Hi, it’s Peter here again from Writer’s Life and coming up today – essential book writing tips for beginner writers.
If you’ve never even come close to attempting to write a book before, even the idea of doing so can seem utterly overwhelming. It may be that you have some writing experience, have written some sorts of pieces for pleasure now and again, or have just been struck with a brilliant idea for a book or an urge to do it, but have no writing experience at all.
Whatever stage you are at and how ever used to writing you are, actually making that move to start writing a novel is a huge commitment and often people can be at a loss not knowing where to start.
However, writing a novel, though hard work, doesn’t have to be an overwhelmingly complicated process. Follow these straightforward tips and not only will you find yourself clear on how to get started but also armed with the know how to finish it too. Here are some essential book writing tips for beginner writers.
First, what is your book about? Our books need to be about something. What’s yours about?Have a clear idea of your story, who your characters are, what’s going to happen in your book before you begin. Just a single idea won’t get you very far, so you need to sit down and work out the details before you start writing. If you don’t you might find your great idea doesn’t go anywhere.
Next, writing the chapter outlines. Once you have a clear idea of your story, write chapter outlines to give yourself a firm idea of what you are going to write. Chapter outlines will provide you with the confidence to know that your story has enough meat to turn it into a book.
Next, create deadlines. You need to set yourself realistic and achievable deadlines for writing your book. Break them down. It’s a manageable bite-size choice, to help make them feel less impossible. Figure out a rough workout total for your book. Sixty to eighty thousand words is about right for a first fiction novel, and then set a weekly word count goal that you know you can stick to.
Next, create a writing schedule. Once you know your deadlines, create a writing schedule that you know you can stick to. Be ambitious but don’t push yourself to the points where you can’t get the work done you only end up feeling disappointed and be more likely to give up writing. At the same time, in the same place can help you to create a routine and immerse in writing so it’s a part of your everyday life.
Next, get feedback before you finish. Don’t wait until you’ve painstakingly written the entire manuscript before you get anyone to look at it. They’ll likely come back with so many questions notes and comments that you’ll feel like you have to start it all over again. Someone who knows what they’re talking about and isn’t afraid to be critical to look at your work early on can make all the difference.
Next, learn about the publishing process. Decide whether you’re going to try to get an agent or publisher to take on your book or if you’re going to self publish and then dedicate some time to learning everything you can about the publishing process.
If you’re serious about your book becoming a success it’s important to know exactly where the opportunities lie and what you need to do to give your book the very best chance.
Next, don’t aim for perfection. Your book isn’t going to feel perfect when it’s finished, so don’t hold on to that idea of perfection and use it as an excuse to put your book in a drawer and forget about it.
If you don’t land a traditional publishing deal then you can self publish. Don’t spend all that time and energy on your book and not do anything with it at the end.
Our final tip is a write another one. Many writers don’t experience success the first time around. In fact many don’t experience it the second third or fourth time either. However, you’ll have learnt so much from writing the first book, now you owe it to yourself to take those lessons and write another even better one.
Writing a book does take time and dedication but it doesn’t have to be too complicated. Use these simple tips for beginners to get you started. Stay on track and see it through to the end and don’t forget, if you’re struggling to write or finish your book, our free writer’s tool kit can help with it.
You’ll learn how to overcome procrastination, get organized, stay focused, find time to write and finally, your book published. To get access now while it’s still available, simply go to writerslife.org/toolkit. Be sure to give us the thumbs up and subscribe to our channel for more. My name’s Peter and I’ll see you next time.
Hello there, it’s Peter here again from Writer’sLive and coming up today – practical writing tips you can actually use.
There are so many different pieces of advice when it comes to writing. Some you’ll find useful, some you won’t. When it comes to writing tips, every writer is different and not all pieces of advice will be helpful to them or fit in with what they are trying to say or do.
Sometimes the most practical and straightforward advice is the best. These tips should resonate with all writers, give them food for thought and can apply to any kind of writing, so let’s take a look at them.
First, say something. Whatever kind of writing you’re into, you need to have something to say. Take a step back and think about what your message is, what your point is what, you’re trying to get across.
What’s your confidence of that? You’ll have the essence of your story or article and can build everything else around that.
Next, use short sentences and simple language. It’s so tempting to show your readers what an enormous brain you have and to use all the big and smart words you know to demonstrate them but it’s important to realize that’s not the way to impress your readers.
Be inclusive. Keep things simple the most intelligent writing will be able to create an impression without making their readers reach for the dictionary.
Next, get detailed. Be specific and use detail to build a picture in your readers mind. The more clever and arresting information you include, the more readers will feel they know your characters and the world they live in.
Next, use the active voice. We know you’ve heard it all before but using the act voice makes your writing more present and readers have a better connection to the words. So try, where you can to, use the active voice at all times.
Next, break up your text. Even in fiction writing massive chunks of texts can make a readers eyes glaze lays over. If you’re writing a story, breakup text into short paragraphs and use dialogue.
Articles can be broken down into smaller chunks of text and devices such as a bullet lists and fact boxes can help too.
Next, don’t overwrite. Good writing is where a writer’s ego stays out of it. If you put your readers first and thinking about what they need to know and what will give them a better more meaningful understanding of what is going on, you’ll find the instances where you overwrite will really stand out. Stop rambling. Stop trying to sound smart and merely say what you are trying to say.
Next, become a brutal editor. Eliminate what you don’t need. Become eagle-eyed at spotting mistakes. Read your work through the eyes of a critical reader and remember to keep that ego at bay. These tips will help make your writing sharper, more accessible and more readable, so why not try applying them to your writing projects today?
Hello and welcome back to my channel. If you don’t know who I am, I’m Britt Poe. I am an author and a writing a business coach for creative writers and authors alike. Today I’m gonna be talking about how to outline your novel using my absolute favorite method, the snowflake method.
So before I get into the how-to, I wanted to share a little bit of background. In the writing world there are two sort of sides when it comes to planning a novel. There are plotters, the ones who plan everything and set them out before they start writing, and then there are Pantsers, those who sort of just take their idea and go with it with really no structured plan on where they’re going.
In my writing practice, I’ve literally been all over the board with my writing and my planning techniques. I’ve tried so hard just to find something that really clicked with my creative process and ended up really uninspired with a lot of different methods to outlining, which then left my manuscript suffering because I was just uninspired and an uninspired writer is probably not the best kind of writer.
So when I heard about the snowflake method, I decided to give it a go and I am just loving the amazingness of the snowflake method. It works so well with my finger in my creative process and it really helps me get an outline down and completed, so that I can actually start writing that first draft.
The snowflake method is an approach to writing developed by a guy named Randy Inger Mason. I will link to his website below where he really goes into tons of detail about the snowflake method himself but in all this method is composed of ten steps.
