Most of us think that we’d like to write a novel one day, whether it’s because you’ve been writing since you were little, or you think you could do a much better job of writing a bestseller than most of the novelists out there. If it’s your dream then there are definitely ways to accomplish it. Here are some tips to help...
Have A Good Idea
First of all, it’s important to have a good idea. No one wants to read a book in which nothing happens, unless it’s completely beautifully written - and if it’s your very first attempt at writing a novel then chances are you won’t be quite up to that standard yet. So it’s important that you write a plot that people will want to read. Domestic noir is particularly big at the moment, and let’s face it, romance will absolutely always be in. Young adult fiction is also incredibly popular at the moment. Think about what you’re interested in and what you like to read to secure your own corner of the market.
Plan Out Your Novel
Secondly, it’s time to plan out your novel. No one’s saying that you have to know what happens on every single page of it - it’s important to give yourself some time and space in which to write whatever feels good, because sometimes characters are disobedient and do things that you aren’t expecting, and if your plan is too detailed then you might be thrown off a little. But knowing what’s going to happen is pretty much essential so that you have something to continue to work towards and you don’t end up writing forever and getting bored and confused.
Work Out A Schedule
It’s important to work out a schedule for yourself, or you might never get it finished. If you have a busy life then you might feel guilty about allowing yourself the time in which to write - you need to iron your kids’ school uniforms or make dinner or go to the grocery store or sew a button on a shirt… The list goes on. But it’s important to feel as though your novel is something that’s worthy of having time spent on it. Taking it seriously is important if you want to get anywhere with it - and it’s also important to pay attention to your own needs. If you love writing and you really want to get a novel published then your partner and family should support you in this aim. You don’t want to neglect them forever if it isn’t working out, but you deserve some time to follow your dreams.
There’s absolutely nothing more important than reading when it comes to writing a novel. You can be inspired by other people’s work - and you can learn from it too. If there are things that you didn’t like about a novel, try to work out why that was. Was it confusing? Was the ending unsatisfying? Did you find it hard to care about the characters? Remember that you can learn from other people’s mistakes just as much as their triumphs, and you’re much more likely to learn how to write well from a debut novel that has some flaws than from the great masters who write perfectly. Read voraciously - there will be lists of books online containing titles that are as fantastic as your dreams, there will be lists of debut novels of that year, there will be lists of books with sparky female heroines - the list goes on. Be inspired by other people to achieve your own success.
When you write that last word of your last chapter, you might feel a huge sense of relief and exultation, but the truth is that you can’t breathe out just yet because there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done. The end doesn’t actually happen when you write the words ‘The End’ - there’s still a lot that you should do. First of all, it’s important that you give yourself some time off. Not only is that crucial to keep yourself sane but you also need to make sure that you have a little space from your novel when it comes to making revisions and edits so that you can read it with a more impartial eye. Remember that a young adult novel should be about seventy thousand words, a literary novel should be eighty to a hundred thousand words, and that a fantasy novel can be up to a hundred and fifty thousand words. If your novel is dramatically longer than that, please don’t assume that it’s so good and such a work of genius that it will get published anyway. There’s a lot of competition in the author marketplace, and a novel that’s too long could count you out. Make sure that you’re harsh as you cut words and paragraphs out. When you’re happy with it, give it to someone else to read who will be totally honest with you about it. There might be awkward phrasings or plot twists that don’t make sense that you haven’t noticed simply because you’re too close to the novel to be objective.
Prepare For Knock backs