like you would to any other important commitment in your life.
- Step three is a very simple step. Your novel must have a beginning, middle and end. Don’t start off writing reams of words relating to a beginning or specific part of the novel until you know the progression of the story. Writers have many thoughts and ideas every day, if you try and follow all of them you will get lost. Have a basic idea before you start writing so you can filter out the ideas that are going to help you accomplish your goal.
- Step four builds on step three. Flesh out your plot. Use diagrams and notes to build on your basic plot. It is as important as writing the actual text to spend time working on the detailed plot breakdown. This gives your time and writing a sure direction to go in.
- Step five is to set your imagination free. Certainly tight prose is where you want your writing to end up. However that prose will be fairly bland if you haven’t spent time on the imaginative process. Use the technique of writing ideas down in a raw form. Write short, unpunctuated sentences to develop ideas about conversations or character’s thoughts. This process sets you up for writing your prose.
- Step six is to add realism to your characters. Create a written “sketch” of people you know or see in the world around you. What kind of physical characteristics do people have? Their manner and speech are all forming individual portraits. If your own characters don’t have these attributes they will not seem real.
- Step seven is to write back stories for all your characters. The back story may never be fully revealed in the eventual novel but you have to know these people fully in order to bring them to life. Characters without back stories come across as one dimensional.
- Step eight is to develop an idea of what your character wears on a daily basis. This adds another layer of reality to your work.
- Step nine returns to your plotting process. To take this to the next level you need to have the novel plotted scene by scene. You now know exactly what will happen and in what order.
- Step ten is concerned with creating a rough draft of your novel. Rather than going through your scene plan and trying to make everything perfect allow yourself to move quickly through the scenes and create a draft. You will make many drafts in order to complete your novel. They will slowly approach the perfect end product you are seeking. Trying to write the project straight off will cause problems.
- Step eleven is to complete your final draft and give yourself time to read through it. Many people find that after they finish their novel they are too involved with the text to assess it properly. Take as long as you need before you start editing.
- Step twelve is to get others to read your work! Show it to friends and family and balance feedback with your own thoughts on what the book should be.
Now you’re ready to find a publisher!