The goal is to have an extensive outline filled with everything that you need for your plot and for your characters in order to write your novel. Something about the way that this method is structured just really jives with me and my process. So now I’m gonna tell you how you guys can do it yourself.
Step one of the ten steps of the snowflake method is to write a one sentence summary of your novel. This is the hardest part for me because something about having to fit all of the ideas in my head about the novel into one little sentence. It’s kind of tedious and excruciating for me, but yeah, I did it.
So you’re gonna challenge yourself to write one sentence to explain the plot of your book. The idea is to make this about 15 to 20 words. To avoid any running on, or rambling, and you really want to just get straight to the point. So I’m gonna share a couple tips with you guys to make this a little easier.
Tip number one is don’t use your characters names. It’s much better to say something like ‘a young wizard’ versus saying ‘Harry Potter’.
Tip number two is that you’re going to want to tie in the big picture, idea or goal of your novel with the personal goal of your protagonist or main character.
The thing to think about is which of my characters has the most to lose and why is it that they want to win? The third tip is something that really really helped me when I was doing my one sentence summary and that is to go and read the one-liners on the New York Times bestseller list.
It’ll give you a feel on how other people do this and how you can also use that strategy and use that structure to write your own one sentence summary.
Step number two is to expand that sentence into a full paragraph. This is where you will start planting the seeds for your plot. This paragraph will summarize the entire book, including the ending. There is a general structure that you’re going to want to follow for this paragraph.
Sentence 1 needs to be the backdrop to your story, where is it taking place and who is your character.
Sentence 2 is going to be a summary of the first quarter of your book, which leads up to the first disaster.
Sentence 3 will be a summary of the second quarter of your book leading up to the second disaster.
Sentence 4 will be a summary of the third quarter of your book leading up to the third disaster and …
Sentence 5 will be a summary of the fourth quarter of your book leading up to the conclusion.
Step number three is to write a one page summary of each character in your book. Here you’re going to want to know their name. You’re going to want to have a one sentence summary of the character’s storyline, know their motivation and their goals.
You’re going to want to know what conflicts that they’re facing and if the character has an epiphany, or basically what they will learn, or how they will change throughout your book. And then you’re going to want to write a one paragraph summary of the character’s storyline.
Step number four is to expand each sentence in your one paragraph summary to one page. This step is where they start to take a little bit longer than the previous steps, because here you will be expanding each of your plot points in the previous step.
To do this you’re going to take each sentence in your paragraph and expand that into its own paragraph. I have an example on how to do this on the blog post version of this video if you need a more visual instruction on how to do this. I will link the blog post in the description of this so you can go check that out when you are done watching.
Step number five is to write the synopsis from the POV of your characters. You’re gonna be focusing more on only the main characters of your novel here, but this is a really important step for me because it allows me to get into the head of my characters and find their voice. You’ll also be able to discover really useful things like what this character is doing, when it’s not actually present in a chapter of your novel.
Step number six is to expand each paragraph from your one page summary to a page. This is where you’ll start to get a grip on the high level logic of your main plot points. So just like we expanded each sentence into its own paragraph, now you’re going to expand each paragraph into its own page. Feel free to add as many details as you want here just make sure that it doesn’t go over a page, so that this this part of the outline doesn’t get too out of hand.
Step number seven is to create character charts of each of your characters. If you’re interested on getting your hands on the same character chart that I use in my writing, I have a free template available on my website. I will link that below as well and you are free to download it and use it for your own writing. The basic things that you want to focus on your charts are:
Step number eight is to make a spreadsheet outline of each scene based on your four page summary that you did above. So this step is very time-consuming I’m going to admit, but it is very, very important and so helpful for me at least, when I start the actual writing process.
So what you’re going to want to do is take each paragraph from the summary and brainstorm all of the scenes that are necessary to tell that part of the story. Then you’re going to want to get your favorite spreadsheet system out and then get one line for each sentence detailing the chapter number.
The POV, the setting, the date or timeline, as well as which characters are involved and a little description of what happens in that chapter. On my website attached to the blog version of this post I am offering up a free template of my snowflake outline Trello board, which is where I personally create all of my outlines and go through the snowflake outlining process.
It’s my centralized hub for all of my book information and so if you download the Trello board you’ll also get a copy of my same spreadsheet completely for free. It’s attached on the troll board itself. Also something to remember here is that even though everything has already been planned out, by the time that you write, you can diverge from your outline if your characters or your stories start pulling you in a different direction as you write.
If you’re like me, that tends to happen quite frequently, but just know that it’s super easy to go back to the spreadsheet and edit what you need to edit or add a line wherever you need to add it.
Step number nine is to write a narrative summary of each scene. I’m gonna admit that I do not write a full narrative summary for every single scene. Instead, what I like to do is on my scene card inside of Trello, I just like to go in there, and if I have snippets of dialogue, or setting ideas, or just all of the things floating inside of my head about that scene, then I’ll just type it up really quick in the Trello card.
When I do write that scene, I can just open it up and remember ‘oh yeah, this is where, you know, I wanted them to be here, or this is where I wanted them to have this conversation.’ Add things like that.
The final step, step number ten is just to write your book. By this point you should know what’s happening in each scene and where each character is development wise. It’s a great time to get that first draft down on paper.
This is where I print out all of my character descriptions and my spreadsheets and I slop them into my handy-dandy binder for easy reference. Now you might have noticed that this outline process is kind of labor-intensive and it can take a long time if you allow it to.
I was able to get steps one through nine of the snowflake method completed for my WIP and ten hours spread over the course of a couple weeks, but once you get all this detail right now and available to you it just becomes so much easier to crank out that first draft.
So if you would like a copy of my snowflake outlining Trello board it’s hop on over to the blog version of this video. I will link it in the description below. You’ll also be able to get my free spreadsheet complete there as well as my character charts.
Let me know if this method sounds like something that you’re interested in trying or if you have tried it before and what your thoughts about it are. If you like this video please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel, because every single week I’m releasing more videos just like this about writing and the business side of being an author. I look forward to you guys next time – bye.
Most everyone writes according to a process, even if we sometimes don’t realise it! There are a few who seem to write by the seats of their pants (Pantsers), but most of us need a novel writing process to guide us long the way to a successful novel.
Probably one of the most valuable novel writing tips for beginners is to follow a structure for outlining and writing. There are many out there, such as the Snowflake Method, and others that have been adapted by writers of all levels to suit their own particular needs and writing style.
The first video presents a quite detailed plan for writing a structured novel or book, with useful tips for much-needed discipline. The second addresses the problem of motivation – something which affects us all. The presentation is refreshing because it offers various ideas for overcoming writer’s block and the dreaded feeling of ‘I am not a writer!’
