Friday, 31 August 2012

How to write a novel: Part two

You've read How to write a novel: Part one. 
You've come up with an idea, or been inspired by the Story prompts (more to come soon).
Your characters are fully formed in your head.
You have an idea of where your plot starts.

If all of the above apply to you, it's time to take the plunge and start writing your novel. Here's how ...
  1. Write something. Anything. If you're anything like me, then you'll find a blank page terrifying. The only way to banish the beast is to start writing. It doesn't matter if it's the first line of the story or the last line, whether it's a work of genius or not. But I promise, once you get that first line down, the next one will be easier!
  2. Keep writing. Well, that's obvious, right? But I think this is the hardest step. You won't always be in the mood to write. At some point (for me, always about half-way) you may well start to believe that you have written the worst book in the world, ever, and want to give up completely. You're wrong. You just have to keep going. Try and build writing into your routine. I don't think it matters whether it's a hundred words a day or five thousand, whether you manage to find fifteen minutes a day or five hours. JUST KEEP GOING!
  3. Read what you've written. Before I start my day's writing, I read what I wrote the day before. This helps me remember where I am in the story - not just in terms of plot, but in terms of the development of characters' emotions. This (hopefully) leads to a smooth, natural progression of the romance. 
  4. BUT Write without editing. This is not at all a hard and fast rule. Some people like to write one paragraph, or even one sentence at a time, rewriting and editing and getting it absolutely perfect before moving on. This is a perfectly valid way of writing. But it's not my way. If I tried to work this way, I don't think I would ever get past the first chapter, and learning to write first, edit later got my first novel finished. Try and find out what works for you. If you've a folder full of perfect first chapters, but no finished manuscript then maybe writing with editorial blinkers on will work for you too. 
And that's it. Although there are four steps listed about,what this post really boils down to is two things: start writing and keep going. If you can do that, you can write a novel.

Let me know how you get on!

Ellie x

How to write a novel: Part one
How to write a novel: Part three

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