9 Tips to Write That Novel

Writers, as a group, are peculiar people. They talk differently. They dress differently. They hide in caves and do things like read and write. Who else, on their own initiative, would come up with the idea of writing 50,000 words (actually formulated into sentences and paragraphs and coherent thoughts) in just ONE month.

November is National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to write an entire novel by the end of the month. That means that from start to finish, you have just thirty days to write a novel. If you are a procrastinator then you now have about 20 days to get it done.

No matter when you jump into the pool, here are some ideas and tips to get you to the other side.

1. If you get stuck, don’t give up. Make a new plan and jump back in. Jim at Irregular Times Diaries: Unfit Discussion talks about doing just that with his article about hopping back on the novel writing bandwagon. He may be taking a little different turn than I would, but I love his idea of breaking the novel building down to a specific time line.

2. Here to Create has really done some research. There are 85 links to help you in your fiction writing covering everything from structure to character development and everything in between.

3. Shawn’s suggestion at dcist.com is about as basic as it comes. Just get to writing is one of those ideas that have been around forever, but still holds true to this day. You won’t get anything finished if you don’t get anything started.

4. There are 10 Steps for writing a novel at Fallen Words. I like that it reminds us that we ARE writers and encourages us to follow through.

5. How Not to Write has one of those keys that every would-be novelist needs to grasp. You can’t edit as you write. Finish your first draft (and I mean completely FINISH) before you try to edit. Otherwise, you’ll spend all of your time re-writing that first chapter. I know many authors who have just given up because they couldn’t get past the first part of their novel (all because of an uncontrollable need to edit).

6. Meg, at Victorianwriter.com, is all about the synopsis. It might be a good plan for me to utilize some of her tips since the synopsis is often my stumbling point.

7. Writer’s Block can mean death for your novel. At Loosepgs, they have come up with five sure fire ways to break writer’s block forever and for anyone.

8. Many authors prefer to follow a method when they write. Randy Ingermanson has some great tips on writing with the Snowflake method – building on one sentence until you get to your end. There ideas are better explained and expanded on in the article on mywritingmentor. It’s in depth, chalked full of ideas, and will definitely get you going in the right direction.

9. If you need some more steps to get your novel written then check out 3greenfish.net. There are seven steps here that will help you get the writing done (or at least get it started).

Writing a novel, or an essay, or a letter is not easy for most people. It helps to have some steps to follow, some guidelines or a map to get you to your destination. Use these tips and sites to keep your focus on point and your motivation up so you can finally reach the goals you have been dreaming about.

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  1. One thing I’ve found helpful in the past is to have books about writing available. A lot of writers have written these — I highly recommend Stephen King’s On Writing (half-biography, half-textbook, all interesting), and for those interested in genre fiction Orson Scott Card’s book How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy is a good read. The last time I had writer’s block, my mother handed me a copy of Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, and it actually got me unstuck. Something about avocadoes, I think. Point is, sometimes you just need to read something from an authority figure. You need someone to come out of the shadows and say, “I walked this road already, you can too. Just follow me. Oh, and step over that rock — it’ll trip you up.”

  2. Hey 3 Green Fish,

    You are one of many to recommend those books. I finally went to the library and checked them out. Hopefully they’ll do for me as much as they have for you and many others.

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