A Working Novel Writing Process – Advice For Beginners
Heya, book nerds! I’m Meg LaTorre, and on this episode of iWriterly, I thought we’d do something a little different. A lot of you have been asking about the adult fantasy manuscript I’m currently querying and my writing process. So I thought I’d give you a glimpse into my brain’s hard-wiring.
It’s also rather timely, as I’m about to launch into a new project. Keep in mind, every writer has their own unique process. This is just what I’ve found works for me.
Step 1: The idea Usually an idea will crop up during everyday life, and I’ll mull it over in my mind for a few days or weeks and jot down notes as I think of them.
Eventually, the idea either blossoms into a full-fledged story or withers and dies a painful death. … Not really.
Step 2: The plot outline If a story makes it past the idea phase, I’ll then write a plot outline. I really like Vivien Reis’ outline video, which I’ve referenced before in my past videos. To learn more about plot outlining, be sure to check that out. I’ll leave a link in the description below.
Step 3: The character outline I’ll usually write an outline for the main cast of characters, including their physical description, the desire(s) that drive them throughout the story, weaknesses or shortcomings of their characters, and their role in the plot.
This is how I get to know the characters, and it’s extremely helpful for me to reference this outline as I’m writing the story.
Step 4: The chapter-by-chapter outline In case you’re not starting to sense a theme, I love outlines.
At this point, I’ll do the math for my target word count. If I’m aiming for 90,000 words–and there’s an average of 250 words per page and 10-15 pages per chapter–I’ll approximate how many chapters I’ll have in the book.
I’ll write out what’s going to happen in every chapter and try to plan the inciting incident, plot arc, character development, resolution, and so on.
Step 5: Drafting + editing + outside feedback Unlike most writers, I like to get outside feedback on my work as I’m writing and edit as I go. This way, if there are any structural or plot issues, I’ll hopefully discover them early-on. I’ll usually write the first fourth of my book before I start sharing with critique partners.
Step 6: Re-write the chapter-by-chapter outline In this step, I will try to incorporate any changes I made from the original outline.
In the outline, I’ll write not just what happened during that chapter, but what world-building and character development took place. During this rewrite, I’ll usually notice parts of the story where there are plot holes or scenes that need to be added or removed. I’ll also note if there is too much or not enough world-building.
Step 7: Self-editing Once I’ve drafted the entire manuscript and rewritten the chapter-by-chapter outline with the changes I want to make, I will edit the entire novel on my own.
Step 8: Get feedback from critique partners and beta readers. At this point, I’ll start sharing my manuscript with people in bulk–either the full manuscript or chunks of the book (depending on that person’s personality/editing style). On average, I work with 10-20 critique partners and beta readers per manuscript.
Step 9: Edit + get more feedback. Once I’ve received feedback from my critique partners and beta readers, I’ll assess if there are any themes on people’s feedback, what feedback I agree will improve the story, if I need to make any big structural changes, and edit the whole manuscript again. *Note that I don’t incorporate every piece of feedback I get.
Once I’ve made changes, I’ll share my manuscript with critique partners and beta readers and the process will start all over again.
Step 10: Write a synopsis and query. Once I feel my manuscript is as good as I can possibly make it on my own, I’ll write a two-page synopsis and one-page query letter. For this part, I not only share both documents with critique partners and beta readers, but I’ll also hire freelance editors to make sure I have objectively summarized my story and nailed my pitch.
Thanks for tuning into this episode on iWriterly on my writing process. If you liked what you saw, give the video a thumbs up. It lets me know you like this type of content and want more. If you’re new here, welcome!
Consider subscribing. I post writing-related videos every Wednesday. If you have questions about anything we covered today, leave those in the comments below. As always, KEEP WRITING!
You may have heard some variation on this quote before: “Write a million words— the absolute best you can write, then throw it all away and bravely turn your back on what you have written. At that point, you’re ready to begin.”
All writers want to attain that level of mastery, but reaching the million-word mark seems like a daunting task, especially if you have problems with motivation. Maybe you have countless ideas floating around in your head, yet feel paralyzed when trying to put your imaginings into words. The root of the problem is perfectionism.
Sometimes we’re so in love with our stories that we want them to be born into the world as perfect beings. But that’s what prevents writers from moving from the imagining stage to the creating stage. You have to get used to ugly babies.
Give yourself permission to write CRAP. But this brings us to another problem: We all know we’re supposed to write every day, but we don’t do it! We waste time watching TV or daydreaming instead. So how do we FORCE ourselves to write? Here are six tips on how to do just that.
Number one: Establish a Routine. Writing at the same time and in the same place every day will help you develop good habits. Maybe you write in bed when you first wake up, or at the café you visit during your lunch hour, or at the library between classes.
As much as night owls hate to hear it, the morning is the best time to write. Why? Because humans love to procrastinate. Waiting until the evening leaves more room for excuses. Don’t fall into that trap.
Try gradually setting your alarm earlier each day until you’re waking up an hour earlier than usual, then use that time to WRITE first thing in the morning. Avoid checking your email or thinking about what else you have to do later that day.
In addition, don’t research while you’re writing. This time is for pure word-count generation only. Here’s another productivity trick: Write everywhere. On the bus, standing in line, or waiting for dinner to come out of the oven.
If you like the feel of old-fashioned pencil and paper, start carrying around a small notebook. Use note-taking apps to jot down ideas or short descriptions. There are so many short stretches of time that we waste in a day by checking Facebook or browsing Reddit.
By making writing as integral to your daily routine as sleeping or eating, you will develop good habits, and your future self will thank you.
Number two: Eliminate distractions, such as the Internet. You may be tempted to find the perfect synonym or Google pressing questions. What you need is Self-Control. Self-Control is a free app for Mac that allows you to block certain websites for a set amount of time.
StayFocusd and Leechblock are similar services that are extensions for web browsers. There are plenty of others out there as well. Sometimes our loved ones can also interrupt our writing time without knowing it.
However, if you establish a writing routine, you can tell your family, roommates, or significant other that you’re setting aside certain times of the day just for writing. It will be easier for them to respect your schedule if you follow a predictable pattern.
Music can also further delay your writing time, as you might waste time trying to find the perfect song to inspire you. Instead, give your full attention to the task at hand— putting words on the page. Save the headphones for times when you’re brainstorming ideas or plotting.
Number three: Set daily writing goals for yourself. Writing a novel is a huge task, but if you break it down into smaller chunks, it can feel more achievable. Choose what type of quota you’d like to reach. Maybe you’d like to aim for a thousand words per day, or perhaps you’d rather write an hour a day, regardless of the resulting word count.
You can also aim to complete one scene per day, whether it be the first time the protagonist meets a love interest or the final epic battle sequence. Write chronologically or start with the scene you’re most excited to put on paper.
Here’s another trick to keep in mind: “The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day when you are writing a novel you will never be stuck.”
