Writing is a creative process, the key word being process. Crafting a story takes time, determination, and patience. The best way to produce a novel is to follow achievable steps. This serves two purposes. One, it makes you realize the amount of work that is ahead. Two, it focuses your attention on the details, and the order they need done.
Example: I want to write a novel by the end of the year. The novel will be a final draft ready to send to an editor.
Note: I did not say publish. Why not? It is because you do not know if you will get to that point by the end of the year. Writing a novel is a major accomplishment. It deserves to be seen that way. If you finish your novel and have a final draft before the end of the year, you can set a new goal of publishing by a certain date.
1. Develop Characters
What is your main character’s conflict? What goal do they want to reach? Who or what is standing in their way? What do you hope to resolve by the end of the novel?
To help with this part, I use index cards. Written on each card is a character’s name, age, and relation to others. I use push pins to place them on a board. Below a person’s card I put their children’s card. Beside each person I put their brothers and sisters. This creates a family tree. It helps to illustrate how relationships affect the overall story flow.
2. Outline Story
This part develops your character’s timeline. Write the main scenes on individual index cards. Then you can move the cards around until you find the perfect sequence.
Write the outline and save the file to refer back to later.
3. Write Chapters
Have beta readers give you feedback. People who love to read are candidates that fit this description. So are writers, teachers, and friends. Tell them exactly what you are looking for in feedback. A deadline and notes that are legible from them are a must. Make them aware that it is not to share unless you have given them permission. Corrections should be in red ink or red type any color that is not black or blue. Grammar and content should be addressed. The chapters need marked for any inconsistency or confusion. What caused this should be explained. Give readers a few chapters to read while you write more of your novel.
4. Make Revisions
Beta readers might reread sections after your corrections. Then make final edits to your story. Once you have the final revisions done, the next step would be to have an editor give you feedback. Your final version of your novel is now ready to send to an editor. Go celebrate before moving on to the publishing process which starts with hiring an editor, more revisions, cover design, book blurbs on the back cover, distribution and marketing. Publishing deserves it’s own steps.
Congrats on achieving your goal of writing a novel.
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