How to Start Writing a Novel

It’s all too often I hear from aspiring authors who want to write a book but don’t know where to start. Writing a book is hard, and writing a book that people want to read is even harder. Today I want to talk about a few things; brainstorming story ideas, how you should go about outlining and planning things, and how to actually sit back and start writing your novel.

Brainstorm:

There are a few things you need to do before you can start writing a novel. As much as I’d like to say that it’s as simple as sitting down and writing, the truth is that there’s a lot of prep work that goes into a novel before you start writing. You need to discover that whats you inspired to write. Are you inspired by a book you read? A location in nature? Or maybe there was a movie you watched that gave you an idea? Find your inspiration and keep the juices flowing. Once you know what inspires you, it’s time to start brainstorming. Take any ideas you come up with, no matter how silly they may sound, and write them down. No idea is a bad idea. The point is to get your thoughts on paper. It doesn’t have to be sentences. Just write quick notes to yourself about what you think your story might be about.

Outline Your Novel:

Now that you have a general idea of what you want your novel to be about, you should start thinking about how the plot will form. Make sure your book has a clear drive that will hook a reader in from the beginning. To help create your drive, try outlining your novel chapter by chapter using whichever technique that works. Sticky-notes, flashcards, a notebooks, whatever works best for you.

Not everyone outlines their novels, and by no means is it required, but if you create an outline for your novel, you’ll have an easier time writing. I’m famous for my ability to create an outline and ditch it half-way through my manuscript, and that’s okay too! There’s no wrong way to write a novel.

Research:

Before you start writing your novel, it’s a good idea to do research on any topics you feel like you need to know more about before you start writing. You can research as you write, but it can be really frustrating to be in the middle of writing and have to stop because you don’t know the facts behind the disease or sickness your main character has. Plus, research tends to give you ideas for other areas of your novel, so Google away!

Where to Start:

It’s time to finally start writing. Everything you’ve done up to this step was just preparation and now it’s time for the real thing. So, where do you start? The short answer is anywhere. Writing the first sentence of a novel is daunting. When you sit down to write your first chapter you’ll probably be stuck. Where do you begin? My suggestion is to start writing whatever scene feels real to you, and this doesn’t has to be a scene that takes place at the beginning of the book. You can start writing a book from the middle, right before the climax and that’s okay! All that matters is getting the words down. You can fix any issues later in draft two.

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One thought on “How to Start Writing a Novel

  1. I always have writer’s block! It can be so intimidating to stare at a blank computer screen. What I usually do when I have writer’s block is listen to music, or free write!

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