You want to write a novel

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With determination and hard work it certainly won't be impossible, but before you get stuck into writing, you must be as prepared as can be. 

It's not as easy as people think, and there will be a bumpy road ahead. But with these tips you're sure to be well on your way!

1) PLAN/OUTLINE

Here's the not so fun but necessary part!

Although you don't need to have every single minute detail determined already about your story, it would be beneficial to draft a plan or outline of the main story arc.  This enables you to see where the peak moments of you story will be, and how you will drive the narrative towards it's final climax. Have a think and bounce around a few ideas, just make sure it's grounded in the beginning so you know where your writing is headed! 


2) THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT

Getting the length of an opening can be a challenge, but as long as it provides a decent introduction to the world and your main character, be careful not to bore or bombard your reader with long winded description. Remember action speaks louder than words! 

Make it exciting, make the reader want to turn the page, NOT close the book. 

3) STYLE IS EVERYTHING

You need to set the tone immediately, it's what draws the reader into your world and ultimately will sell your book. How do you want to start your novel, from the point of view of your main character, a dream sequence, the point of action or a conversation? 

The world is your oyster at this point, so make sure your first impression to the reader is the best one it can be!

4)  THE FIRST DRAFT


You're getting there, the outline is done, you've decided on the length and style of the story - now, the best bit! 

Picking up the pen, the moment you've been waiting for. Writing the first draft is equal parts exhilarating as it is frustrating. You won't be happy with your first draft, it will change daily and that's normal. It's part of the process until you reach the magic destination of a finished final draft! Evaluate at the end of editing the first draft, have you managed to set up for the rest of the plot?

5) KILL YOUR DARLINGS

You will soon realise that less is more and sometimes you've got to be brutal and cut 'the fluff' in order to remain true to your character and their story arc. Remember, instead of saying how a character feels, show the reader how they feel with description. 

Ie. The girl cried as she walked home = boring

OR

Her stomach ached as she struggled to her knees, brushing the last few tears away = Descriptive 

Make it interesting and most importantly, DON'T treat the reader as though they're stupid, let them think!

6) FEEDBACK

It's done! You've conquered the first draft and are on top of the world. And so you should be! 

Now, it is essential to find somebody to read it. You can't be protective, shy or insulted. If they're a trusted and respected source then it will only be constructive feedback. You need to know about the things that don't work so well and need some tweaking. 

They are helping you, remember you're trying to sell to a readership here not just your mother! 

Take it all on board with a good attitude, and I'm sure it will be the beginning of something wonderful. Now, get started on that outline...



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