Dog's Advisory Board: The 7 Steps to Writing a Novel
Advice from DAB member Flynn on the 7 Steps to Writing a Novel
1. Say goodbye to all your friends
When you begin to write a novel it is probably best to say goodbye to your social life. A clean break is always best and when you become more invested in your characters you will feel less invested in the people around you. As you open yourself up to the world you have created, you will shut yourself off from the world around you.
2. Open a blank page in Word and clear a few days in your schedule
As many of us have, you will now stare at the empty page for a few hours if not days. You may write a few sentences and then delete them and you have returned to square one (welcome back!). You may format your page and create an interesting heading, maybe you will add some page numbers to your one, single, blank, white page.
Either way… you definitely need to factor in this time when planning your novel.
This leads us to step 3…
3. Plan your novel
Unfortunately, there is no right and wrong way to plan, just go with what works for you. Some people prefer not to plan at all (I, myself, fall into that category) and this is an effective form of procrastination.
Create personable characters that the reader will love with really interesting names (that don’t have very many letters in them, because you are going to be writing them a lot and if they have too many letters you are going to regret it later). Note: If you want to be really cool, spend two hours researching a name with the perfect meaning when you translate it into Greek that no one is going to even figure out.
5. Figure out what is going to happen!
A great part of writing a novel is figuring out what is actually going to happen and what emotional rollercoaster you are going to force your readers through, so think about this before you begin to write. Please don’t kill off ALL the characters if you don’t have to.
6. Place the first words on the page
Start with an interesting opening, something that catches the reader's attention and makes them want to continue reading the work that you have spent hours perfectly crafting. No pressure, but the beginning can make or break the novel. Take some advice from my 12-year-old self, don’t begin with “Can you pass the honey, Mum?” because (apparently) that isn’t very interesting.
These first few words may seem like a big deal, but once they are on the page you can take a deep breath and continue writing - you can always come and change them 17 thousand times in the near future.
7. Dedicate a rather large chunk of your waking life to this book
No matter what you think, this will consume your life so it is best to be prepared for this so you can embrace it.
Good luck with your writing!!
New Beginnings - January 2016
Different Time - coming soon