5 Steps for Writing Your First Novel, Without It Killing You.
Have you ever dreamed of writing a novel, but didn’t know where to start? Writing a novel can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. In this blog post, I will share with you 5 steps that can help you plan, write and finish your novel.
Step 1: Choose your genre and audience
The first step to writing a novel is to decide what kind of story you want to tell and who you want to tell it to.
Genre is the category of fiction that your novel belongs to, such as horror, romance, fantasy, thriller, etc. Your audience is the specific group of readers that your novel is intended for, such as children, young adults, adults, etc.
Choosing your genre and audience will help you shape your plot, characters and tone.
Step 2: Outline your plot
The second step to writing a novel is to outline your plot.
Plot is the sequence of events that make up your story. Outlining your plot will help you organize your ideas and avoid writer’s block. You can use different methods to outline your plot, such as bullet points, mind maps, index cards, etc.
The main elements of a plot are:
- The hook: The opening scene that grabs the reader’s attention and introduces the main conflict.
- The rising action: The series of events that build up the tension and lead to the climax.
- The climax: The turning point of the story where the main conflict is resolved or intensified.
- The falling action: The series of events that follow the climax and show the consequences of the resolution or escalation.
- The resolution: The final scene that wraps up the story and gives a sense of closure.
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at the typewriter and bleed.”— Ernest Hemingway
Step 3: Develop your characters
The third step to writing a novel is to develop your characters.
Characters are the people who populate your story and drive the action. Developing your characters will help you create realistic and relatable personalities that will engage the reader.
You can use different methods to develop your characters, such as character sketches, interviews, profiles, etc. The main aspects of a character are:
- The name: The name that identifies your character and reflects their personality or background.
- The appearance: The physical traits that describe how your character looks like.
- The personality: The psychological traits that describe how your character thinks, feels and behaves.
- The motivation: The reason why your character does what they do and what they want to achieve.
- The backstory: The history and background of your character that explain their past experiences and influences.
- The role: The function or purpose of your character in the story, such as protagonist, antagonist, sidekick, etc.
Step 4: Write your first draft
The fourth step to writing a novel is to write your first draft.
A first draft is the rough version of your novel that you write without worrying about grammar, spelling or style. Writing your first draft will help you get your ideas on paper and see how they work together.
You can use different strategies to write your first draft, such as:
- Write every day: Set a daily goal for yourself and stick to it. It can be a number of words, pages or hours.
- Write in scenes: Break down your plot into smaller units of action and write them one by one.
- Write out of order: Write the scenes that you feel most inspired by first and then fill in the gaps later.
- Write without editing: Don’t stop to correct or revise anything while you write. Just keep going until you finish.
Step 5: Revise and edit
The fifth and final step to writing a novel is to revise and edit your novel.
Revising and editing are the processes of improving your novel by making changes to its content, structure and style. Revising and editing will help you polish your novel and until it is ready for publication or submission.
You can use different tools and techniques to revise and edit your novel, such as:
- Read aloud: Read your novel aloud or have someone else read it to you. This will help you catch errors and inconsistencies that you might miss otherwise.
- Get feedback: Ask for feedback from other writers or readers who can give you honest and constructive criticism. This will help you identify strengths and weaknesses in your novel and get new perspectives.
- Use software: Use software programs or apps that can help you check for grammar, spelling, punctuation or readability
- If possible, you may also want to hire a professional editor or proof-reader to help you with this final step.
Congratulations! You have written a novel! Now you can celebrate your achievement and share your work with the world!
© Colin Lawson Books