10 Things to Consider When Writing a Novel

Image result for writing a book is incredibly hard

Writing a book is incredibly hard. There is no magic formula or secret weapon you can use that will miraculously create a best-selling novel. Writing a book takes time. It requires initiative, discipline, and the ability to accept the fact that not everything you write is going to be beautiful.

“Writing is supposed to be difficult, agonizing, a dreadful exercise, a terrible occupation.” ―Ray Bradbury

But if you seriously want to write a book, nothing will stand in your way. Get out your pen, your laptop, or whatever writing tool you choose and start writing.

But before you do, here are a few things to consider.

  1. Start small. Give yourself short assignments you can easily complete, like a character sketch, drawing a map, or writing 500 words. Take one step at a time. “Writing a book is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as the headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” -E.L. Doctorow.
  2.  First drafts. Your first draft is going to be awful. Deal with it. The whole point of a draft is to get your thoughts on paper. You can clean it up later. “Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere.” -Anne Lamott.
  3. Character. Characters can make or break a story. Know your characters, develop them, see them as they are. Dig into their heads and know what motivates them, what scares them, and what their weaknesses are. Make them believable, and make them come alive.
  4. Dialogue. Dialogue reveals more about your characters than pages of detailed description does. Each character should be easily identified by the way they talk. Reveal your character’s voice and let their personalities shine. Include actions and mannerisms.
  5. Plot. Characters drive the plot. Listen to your characters, and your plot will fall into place. Watch your characters move and stay with them. Things will happen to them; they will create their own tension and drama. Push them harder and load them up with problems they have to solve. Give them something to work for.
  6. Setting. Readers what to know about the character’s lives. Every piece of the setting offers a view into their lives. Setting helps the reader see beyond the surface. It reveals personality and values. Let your characters’ lives pour through the setting. Imagine the scene and add as much detail as possible.
  7. Breathe. Self-doubt will creep up on you, but you have to learn not to stress over small things. It’s ok if the story goes in a different direction than you planned. Let the characters take over and go with the flow.
  8. Prepare yourself for failure. Not only will you doubt yourself, others will doubt you too. Not everyone is going to like what you write. Stephen King said, “If you write, someone will try to make you feel lousy about it.” Don’t waste your time trying to please people.Image result for writing a book is incredibly hard
  9. Support. Seek help and support along the way. Fellow writers can give you pointers if you need them. Don’t be afraid to ask. Read books about writing, use reference materials, and take notes. Find a support system to cheer you on. Your spouse, your best friend, or members of your local writing group can be invaluable resources to keep you motivated and get you back on track.
  10. Voice. There are millions of stories out there, and you might be “worried that it’s all been said before. Sure it has, but not by you.” -Asha Dornfest. Find your voice, and tell your story your way.

What are you waiting for? Sit down and write. “You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank one.” -Jodi Picoult.

9 thoughts on “10 Things to Consider When Writing a Novel

  1. Great post with great suggestions. You know in my earlier manuscripts, I totally bypassed your first suggestion. On my current program. I has scenes of dialogue, an outline, descriptions of rooms and places all written before I even started the first page of my first draft.

    It really does help.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I particularly love the quotes from Stephen King and Ray Bradbury. The truth is, writing is a lonely business. Just as King said, “someone will make you feel lousy about it,” you have many more who won’t care at all. You’ll have friends and family who don’t believe in your vision. It’s very sobering. As for Bradbury mentioning about writing being a “terrible exercise,” he’s right. It’s a beastly once. First drafts are not enough. Neither are second or third drafts. As Pete Townshend said in the song Give Blood…..

    “Give blood
    But you may find that blood is enough
    Give blood
    And there are some who’ll say it’s not enough
    Give blood
    But don’t expect too ever see reward
    Give blood
    You can give it all but still asked for more.”

    I feel like those lyrics of the song perfectly sum up writing or any artistic endeavor.

    Liked by 1 person

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