If you get behind on your daily targets, don’t despair. Cut yourself some slack, but really try to avoid putting off your daily writing. If you skip one day, you’re more likely to skip the next one…and the next…and the next.
In addition, people often underestimate the time it takes us to complete a project, so give yourself plenty of leeway when setting goals. The Pomodoro Technique can be another great time management tool.
Set a timer for 25 minutes, and work on your project until it rings. When you’re done, checkmark a piece of paper, and take a five-minute break. Then start the timer again and repeat the cycle.
Once you have completed four of these sessions, or “pomodoros” as they’re called, you can take a longer break of 15 to 30 minutes. These rest intervals will give your brain time to relax and digest stray thoughts.
If you want to visualize your success, try the Don’t Break the Chain method. It’s very simple: Set your daily writing goal, then take a calendar, and cross off each day that you complete that goal. Your goal is to not “break the chain” or leave any boxes without an X.
If you’re a more extrinsically motivated person, you can try rewarding yourself after each writing session. It could be your favorite kind of chocolate or an episode of some guilty-pleasure TV show. Make sure you only get this reward after writing and not at any other time. You want your mind to associate writing with that reward.
Number Four: Try Alternative Forms of Writing. Writing anything is better than writing nothing at all, so if you don’t have the motivation to slug through your main work-in-progress, try something different. How about a writing prompt?
You can put your current cast of characters into the prompt situation, or you can branch out and explore new worlds. Think of these as flash fiction exercises, and try to keep your responses under a thousand words.
Writer’s Digest posts some great weekly prompts and also features a discussion section, where you can share your work and see how others interpreted the prompt. Sometimes it’s easier to write about your own life experiences and opinions rather than pull imaginary ones from thin air.
Think about how you can tap into your own emotions to convey your characters’ feelings more vividly. Write about your first love or a time you felt true fear. Meditate on how it feels to have siblings or to be an only child.
Imagine how different you would be if you grew up with a different religion, in a country on the other side of the world, or as the opposite gender. Start keeping a journal of your daily thoughts.
Fanfiction can be another great way to boost your daily writing, as you’re already working with an established world and familiar characters—but the plot and writing style are entirely your own. How about switching the perspective of the story to a minor character?
Play around with first and third-person. Do some genre-bending by adding fantasy elements to a story set in modern times or switch to an entirely different time period. Although I don’t recommend basing your own novel off of your fanfiction, this can help you find your voice and provide more storytelling practice.
Feedback from reviewers can also be beneficial for identifying your strengths and weaknesses as a writer. Sometimes you need to take your writing a little less seriously and just goof off, and that’s where roleplaying can be really effective.
Roleplaying involves writing a story with someone else, piece by piece. You’re not playing Dungeons & Dragons; you’re exchanging messages. You team up with another person to create a story and then your characters interact.
Depending on your partner, the responses can be anywhere from two sentences to a thousand words. Roleplayers either use instant messaging services like Kik or Skype for real-time conversations or long-form methods like email.
You can explore different genres, from slice-of-life and historical fiction to sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. It may seem a bit geeky at first, but you’ll be surprised by how much easier it is to pop out a thousand words when you’re responding to what someone else has written.
Plus, roleplaying can help you brainstorm new plot ideas, flesh out new types of characters, and produce more completed stories.
Number Five: Enter writing contests. Writing contests and magazines force you to adhere to specific deadlines, and that can push you to finish projects. There are also certain word count and subject you need to follow, and having that kind of box to work in can make it easier to start writing.
Say the contest is looking for a sci-fi story with romantic elements and it must be less than seven thousand words. Oh, and the topic for this month’s magazine is artificial intelligence, and the deadline is in a month.
So, over the course of a month, you can aim to finish one submission with a little writing and revising each day. The thrill of actually completing a project, even it’s just a short story, can be a great motivator, as it tells you that you’re capable of finishing things you’ve started.
Start small and look at contests posted on blogs rather than huge international competitions. Many contests and magazines don’t have entry fees. Others have small entry fees but oftentimes provide a year’s subscription to the online publication with your entry.
With any contest, there are some best practices you should follow: always read past winners to see what the judges are looking for. You should also make a checklist of the submission guidelines you need to follow, read the FAQ page, and double check the formatting requirements before you submit.
Number Six: Take classes and join groups. Creative writing classes mainly focus on short stories, but the lessons you learn can be applied to larger projects. In addition, classes give you an imposed deadline and expose you to new writing styles.
College courses can be expensive, but many community centers, libraries, local art organizations, and online communities offer inexpensive or free classes that you can join. You could also join a writing group, whether it’s a local one that meets in person or an online group.
Grab a writing buddy and use each other to stay committed to your writing goals by sharing your successes and failures, bouncing off ideas and questions, and exchanging pieces for critique.
Feedback is how you grow as a writer, and receiving constructive criticism from professionals in the writing field and from your peers is of vital importance. It’s one thing to write every day, but in order to truly become a better writer, you need to be actively revising and improving upon your work, and that involves critically analyzing your own stories and prose.
Here is one final anecdote to motivate you to write every single day of your life. Imagine two painters. The first painter has been working on his masterpiece for the past three years, meticulously choosing each color and ensuring that every line is perfect.
In that same time period, the second painter has churned out dozens of paintings, experimenting with different types of brushstrokes and color combinations and even adding other mediums.
Sure, some of them are pretty bad—awful, actually. But there a few that are quite GOOD, as if the artist has discovered his own unique style. Now apply the idea of the two painters to the writing process.
The quality of your writing is obviously important, but producing a large quantity of art can provide valuable insight. Both aspects are important, but don’t become too obsessed with one or the other.
With all this information in mind, go try the 30-day challenge. Pick one or two of the methods listed here, and stick to a routine for a full month. Maybe you’d like to write for an hour every day and mark an X on your calendar, or experiment with a daily writing prompt each morning, or even start an elaborate role-play set in feudal Japan.
Writing a novel for beginners is a daunting task. In addition to the creative aspect, novel structure and style have to be learned or developed. Tips on writing a novel for the first time naturally come from professional authors who have gone through the process many times in the past.
Experienced authors know that there’s much more to it than sitting down with a blank page and somehow miraculously creating a masterpiece. In fact, that’s one of the tips given below. one author NEVER sits down with a blank page. He always carries a notebook full of ideas to develop.
These practical tips are gold-dust for new writers just beginning or thinking about planning to write their first novel. The first video features great tips from 11 authors who have published novels. The tips are relevant and useful for all writers at any level.
The second video (transcript only) outlines 7 tips for writing a novel for beginners. It contains advice on form, characters and a few useful guidelines about writing attractive and efficient prose – a must for telling a story that pulls the reader along.
My advice for a young writer – if you hang out with me I would have a lot of advice, although I would feel somewhat embarrassed about giving advice to the young writer. I think the most important advice I have is to have fun. That to try to create something that is fun to work on.
