“So okay – there you are in your room with the shade down and the door shut and the plug pulled out of the base of the telephone. You’ve blown up your TV and committed yourself to a thousand words a day, come hell or high water. Now comes the big question: What are you going to write about? And the equally big answer: Anything you damn well want. ” ― Stephen King, On Writing
The reality is anyone can write a Novel! It only takes pen and paper, a computer or a typewriter and off you go, composing that story you have in your head. But…only a few of those writers will write a good novel and even fewer will write masterpieces. We can’t all be Ernest Hemingway’s or Jane Austen’s in this world, but we can write that Novel if we truly want to.
There is a misconception between wanting to write a Novel (for yourself because the story has compelled you to write it) or wanting to write a Novel (in hopes of becoming rich and famous) like modern day writers Stephanie Meyer, Dan Brown and J.K. Rowling.
If you want to write a Novel you have two lineups to choose from.
ONE: Writing to fulfill your passion.
TWO: Writing to fulfill external expectations.
The lineup you choose will greatly affect how you write and what you write. By choosing Line One you are writing to fulfill your passion for writing a story you feel excited and interested about. Your imagination wants to explore new worlds and to travel there you have to write it down. This means it doesn’t matter what you write about, you are writing the story you want to tell. If you choose Line Two you are writing to fulfill an external expectation. That means you write a story based on what you think the public wants to read or what publishers want. You sacrifice your own vision to fit into a mold that is given to you by a literally agent or editor, or your perception of what society wants.
I’ve struggled in choosing myself between these two lineups and what I realized is, writing in the hopes of becoming published or well-known is not a good path because it creates unrealistic expectations for yourself that may not even be possible to attain. At the end of the day, you are left with yourself, and I asked myself would I be happy? The answer is no, I rather write for me and enjoy (regardless the outcome).
My writing philosophy now is: “Get your story out of your head, on to Word Document, work hard to finish it than just get it out there for people to read! There will always be an audience for you, which is the beauty of the internet.” It doesn’t matter if I am published, or not published, a writer is not a true writer only if he/she are published (even if society deems that to be truth) a writer is a person who loves to write stories, and that is what I am.
Now that you have discerned what type of writer you are, let’s talk about writing a Novel!
What is a Novel?
A Novel is a fictitious prose narrative usually around 45,000 to 75,000 words, although that does vary. It’s a story portraying characters and settings in sequential scenes divided by chapters. It has a begging, middle, and end. A Novel is a story told in great detail allowing the reader to be engrossed into its world.
So how do you start writing your Novel?
You have to know what you want to write about. That does not mean you have to ‘write only what you know’ it means you have to write about something that sparks your imagination. This could include fiction or nonfiction. Writing something you don’t know about is brave as it allows you to discover new ideas and things about yourself. Most of the time, what you write will be a combination of what you think you already know and what you wish to learn. So ask yourself: What kind of Novel would you like to write? The trick is to be honest with yourself and DON’T HOLD BACK! Fear is the killer and in the end write what you want not what you think people want.
Now that you have given it some thought it’s time to choose a genre. It’s important to know the genre of your Novel before you start so you can stay consistent with your story’s theme.
Take a look at this list and see where your story would fit in:
Action, Adventure, Children, Comedy, Commercial Fiction, Crime, Cyber Punk, Dark Fiction, Drama, Erotica, Ethnic, Fantasy, Feminist, Folklore, Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender. Gothic, Historical, Horror, Humor, Literary Fiction, Mainstream Fiction, Medical, Military/War, Mystery, Mythology, Occult, Paranormal, Paranormal/Romance, Poetry, Political, Religious, Romance, Satire, Science Fiction, Self Help, Speculative, Spirituality/New Age, Sports, Suspense, Thrillers, Travel, Urban Fantasy, Westerns.
There are a lot of genres and it’s good to have an idea of where your story fits in, but try not to get carried away with labeling, you may have two or three genres that overlap, but as a general rule for your Novel, it’s good to focus on one central genre for your story. For example, I am currently writing a young adult Novel. After some long consideration I discovered it was not a Horror Novel but a Paranormal/Supernatural Novel, because the theme of my characters are supernatural in nature and the story is based off paranormal events. I may use elements of horror in the story but it’s not the genre. This may only become apparent after you finish your Novel, but I again emphasize that you focus on one theme because you want your Novel to fit into a genre so readers can read what they love. A fan of Gothic Romances would be pretty pissed off if they saw that your Novel was labeled as such only to discover it’s an Urban Fantasy set downtown and not at some Gothic castle with a dark hair man waiting to romance some damsel.
Just before you start writing!
Create an outline of your story. Brainstorming beforehand is incredibly helpful as it allows you to see the chain of events that develop the plot of your story. What kind of plot do you want for your main character?
✯Do you want to write a story where your protagonist is an individual who sees the world differently from others?
✯Do you want to write a story where there are two rivals fighting in a great battle?
✯Do you want to write a story that is about human psychology and moral choices?
✯Do you want to write a story based off your characters fighting against their environments in great earth quakes or life threatening tsunamis?
Whatever you choose a plot needs to have a goal, a path that the audience can comprehend and get into, when they read. The most basic example of a plot can be seen when one writes a mystery novel, they work through the mystery unravel the clues and discover the answer of who is the killer. Therefore, a plot is the unified structure of incidents in a novel, including all of the motivations behind the actions of the characters. That is why authors say having a good plot in a Novel is so important, it actively moves your story from one state to another, if not than it will lose its drama and interest.
Therefore, write an outline and discover the plot of your story before you start to write, so you can think up a powerful Climax that will leave readers wanting to read more.
I am going to write more about HOW TO WRITE A NOVEL in future Blog posts. I’ve read a lot of books, researched a bunch on how-to’s that are super informative. I also wanted to share with you all my journey on writing my own Novel.
Here are some of the best books on writing a Novel: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Writing a Novel by Tom Monteleone, Writing Science fiction and Fantasy by Crawford Kilian, The Writer’s Mentor by Cathleen Rountree, How to publish your novel by Ken Atchity, Scene & Structure by Jack M. Bickham, and How to become a famous writer before you’re dead by Ariel Gore.
A great website for how to write a Novel: http://www.how-to-write-a-book-now.com/how-to-write-a-novel.html
The Quest of wanting to write a Novel
If you are serious about writing a novel you have to make up your mind to put in long hours of hard work. Most of you may have had that moment when you feel invincible and say “I’m going to write the Novel I’ve always wanted” and you start off pumped and even produce a thousand words but soon distraction sets in or laziness and you put it on the back burner until it becomes a will do instead of a to do. You have to make a choice and a commitment. Otherwise you are just fantasizing. I’ve done this before and the only person you are fooling is yourself, there is no excuse to not write your Novel, if the story wants to be told it’s up to you to write it down.
In the end, writing is an art and a craft, but it can become something more (like a career) but that should not be the goal, the point is to write because you are a creative person, get it all out — guts and inners! Work through the hang-ups and develop your own unique style. By doing this you will become more confident. Be ready for harsh criticism though and even some failures, you will grow from them. ‘Never give up, never surrender’; Galaxy Quest said it best.
Don’t just be one of those people that say they want to write a Novel, start today and write it!
?Tell me what kind of Novel do you want to write…..?
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♠ S.L.G ♠
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