Since there are so many creative people in the world, a large percentage of people at some point in their lifetime think about writing a fiction novel, and since I happen to be the world’s youngest fantasy novelist, I figured I would make this week's post on novel writing.
Now unfortunately, of that large percentage of people who want to write books, only a small percentage of them ever do, and only a fraction of a percent ever publish and see success. If you want to become one of those small percent, keep reading.
The first part of writing an excellent novel comes from inspiration. Inspiration can strike at any moment. I’ve had book ideas in the middle of class, while walking in the woods, while sitting in the living room, and even while writing other books. Keep yourself in a mindset which is open to creative ideas at all times because you never know where inspiration will strike.
Once you have your initial idea, build it from the ground up, think about the sequence of major events throughout the book. Most of the time, I have the ending of my novel in my mind before I ever even write anything down! While building up the idea, think about all of your main characters; what do they look like? What kind of personality do they have? Think, also, about your main villain. What is his/her goal? How do the main characters plan to stop him from fulfilling that goal? What are the motives of the heroes? What about the villain?
It’s not a bad idea to use some sort of mind-mapping at this point so you don’t forget your ideas. Some people have more organized ways of doing it, but I usually just get a piece of paper and write down different sections; “Plot Overview,” “Setting” “Characters” and “Elements/Morals In The Story”
That last section on the page is perhaps the most important. Wanna know what makes Harry Potter, Les Miserables, Charles Dickens, The Disney Stories, and Aesop’s fables classics? It’s the fact that they ALL display elements of the human experience that the reader can relate to or learn from. If you want to write a book that people will enjoy, write a good plot, if you want a book that people will still love and relate to ages from now, write a good message.
When you have all of these planned out, it’s time to write your first draft. A lot of people will advise you to just write what comes to your head when working on the first draft, without worrying about grammar, spelling, logic, etc. My only problem with this is that it’s a lot easier to catch and fix a mistake while you’re writing than while you’re reading. If you finish a draft with hundreds of mistakes, you’ll have to re-read and edit it many more times, and it’s likely you’ll still miss things.
When you finish your first draft, re-read, re-word, re-write, and re-arrange until everything is perfect, then you’ll want to have family and friends read through it and give you feedback. It’s also probably a good idea to tell them not to just read it and say “it’s good,” because there’s no way you can learn or fix anything about the book from that.
When self and peer-editing is done, it’s time to move on to actually publishing, which I’ll talk about in a later post.
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