If you are having fun, really fun, not just kind of masturbatory fun, but actually you’ve gotten in you’ve gotten something going that is just fun, and fun in the sense of completely engaging fun. Like you’re on a tennis court. When you’re on tennis court, you’re not just messing around.
You’re not just like, you know, hitting the ball wherever you want. You are focused on having a game and if you once you are in it, you are having fun. That’s the kind of focused fun I’m talking about. If you are having that kind of focused fun, there’s a good chance that the reader will too.
You learn from models and you analyze them. You study them. You analyze them very closely, so one thing at a time. You don’t just sort of read the paragraph and say “oh that really flows, you know, that’s good.” You say “what kind of adjectives? How many, what kind of nouns?
How long are the sentences? What’s the rhythm? You know, you pick it apart, and that’s very helpful. The talent is the only thing that you cannot really learn in writing. You could learn all the tactics of writing.
You could learn all the schools different schools of writing but if you’re not talented, then you should not write. You’re probably not going to be very good at it. Your wife’s probably not going to support you. You’re probably going to have a drinking problem. You’re probably going to be frustrated.
If you have any children at all, and you’ll probably never make a penny. Another thing I would say is to be very patient. So, even patient with chaos. You know, you have this beginning and you’re just worried and unhappy, but I wouldn’t I wouldn’t worry too much.
I think it is a little chaotic. It’s not neat. You don’t start something and finish it like it’s perfect. It takes time. You are talented but you must know that the talent is not the end. It is just the beginning and you must keep the writing as the most important thing in your life.
Whenever you feel that the writing is not the most important thing in your life, you better stop writing, because you will never make any difference. Writing, if it works out, is such a long shot. The fact that I could have had a writing life for 46/47 years, this is ridiculous.
I’ve worked like a dog. It’s still ridiculous, so find something better . Remember this sentence – I tell them the secret to writing is to write, write, write, and write again. You will get it right. Yeah, that’s my universe or sort of advice to all writers.
If you can’t find anything better, if you try your best to target so far away, then maybe you have the hint of a vocation. When you put writing before any other thing, when you prefer writing to to money, to your friendship, to all pleasures of life, writing comes first. Not to believe it, to be an artist don’t to take yourself seriously. Don’t think that you are inspired.
You know that genius is a 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. When I was really young William Burroughs told me when I was really struggling. We never had any money and the advice that William gave me was “build a good name”, you know, keep your name clean.
Don’t make compromises. Don’t worry about making a bunch of money or being successful. Be concerned with doing good work and make the right choices and protect your work.
If you build a good name, eventually you know, that name will be its own currency. My advice to a young writer would be that he or she works with what he or she is made of. By that I mean that we should not be afraid of working with the things that fascinated us when we were at the most impressionable.
It might be music. It might be comic books. It might be a boy detective novel. It might be a Barbie doll, with certain princess dress or whatever. I think we are all informed by the things that fascinate us and excite us when we are quite young.
It helped me a great deal. Not everybody keeps a notebook, by any means. Some writers somehow keep it all in their heads and bring it out when they need it, but I always keep notebooks.
It makes sense. It takes some of the tension and the worry away, because if you write it down it, it may just be a note, it doesn’t have to be the beginning of anything and it also means that when you want to work on a piece of writing you can go back to the notebook.
I have this beginning or that idea in this, so it makes it more relaxing. I don’t ever start with a blank page. The advice is that you cannot become a general before a corporal, Seargent a lieutenant.
Go step by step. I’m interested in how we encounter culture and most of us come to culture well first through the lullaby. You know, lullaby is theater music and literature. We become young adsorbers of culture through things which grown-ups do not see as culture.
We are always giving giving kids tools for storytelling. You know, toy soldiers, dolls. These are tools for storytelling, you know. Then you go to the cinema and you see a crazy action film, or you see a bad horror film by coincidence on the television and it excites you.
I’m interested in carrying on the cultural dialogue and that’s what I mean by not being afraid of what informed you. Don’t ever cave in to the pressure of publishers, you know, or agents who say “well you’ve written a nice book of stories but we need a novel now”.
If you’re ot a novel writer, don’t feel you have to write a novel. Do what you want to do and don’t worry if it’s a little odd or doesn’t fit the market. Don’t expect or don’t pretend immediately to receive the Nobel Prize because that kills every literary career.
Very few of us grow up in a castle and have private tutors who teaches Greek before noon and Latin in the afternoon. Then we take piano classes and learn about classical painting or something. All of us come to culture through different ways and there are so many people who are embarrassed about what excited them.
I mean, if you come to storytelling through the Spice Girls, that is how you got into storytelling, you know, and work with it. I see it all as a princess in the castle. You must prove your love many times, and then when the princess is convinced that you really love her, she will open the castle gates up to you.
Hi, my name is Kat and today I’m going to share seven tips to improve your writing. So these tips I’m about share with you focus on words.
We’re not talking about plot or character development or world building because I already made all those videos. Today we are focusing on prose, words, and sentences.
If a completed novel is a big-ass castle, today we are going to take a closer look at some of these bricks. Are you ready? Let’s get started!
Tip number one: show, don’t tell. This is one of those writing tips that gets thrown around a lot and I feel like a lot of people hear it and recite it but don’t really get it. First off, show don’t tell doesn’t apply it to everything. It mostly applies to emotions and senses.
Most emotion words, angry, excited, happy, sad, these are straight up telling. For example, the man stood up angrily. You’re telling us that he’s angry, but you’re not showing it. How is he angry? What does he do as he stands up that makes it obvious he is angry?
How about the man pushed himself out of the chair, his hands clenched into fists, the vein in his neck popping. That shows us he’s angry without using any words that mean angry. What I like to do is imagine my scenes as if they were in a movie.
In a movie there’s no narration of he was angry or she was frustrated. We as an audience ascertain these moods from the characters actions. From what they are doing not from what we are being told they feel.
Don’t tell me a character is excited, tell me that they’re bouncing up and down in their chair, smiling hugely and talking way too fast. Don’t just tell me a character is scared, show their fear through shallow breaths and tense shoulders and wide, alert eyes.
Look through your manuscript for emotion words like this and try to find a better way to depict the emotion without saying it. Tip number two: use the active voice over the passive voice.
This is another tip that you might hear a lot. You might also hear kind of the shortcut version to this tip which is to avoid words that end in -ing and this is because those words are usually weaker than their more active counterparts.
He was standing at the front of the room is not as strong and direct as he stood at the front of the room. He was standing is passive. It sounds almost like it’s something happening to him whereas he stood is active, it’s him doing it.
Keep an eye out for use of the passive voice in your manuscript. You don’t have to delete every sentence that uses the passive voice but really consider if it could be improved by changing it to be more active.
