Do you have a great story in the pipeline but struggling to get the novel started? Or are you simply thinking of starting your novel writing journey from scratch? Regardless of your circumstances, here are 10 tips to start your novel writing journey.
Although it can be thrilling and incredibly fulfilling, writing a novel can also feel like an impossible undertaking at times and lead you to dark depths. Also, you might have missed the National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo, but don’t let that keep you from the joy of creating a story.
Here are 10 tips for getting your novel off to a strong start and feeling confident about your exciting novel-writing journey:
1. Identify and Clearly Define Your Writing Time
If you want to do this, you should treat your writing and yourself respectfully and set up a regular time for writing. Writing a novel is both fascinating and hard work at times. If you aren’t consistent, it will all go away. It’s difficult to hold a novel inside your head so you can get the work done easily and quickly. If you work randomly and take long breaks between sessions, you’ll be fighting an uphill battle and most likely surrender.
What a person means by “regular time to write” varies depending on the individual. It could mean using an hour for writing every afternoon while the baby is asleep or bringing your notebook or laptop on the train to work. You might also be able to do it on Sunday afternoons.
2. Set Realistic Expectations for Writing
Many people start out writing their first draft with a lot of energy, but when they go back and look at it, they realize it’s not matching their expectations, so they just end up deleting everything.
Don’t be too hard on yourself. If you are being taken over by the internal editor too much, you’ll spend all your time deleting what you just wrote and won’t get past the first one or two pages. So just keeping it up and not looking back a lot is a good idea for a while. You should also fix up your writing and make it easier to understand once the entire story is done.
Remember that the greatest novels get made through rewriting, and only a few writers would show the first draft to anyone.
3. Explore New Ideas
Noting down everything in your knowledge about the kind of book you want to write is a good idea. Write down your half-baked ideas and thoughts and explore their extent. Suppose you have a burning question that you want to find the answer to; write it down. If you’re interested in a place, a time period, or a subject, write it down. Through these random notes, ideas will start to take shape.
4. Take It in Relaxed and Small Steps
If the cursor blinking on the white screen scares you, step away from the computer for a while and write in notebooks by hand. If the idea of writing your novel is making you so nervous that you can’t get the words out, try free writing. This means you should give yourself five or ten minutes to write everything down as they come to mind without stopping. This helps you get rid of the filter between your writing hand and your head and gets you ready to write.
This helps you get rid of the filter between your hand and head and gets you ready to write.
Also, prompt writing can help. Just start with an interesting-sounding sentence and let it flow. You can also write short stories based on something you saw, like an interesting picture in the newspaper.
5. Analyze Your Characters
Don’t just think about what your characters do and what they’re named. Think about who they are.
You might want to make character fact files or “mood boards” with pictures that relate to them. You could also put your main characters in hard situations to see how they react. You could also write dialogues so you are able to hear their voices changing.
And try to figure out what drives them. In a book, the characters can’t just be chess pieces that you move around the board based on your plan.
6. Consider As Many Possibilities as You Can
When you think you came up with an interesting character, an interesting opening scene, or the vague outline of a story, ask yourself, “what if?” about your ideas.
As an example: A woman is sitting alone and looking sad at a restaurant. What if an unknown man walks up to her to ask for permission to join at the table? What if the woman doesn’t want that? And what will the guy do when she says no? What if the guy feels like he knows her from somewhere? “What if” questions can lead your writing journey in a way that builds your plot and story.
7. Emphasize Your Structure
Take ample time when thinking about your novel’s structure once you start making some progress with the story and getting words on pages.
Is your story going to last a month, a year, or the rest of your life? – Will it have short chapters or only some long ones that correspond to the years when the story takes place?
Will your story be told by a first-person storyteller who looks back on what happened, or will it take place in the present time?
Are you telling the story in the first person or in the third?
Making important choices about your story’s structure and how it will be told could indeed help get you off on the right foot.
8. Alternate Between Writing and Plotting
When you’re writing the first few pages of your book, I’d suggest that you write and figure out the story’s plot at the same time.
Figuring out your plot will help give your writing focus and direction, but feeling the writing as it comes can help you understand the story in a more visceral or alternative manner. You should be able to use each method to help you with the other.
9. Set Realistic and Attainable Goals
Not everyone likes deadlines and goals, but a lot of us do. You might decide you must write 4,000 words a week or maybe 1,500 words a day.
You might decide you should be done with at least a third of the first draft before Easter, or by the time you go on vacation in the summer, or that you need to finish your first draft by the year’s end.
Think of certain deadlines and goals that you can reach. Setting yourself up in a way that backfires is pointless, so be ready to change and rethink if you need to.
10. Time Spent Thinking is Not Wasted Time
Last, remember that no writer has a good day of writing all the time they try working. If you get stuck and can’t come up with any words, take a break and spend time planning and plotting, or print your progress and read it and fix it. Or you could go read any preferred books to get ideas.
Sometimes, when we’re writing a novel, and things seem to be going well, and we’re getting a lot of words down, we run into a problem. It could mean that there is a discrepancy in the story you need to fix, or it could only mean that your “back brain,” which is where you come up with the story and decide where it goes.
If you get stuck, all you need is time to get out of it. If you have to cut large chunks out, don’t throw them away. Instead, keep them in a safe place. You might still find that they are useful. If you are smart, you will never waste anything.
Hopefully, these amazing 10 tips to start your novel writing journey will assist you with smooth sailing. Happy creative writing.