A successfully completed novel is the ultimate accomplishment in any writer’s catalogue. Unfortunately, it is often the most elusive one. Learning how to write a Novel require dedication, creativity, and patience that far outweigh the workload required to put together an article or even a short story. You must develop quirky, interesting characters while maintaining a coherent storyline and keeping your readers engaged. This is far more difficult than it sounds, and many potentially great novels have been scrapped because the writers are unable to put all of these things together. If you are an aspiring novelist, you’ve probably experienced some of the frustration that goes along with this. However, there are some tips you can take advantage of to help you learn how to write a novel.
Before you just go putting your words down onto paper, you should have a plan of action. It’s fine to write down ideas that come to you in the moment, but you should have a set schedule of when and where you are going to do your writing and editing. Daily writing is a must if you want to keep your ideas flowing and cohesive. Setting aside a time every day allows you to create consistency and set deadlines, holding yourself accountable for the progress of your novel. You’ll want to put together at least a loose novel structure and book outline to guide your thoughts and stories. When you have goals, you’ll be more motivated to achieve them. Harness this motivation to really dig into your creative side and write the best novel that you can.
Determine a minimum daily word goal
Setting a minimum word goal forces you to work at least a certain amount of every day. You can always go over your goal if you find yourself in a good zone, but you should never allow yourself to fail to reach the minimum. Some days, this will be extremely difficult and other days it may only take a few hours. This is all part of the life of the writer. If you are committed to your daily word goal, you’ll begin to notice yourself becoming a more proficient writer and being able to better stick to your plan. How long is a novel? There is no correct answer, but if you give yourself a minimum word goal, you’ll be on the right track.
Find the right place
If you can work from your bedroom without distractions, that’s fine. However, you may find that you are more productive when you move your writing to another room or a different place altogether. If you have a home office, that can be sufficient, but many writers find a coffee shop, bar, or library in their neighborhood from which to write. This helps to put you into the work mindset rather than simply being at home with some work to do. If you find the proper atmosphere for your writing, you’ll notice that your words will be flowing more freely and you’ll be able to separate your work from the rest of your life more easily.
Pick your story
If you’re going to write a novel, you need to have a story to tell. Maybe you’ve had several ideas spinning around in your head, unable to choose one that really sticks. If you are serious about writing a good book, you’re going to have to pick an idea and go with it. Pick one at random if you have to but start outlining it and asking yourself questions about the characters, the arguments, and the overall plot. You don’t have to know exactly where the story is going or how to start a story, but you should have some idea about the central themes and ideas. If you don’t, then you risk ending up with an assortment of haphazard chapters that have no rhyme or reason when read together.
Set Proofreading and Editing Times
You don’t have to proofread at the end of every writing session, but you should set aside time to look back and edit your novel at least once a week. Perhaps take a day off of writing new material in order to re-read what you’ve already written and fix up any errors. You may have been suffering severe writer’s block a few days ago, but looking back with a fresh, rested mind may help to spark ideas that you can add to really round out your last chapter. Some things will seem so obvious that you’ll wonder how you ever managed to miss them. This will work twofold, as these newfound ideas may inspire you to continue writing the rest of your book, helping you make progress that you weren’t originally planning on making.
You may think that your book is coming along just fine, but it can be extremely helpful to have another set of eyes on your progress. This can be a professional editor, a best friend, a spouse, or another family member, but there should be someone with whom you can share your progress. They may be able to catch something that seems out of place or comes across as confusing. Even if it makes sense to you, it’s quite possible that your audience won’t understand the message that you are trying to convey. By seeking feedback from other people, you can invite constructive criticism and allow yourself to see your novel from another perspective. This is key in helping you to edit and rewrite portions of your book that may be holding it back. Don’t let your ego get the best of you – accept this feedback as a tool to help you improve your writing and increase your chances of finishing a successful novel. If you know another novelist, you can go over some of the steps to writing a book that you may not have considered before.
Although you should be writing on a consistent schedule, you’ll want to take breaks to prevent yourself from burning out. If you write for too long, your brain will become weary and the quality of your material will begin to degrade quickly. It’s okay to take breaks as long as you are keeping up with your own deadlines and producing quality content. If you’ve noticed that you haven’t gotten anywhere in multiple days of writing, consider taking a short vacation, or at least stepping away from your novel for a few days at a time. This can go a long way in helping you find clarity and allowing your mind to access new, fresh ideas that may have seemed impossible to find when you were struggling to write in the previous days. You don’t want your novel to become stale in the middle, so it’s important that you keep your brain from doing the same thing throughout your writing process.
Finish Your Book
When all is said and done, it’s completely up to you how and when you are going to finish your book. If you’ve stuck to your schedule and followed your rules, you should eventually be ready to finish your novel. You may have changed the beginning, ending, and middle dozens of times before you reached this point, but it will all be worth it when you write down the final words of the final chapter. Make sure that you don’t force the ending just so that you can say that you finished. You want the conclusion to come naturally, drawing your masterpiece to a close that satisfies both you and your readers. You may be getting antsy knowing that you’re almost finished with your book, but this is no time to cut corners or race to the finish line. Treat the end of your novel just as you treated the rest of it – put just as much of your blood, sweat, and tears into it. Maintaining the same level of passion throughout the book will ensure that your final word is just as fresh as your first.