Tip number three: to be or not to be? This tip is related to the previous one about active and passive voices and this is about the to be verb in its different variations: is, am, are, was, were. To be verbs weaken sentences in a similar way that words that end in -ing do and in fact, they’re often paired together.
He was standing versus he stood. And again, you don’t have to avoid the use of these words completely, just be aware of your usage. Using the passive voice in writing is not always a negative thing. Consciously deciding to use it for a certain passage can actually work very well.
Say your character isn’t a very active or straightforward character at all. Maybe they’re very weak and passive characters and your use of passive writing helps capture that. There’s always exceptions.
I will never tell you don’t use the passive voice, you have to know when to use the passive voice and when to use the active voice.
Tip number four: verbs are better than adverbs. This is another tip you might be familiar with through its shortcut version which is to avoid words that end in -ly. Adverbs are the devil or so I’ve heard from many people giving writing advice.
Now I don’t think adverbs are the devil but I do think a strong, descriptive verb is better than a more generic verb paired with an adverb. For example, let’s take the sentence, ‘She walked lazily across the room.’
This could be improved by replacing walked lazily with a single verb that captures that same intent. She strolled across the room, she meandered across the room, she ambled across the room, she wandered across the room. Many verb plus adverb combinations can be replaced with a single stronger verb.
Tip number five: no thinking. Speaking of strong verbs, you know what’s not included in that list? Any verb relating to thinking or realizing or remembering or knowing. There is a brilliant essay by Chuck Palahniuk which I will link in the description. Read it.
This is not recommended reading, this is required reading. Read it. And it all just ties back into you what I’ve been talking about here, showing versus telling and avoiding lazy writing. Don’t have a character just realize something. Present those facts to the reader so that we can realize it.
Tip number six: doubles are trouble. Sometimes word repetition can be used to great success, but more often than not using the same word multiple times in a short passage is just lazy writing. I read a fairly popular book a while ago that really abused this and it made me want to rip out my editing pen and just go to town.
One particular moment that stands out is when I found four usages of the word arm over the course of two sentences and this isn’t a really terrible offense it’s just, it’s lazy writing. It’s something that happens a lot in early drafts.
You know you’ll have a character approach a door and then open the door and then walk through the door, but in revisions you have to get rid of some of those doors. Yes, it is tedious work trying to figure out how to reword these sentences, but you gotta do the work. Don’t be lazy, do the work.
And finally, tip number seven: choose wisely, young grasshopper. The overall theme for all of these tips is to be aware of every single word you write. Choose your words with care. As a writer you are making constant decisions. Be very intentional with your word choice and be ready to defend your choices if necessary.
If I flip to a random page in your manuscript and ask why you chose that verb in paragraph 2, I want you to be able to tell me your reasoning. If you don’t have any reasoning, if you haven’t thought about why that verb is the best choice or not, then you haven’t made a decision.
You’ve just fallen into something and yes, sometimes you might fall into something great without trying, but most of the time the perfect incarnation of that sentence or paragraph is going to require some thought, some work, some effort.
It’s going to require you to make a decision. I talked earlier about passive versus active and here it is again. Don’t be a passive writer, don’t just let things happen. Be an active writer, be making decisions.
Study a lot and read a lot and get really familiar with both good and bad writing because that’s what’s going to enable you to make the best decisions. All right, that is it. There you have it. Those are seven tips to help improve your writing.
I hope this video was helpful to you guys, I know a lot of you have been wanting more writing related videos lately so I’m trying to do that. But, you know, disclaimer, disclaimer, please remember I am NOT a professional in any sense of that word. I’m not even a published author so take everything I say with a grain of salt and a shot of tequila.
Just kidding, I hate salt with tequila. Just kidding again, I love salt with tequila. What was I talking about? But yeah, I will definitely be making more writing related videos, but please keep in mind that these take a lot longer for me to prepare.
I actually script these videos out a little bit because, you know, I want to sound at least kind of smart in them. And also again, just to reiterate I am not a professional. You can get some advice from me, but you should also get advice from a wide variety of sources.
Especially because doing your own research is really the best way to learn. Anyways, that is it for this video today so thank you very much for watching it. I hope you enjoyed it, I hope you have a great night and I will have another video soon so I will see you then.
Knowing how to write a good novel brings into play a balanced combination of creativity and structure. The first is inspirational, while the latter hints at craftsmanship.
All structures need to be build on solid foundations and the outline for a novel is no different – if they are wobbly, your readers will feel it and the story will suffer for it.
New Writers, Like Fools, Rush In
Like many aspiring authors, I wrote my first story by the seat of my pants, feeling sure that all would come together as the manuscript progressed. Although I did actually finish (and publish) the novel, it was painfully obvious to me and my readers that it wasn’t as good as it could be. The plot, prose, dialogue and characterizations were decent, but there were structural issues that reduced its impact. It just didn’t sparkle.
As authors, we need to ask ourselves important questions before we put pen to paper, or fingertips to the keyboard. The first important question is about understanding what the reader wants from your novel. I’ll give you a clue – it has nothing to do with the technicalities of writing plot, subplots, setting, dialogue or any of the other important element that make up a great read.
What Happens Next In The Story?
If the reader is to finish the book then its vital that he always wants to know what happens next. It’s the core of every novel and a huge part of the writing process is to make sure that the reader does on thing – have a burning desire to know what happens to the main characters of the story and keep turning those pages!
I can’t emphasize how important this point is. Without this need to know, your book will not be read at all and a year of your blood, sweat and commitment will have been wasted. Planning an outline and building a strong structure reduces this possibility drastically.
In the video below a well-known author, John Grisham, describes his writing process:
“I normally start writing a novel on January the 1st of each year, that’s kind of my ritual, with the goal of finishing the book in six months, and being done in July. And that’s been the schedule for the past probably 10 or 15 years.
When I’m writing, which is usually that time of the year, I get a lot of writing done in January, February and March, for obvious reasons — it’s a good time to write. When I’m writing it’s five days a week I start around seven each morning in my office. The routine rarely varies — it’s pretty structured. It’s the same spot, the same computer.
So the office is a separate building with no phones, faxes or Internet, because I don’t want the distraction, and I don’t work online, I keep it offline. It’s the same cup of coffee, the same type of coffee, the same everything.
And the hours between seven and ten are, you know, that’s the best time of the day for me, it’s very productive. On a good day I’ll write probably 2,000 words, a slow day is probably 1,000. There aren’t many slow days, because by the time I start a book I have a very good idea of where it’s going.
I don’t start a book — I don’t write the first scene until I know the last scene. And that’s a rule I’ve kept for 25 years. I just don’t start something unless I know where it’s gonna go. So once I do start it, there aren’t many down days.”
