Sunday, May 8, 2011

Step by Step Guide to Completing a Novel, Part 1

"You should write a book," "I've got a great idea for a novel," "I've always wanted to write a book."

When people talk to me about writing I often hear from them that they've always wanted to write a book. Or they tell me they've got great ideas for stories. Or maybe someone has always told them they should write a book.

My response is always, "If you'd like to write a book, you should do it." In fact, if we have something we'd really like to do, perhaps a task on our "Bucket List," we should do it.

Often times, however, the new writer doesn't know where to begin. This week and next week this blog will set forth a step by step guide to completing a novel. Whether the writer wants to publish the book or just do it for the enjoyment and sense of fulfillment he'll feel from the accomplishment, this guide will help him reach his goal.

Step by Step Guide to Completing a Novel, Part 1

1. Commit yourself to accomplishing the goal.

2. Study every book you can about the writing craft.

3. While reading and studying craft books, write everyday.

4. Use ideas gleaned from your study of writing books to help you prepare to write your first draft.

5. Complete as much research as you feel is necessary before you begin to write your book, but don't include everything you've learned in your book. TMI for the reader.

6. Fully develop your main characters, and develop minor characters as much as necessary.

7. Write an outline, synopsis or chapter summary so you have a guide for your storyline.

8. Keeping your research, character sketches and outline close at hand, begin writing your first draft.

9. Write every day whether you are inspired to do so or not. If you look upon completing a novel in the same way you regard any other job in your life, your chances of success are greatly increased.

10. Once you've completed your first draft, set it aside for at least several weeks.

Part two of this guide will appear here next week (the week of May 15). Hope to see you here again then. :-)

Have a great week!


Fran Shaff, Award-Winning Author

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