If you are interested in writing a fiction book, it can seem like a daunting project. Fiction books are usually longer, with most being around seventy-five-thousand words, which can make the idea of writing very intimidating and time consuming. Additionally, when writing a fiction book, there are many things to take into consideration; from subject and plot to characterization, structure, and setting, there are several different puzzle pieces that slot together to create a coherent and enjoyable novel, so making sure you have carefully considered these elements of your novel is crucial. While there are no concrete rules on how to write a novel, especially due to the wide range of genres and styles there are, there are definitely some ways in which you can make your writing experience easier.
Set a Timeframe, Deadline, or Word Count
When you have the vague goal of writing a novel, the size of the project might be so intimidating that you end up never starting, as you can’t visualize it ever ending. The first step should therefore be to establish how long you wish to take to write your novel, or how long you wish for the novel to be. If you decide you wish to complete the writing stage of your novel in one year, then the project becomes less daunting, as you know there is an end in sight. Equally, if you set a specific word count to aim for, structuring the novel will become easier and you can break the novel down into smaller parts, which in turn makes the writing easier to approach.
Know Your Idea
Once you have decided to write a book, it is of course important to have an idea of what your book is about and who your target audience is. These two elements come hand in hand when plotting out your story, as a crime story for children will be stylistically and thematically very different to a crime story for adults, despite being the same kind of story. Choosing your topic is entirely up to you; maybe you have a certain story you’ve always been wanting to tell, or you are just interested in exploring a certain topic, but either way, make sure the topic is something you enjoy and want to write about. Knowing your audience and topic is also important for when you reach the stage of approaching publishers and agents with your book, so make sure you’ve thoroughly considered these elements of your novel.
Plan and Prepare
There are many things to take into consideration when writing a novel that cannot be decided by others, such as characters, location, setting, timespan within the novel, plot, style, structure, and many other things. Knowing how you wish to execute all of these elements is important and can often be the most enjoyable part of writing. You can find resources to help you organize and develop your ideas for your novel either online or in bookshops, such as novel planners and questions about your characters and plot. A good exercise is to create a full profile of each of your characters with a list of things you as the author should know about them, such as their relationship with their parents, their greatest fears, their biggest motivation in life etc. While these elements may not ever make it into the actual story, knowing your characters and how they would behave in any given situation will create a much more believable and enjoyable story for your reader.
It is equally important to have an idea of your plot; some people prefer to decide as they go along, but if you are unsure about your writing process, making sure you’ve got your story planned out is the best way to make your project seem less intimidating. This is also a great way to avoid writer’s block, as you will have an idea of what you are writing every time you sit down to write, and will be less likely to feel lost or overwhelmed.
Once you have established what story you wish to tell and have ironed out the details, it’s time to write! While everyone has a different work style, the most important piece of advice is to just write. Whether you set up a writing schedule or a specific amount to write each day, or whether you prefer to write when inspiration strikes, getting your pen to paper – or fingers to keyboard – is the only way your book is going to come into fruition. If you are struggling with writer’s block, you might record a voice note outlining the ideas you wish to get down but cannot, but writing that down is where it becomes a novel. Equally, try to write your first draft without revising or editing as you go along. While it is tempting to try and make your first draft as perfect as possible while you are writing it, this will slow you down and make the writing more difficult; it is far easier to just write it all first and then go back and edit later with fresh eyes.
By Abigail Whitney of Likambi Global Publishing.