Story Structure Definition
Several story structure elements need to be in place when writing your masterpiece, and building an outline or template is the best way to ensure that everything is in place. Not only that, but in the right place! The basic building blocks are found in the principles of the Story Arc and Character Arc. Don’t worry – both concepts will be covered in later posts, but suffice to say that the process tends to grow from the broader ideas to the more detailed.
Some basic elements of a great novel outline are:
Genre – define the type of story you are presenting. For example, Romance, Sci-Fi, Thriller, Cowboy, Horror among many others. Each main category can be split into sub-categories and also combined with others to create split-genres.
Theme – every story has a message, whether in written or movie format. Examples might be ‘Is it better to be rich or to have friends?’ or ‘Can love conquer all?’
Setting – define the period and the location. Example: 19th Century, Vienna.
Story Arc – this timeline notes the events that bring increasing conflict and tension to the hero, and also the conclusion.
Character Arcs – main characters are complex and three-dimensional. The events in the story impact and change their ideas and outlook. These changes are essential if the characters are to succeed in their quest. These changes are collectively described as the Character Arc.
Backstory – the early part of a novel that describes the lives and situations of the main characters. It sets the scene of normality before an event arrives that changes everything.
Plot – the sequence of interrelated events defined by the author to tell the story.
Characters – normally one, or a few, main complex main characters and any number of passing support characters.
Dialogue – designed to tell the story and drive it forward.
Prose – the result of writing simply and conversationally, expressing description and meaning effectively but adhering to (mostly) universally accepted rules of grammar and syntax.
Not Convinced? The Purpose Of Planning
The biggest take-away and advantage from all the hard work that goes into writing a novel outline can be summarized like this:
The template can be used as a planning tool, or a road-map to clearly show the writer where he or she is going. If the destination is clearly in sight, together with diversions and side-roads, then it will be so much easier to steer the story.
The planning phase becomes more detailed as it progresses, exploring the plot and the characters in greater depth. By the end of the process, which doesn’t really have an end until the novel is complete, you will know your story and everything in it intimately.
Editing Your Manuscript
When your novel manuscript is finished, then the arduous task of editing begins. If, like me, you can’t afford the services of a professional, then its necessary to learn how to do it properly. Self-editing is the only option left to you. The process happens on different levels and each step has a purpose.
As you might guess, it involves a bit more than just spell-checking and correcting simple errors in grammar. Later posts on this site will explore each level and provide a good grounding in the requirements.
Publishing – The Final Step!
Publishing your novel is the crowning glory of all your hard work, which on average takes anywhere between six months to a year to write, and three months to edit. This time may be extended if the editing process reveals serious structural problems, in which case a partial re-write would be required. You have to be dedicated to the craft and really want that book to see the light of day.
In the past, when the traditional publishing process was all that there was, this was indeed a painful experience. Authors could wait for months for a simple rejection slip, perhaps with no notes for manuscript improvement. Luckily, the emergence of the inernet and platforms like Amazon have changed all that. Self-publishing is simple and best of all, free!
In the next post I’ll be looking at the Story Arc.
How to write a novel in 20 steps – Caitlin from Ink and Quills:
Hey everyone, this is Caitlin from ink & quills and today I’m going to be walking you through my step-by-step process for writing a novel. So – if you’re new to writing you might be confused about how to go about writing your first novel, or maybe you just have no idea where you should even begin
Maybe you’ve gotten started but things aren’t going quite as smoothly as you’d hoped. The thing is, since you’ve never written a novel before, you don’t know what this process looks. Like you know what the end result looks like because you’ve read lots of published books, but you don’t know how to get there yourself.
How are you supposed to learn to do something if you’ve never seen an example of how it’s done? It’s like being handed a bunch of ingredients and being told to bake a cake without the recipe. That’s why I want to take you behind the scenes into the creative process of writing a story.
One of the best ways to learn how to do something you’ve never done before is by seeing an example. You probably know the ingredients you need for your story, like plot, character and setting, but you also need to know the process used to combine all these ingredients into a story.
Today I’m going to show you my personal writing process which I’ve developed over years of trial and error, but I want you to keep in mind that each writer has their own process and methods that work best for them so feel free to tweak this outline to fit your personal preferences.
I’ve also created a free checklist for this process and I’ll include a download link for that below the video. All right, so let’s get started. The first thing we need to do before we can start writing is to find an idea for our story. Personally, I draw a lot of inspiration from history and mythology, but one of the best ways to come up with an idea is to just let yourself daydream, and ask questions let your imagination have some fun.
One of my favorite questions to ask is ‘what if’ because it creates so many possibilities. For example, what if Hitler had won World War two, or what if we discovered life on Mars, or what if we began cloning humans in the future? Asking ‘what if’ questions like these creates interesting scenarios that you can then build a story around.
Once you have an idea that you like, and you’re excited about, it’s time to start expanding on it. This means thinking about your setting and time period, who your characters might be and what might happen in the plot. Now at this stage you’re not developing your plot and characters in depth.
You’re just exploring and gathering ideas, and you might also end up discarding or changing a lot of these ideas down the road. These are all tentative details that you’re considering for your story. I also want to mention that brainstorming is something that I actually do throughout the entire writing process.
I’m constantly collecting and layering ideas as I develop the story. Your story really is something that’s in a constant state of evolution, so allow yourself the creative flexibility to change your mind and explore new ideas throughout the writing process. After you do some brainstorming, the setting, time period and genre of your story should start to become more clear, but you might want to ask yourself if changing any of these details could make your story more interesting, or help it stand out more.
So for example, what if you changed your setting to Japan instead of America? Or how about setting your story in the 18th century instead of the 21st? Or what if you turned it into a fantasy instead of historical fiction? Consider different options before you make your final decision.
Now before you get too far, you’re going to want to figure out just who it is you’re writing for. Is this story for adults, teens, children? Do you want to appeal to a certain demographic, like military families, or single moms? Your audience is going to affect how you approach the story, so it’s good to know who they are before you start writing.
When you have a specific audience in mind it also helps you feel like you’re writing for someone and not just writing into the void, hoping someone out there somewhere might be interested in your story. This is also going to help make your book easier to market which will make you more appealing to agents and publishers.
So in short, it’s easier to write a story for an audience rather than trying to find an audience for your story. So now that you have some basics taken care of it’s time to start going into more depth. This is where you’ll start getting to know your main characters your villain and your secondary characters.
Start thinking about who these people are, what they’re like, what happened in their past and, most importantly, what they want. You need to figure out the goals of both your hero and your villain. Your hero’s goal is basically the focus of the story, and the villain’s goal creates opposition and conflict.
So for example, in the Lord of the Rings Frodo’s goal is to destroy the One Ring while Sauron’s goal is to steal it back. Once you know what your hero wants and what’s standing in his way, it makes it a lot easier to start outlining your novel. But before you start outlining, you need to decide on your story’s point of view.
