Learning how to write a novel can be a frustrating process. How do you start the book? How do you plan it? How do you finish it if you experience writer’s block? These questions, and others, have troubled many aspiring authors.
In this article, I’ll share with you my time-tested tips for learning how to write a novel. These strategies are the result of my having published a dozen books over the past several years. Perhaps they will benefit you, too.
1) Analyze novels similar to the one you want to write.
Want to write mysteries? Take a published mystery and break it down into its fundamental components: plot, characters, and background. Examine what happens in each chapter and how it moves the story forward. Evaluate the role that each character plays in the plot, and how they interact with one another. Analyze how the setting impacts the story.
Breaking down a book in this way can be a time-intensive process, but it’s invaluable. You’ll literally discover how to build a novel from the ground up.
2) Start working, and work consistently.
Even if you’ve followed my first tip, completing a project as long and complex as a full-length book can seem like an impossible undertaking. It can be so intimidating that you delay getting started at all.
Don’t wait. Start today. Do just a little bit–maybe only a page. And tomorrow, do another page.
Writing every day helps your mind remain “in the book” so to speak. Plus, every day that you work, you get one step closer to finishing.
3) Finish it, no matter what.
At some point while you’re working, you will be absolutely convinced that your story is dumb, boring, cliched, or whatever, and feel a strong urge to set it aside and start something new. You must resist this. It is nothing but ordinary self-doubt, and every author experiences it.
Finish the story, no matter what. If the book truly has problems, you can always go back and correct them during a revision–after you’ve reached the end, that is.