Monday, June 13, 2011

How to Write a Novel: The Quick Guide

Writing a novel can bee an extremely difficult experience, and yet it remains one of the most rewarding experiences in writing. Public adoration aside, the sense of accomplishment runs deep.

To help you reach that, here are some tips on how to write a novel.

How to write a novel

Must strike a balance between planning and spontaneity

Requires a kind of daily mindset. Even when you are not writing by hand, you are writing in your mind. The characters are taking shape even as you dream. You must be careful not to expend all of your creative energy when you're away from the computer/paper. If you find yourself spending days and days on imagination and yet putting nothing on the page, then you may be losing valuable material.

Inspiration: Start Anywhere
Find the essence of your idea. What is compelling enough to make you want to write? Is it an eerie place? A gutsy protagonist? An unusual situation?
Jot this down, but you don't need to dwell on it.
Optional: write down why this idea is compelling to YOU, the author. Does it resonate with your childhood? With something you saw at work?

Planning: Start with Character and Conflict
Who is your main character? What does he or she want? What must this character do in order to reach that goal? And what are the obstacles?

Plot Points: Map Out What Happens
This should be just a very rough skeleton. Who fights who when? What makes the struggle interesting?
Be ready to adjust your outline depending on which direction the story takes.

Writing: Focus on Scene
For each of your plot points, you want to put us in the place of the events and into the mind of your protagonist. What does your leading character see, smell, and hear? What is he or she thinking? What are the loves and fears?

Tension: Focus on Information Control
You need to hook the reader. Provide enough information for the reader to feel "there," but not enough to know what's going to happen next. And this flow of information to the reader should closely match the flow of information to the lead characters. We feel the protagonist's confusion because it matches our own.

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