Are you going to tell this story in first person or third person? Will you follow one character or split the story up between the points of view of two or three characters? Ask yourself what will work best to tell this story. Now you don’t have to decide right away and you can always change your mind later, but it’s definitely something that you want to be considering as you work on developing your characters and plot.
Once you’ve figured out the goal of your hero and villain, you can start outlining your plot. Basically, a story is all about the journey a hero goes on to achieve a goal, so without one it’s going to be really hard to plot your story. The beginning of a story introduces the hero and their goal.
The middle is filled with the obstacles the hero faces as he tries to achieve that goal, and the end reveals whether or not the hero succeeds or fails. Personally, I prefer to plan out my plot in as much detail as possible before I start writing, but this doesn’t mean that everything in our outline is set in stone.
As I continue to develop my story, and even after I’ve begun writing, I might decide to change things. Sometimes, I’ll find an idea that works better than something in my original outline, or I might discover that what I had originally planned won’t work, or that there’s a plot hole. Basically, I don’t want you to get hung up on getting your plot outline perfect.
Think of your outline like a rough draft and stay flexible. Like I said before, I always view story as something that’s constantly evolving throughout the writing process, until I have a final draft I’m happy with. So now that you know more about your plot and characters, and can see what shape the story is beginning to take, it’s a good idea to start doing some market research.
This means researching if there are any books already out there that might be similar to your story. So for example, if you’re writing a Cinderella re-telling, you’ll want to look at other authors who have done the same. Or if you’re writing a steampunk story, you’ll want to look into other steampunk books.
First, you want to read some of these books, so you can see what’s already been done, so you can avoid cliches or similarities. This will help you write a story that stands out, even if there are similar ones out there.
Second you want to read the reviews of these books and take note of what the readers liked and didn’t like. That way you can avoid any mistakes the author might have made. Once you’ve finished your research, you’ll need to look back over your plot outline and possibly make some changes based on what you’ve learned.
So for example, if you find that stuff several of the Cinderella re-tellings you read follow the same basic story-line, you might want to add a plot twist or two to yours, to help it stand out. Next you’ll need to start developing your setting. Think about the key locations where the story will take place and flush them out with details to make them feel real and interesting.
So for example in the Harry Potter series you have lots of memorable settings like Hogwarts,and platform 9 and 3/4. If you’re writing a fantasy story you’ll need to build a believable world from scratch and if you’re writing a story set somewhere you’ve never been ordering historical time period you’ll need to do research.
Even though for fantasy you make most things up, you still might need to do some research on things you’re not familiar with, like swords and bows, or castle life. This is also the point in the writing process where I start researching anything else I might need to know about, like police procedures, mountain climbing, the Italian mafia or whatever else might play a role in my story.
Once you’ve finished developing your setting and doing all your research, you might need to tweak your plot outline again. I found that when I start diving into my story’s world I usually end up getting more ideas which I then add into the outline. Sometimes
my research will make me realize that what I had originally planned isn’t going to work so we’ll need to make changes to the outline.
One last thing you need to do before you start writing is to decide on a theme for your story. Some writers might do this at the beginning stages of the writing process but for me it’s easier to weave in a theme once I’m more familiar with my plot and characters. I like to look at the conflicts in my story, whether it’s a conflict between characters, an internal conflict within the hero, or conflict within the society and then see what themes are might be able to draw from there.
A theme is basically like a theory you set out to prove or disprove with your story. It adds more depth of meaning and it’s shown through the actions of the characters in the plot. A theme usually explores or reveals something about the human experience. Think about what you might want to say about humanity in your story and how you could say it through your characters, then adjust your plot outline to show your theme.
After doing all that prep work you’re finally ready to actually start writing your story. I know it might be tempting to just skip ahead to this step, but trust me writing your first draft is so much easier and goes so much faster, and you’ve got all of those details taken care of. You know where you’re going.
When you write your rough draft, you want to focus on getting the story out of your head onto the page so you can mold it into something beautiful later. Give yourself permission to write crap but don’t beat yourself up about it. It’s easy to feel like a crappy writer when you’re writing crap, but you have to remember that the first draft is supposed to be terrible.
After you’ve gotten your story laid out on the page you can start editing and working some magic. In your second draft, you’ll want to focus on fixing any major issues, like plot holes, details that need more research, or scenes that may need to be altered or rearranged. Once you’ve got all that hammered out, you can then focus on smaller details, like dialogue, character descriptions and more choice.
In your additional drafts, you’ll probably end up with at least three drafts, and my average is usually three or four, but it’s not uncommon for a writer to have more. It all depends on how many drafts it takes to get a story you’re happy with, and feel good about.
After you’ve finished editing, it’s a good idea to let someone else read your story before you release it into the world. Preferably somebody beside your mom. I highly recommend asking other writers to read your story and give you feedback, even though it can be terrifying. I know I was nervous about letting my beta readers read my story, but the feedback I received was so valuable.
Beta readers can help you point out your story strengths and weaknesses, which means you’ll end up with an even better story than what you originally started with. Addressing any issues early on is going to help you increase your chances of getting published and also raise the odds of readers enjoying your book.
Once you’ve finished revising your final draft with your beta readers feedback, it’s time to begin the publication process. If you want to be published traditionally, this means looking for literary agents and sending out query letters or if you decide to self publish you’ll need to look into a publication platform like Amazon’s Kindle direct publishing.
For self-publishing you’ll also need a hire an editor and cover designer format your book for print and create a marketing plan and that’s it. Once your book is in your reader’s hands there’s nothing left to do except sit back and catch your breath.
As you can see, there’s a lot of work involved with writing a story. This entire process can take anywhere from months to years. It might seem overwhelming at first but I promise the more books you write and the more familiar you become with how this all works, the easier it becomes.
It may still take forever but you do get better at it, and if you have the driving passion for writing that I think you do, you won’t be able to stop yourself from doing it over and over again. Don’t forget to grab your free checklist of this process and the link below the video and also if you would like a more in-depth look into what goes into a story like plot, and character, and how a story works, I have a free ebook to help you with that as well.
It’s called ‘Writing 101’ and it includes over 100 pages of information and exercises to help new writers master the basics of writing a novel if you’d like to download a free copy of the ebook just click link below the video thank you so much for watching and good luck with planning your first novel.
They have their own objectives. They have their own dreams they have their own ambitions, their own needs. They’re just trying to be for themselves and what they’re doing and everything that pushes the plot to its conclusion is the dynamics that will create very convincing characters.
Again, working with your story outside of just writing it. If you can, have a piece of paper and draw lines marking out when and in the story certain important things happen with each plot.
When exactly the conclusion happens. What is the transformation at the beginning of each plot? What is the status quo and at the end what has changed? How is it how are things no longer what they were before?