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The conflict that has been building throughout now crescendos to a final, ultimate confrontation, and all the major book-length setups are paid off. In the original version of the movie, the scene felt flat. So the filmmakers added the fact that the Death Star was on the verge of destroying the rebel base. Reward their sticking with you and let them see the fireworks. A great ending :. Take your time and write a fully satisfying ending that drops the curtain with a resounding thud.
How long it takes you to be happy with every word before you start pitching your manuscript to the market is how long it should take. How long it will take you depends on your goals and your schedule. A ,word manuscript, including revision, should be doable—even for a beginner—in six to nine months.
Develop and practice the right habits , set a regular writing schedule, and stick to it. If it was easy, everyone would do it. Every published novelist yes, even any big name you can think of was once right where you are—unpublished and unknown. Resolve to not quit, and you will write a novel. Most importantly, your idea must compel you to write it. You should be able to tell by their expression and their tone of voice whether they really like it or are just being polite.
Share Pin 1K. So how do I overcome them and succeed? First, you have to write a novel. Want to download this step guide so you can read it whenever you wish? Click here. Contents Nail down a winning story idea.
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Create an unforgettable main character. Expand your idea into a plot. Research, research, research. Choose your Voice and Point of View. Start in medias res in the midst of things. Make the predicament appear hopeless. Bring it all to a climax. Leave readers wholly satisfied. Step 1: Nail-down a winning story idea. Is your novel concept special? Big enough to warrant 75, to , words? Powerful enough to hold the reader all the way? Step 3: Create an unforgettable main character. Your lead can have human flaws, but those should be redeemable. For each character, ask: What do they want?
What or who is keeping them from getting it? What will they do about it? What is their role in the main story?
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To be memorable, your characters must also be believable. Inject them with humanity. Step 4: Expand your idea into a plot. My book sales took off when I started doing this: Plunge your main character into terrible trouble as soon as possible. Everything your character does to try to get out of that trouble makes it only worse… …until the predicament appears hopeless. Finally, everything your hero learns from trying to get out of the terrible trouble completes his character arc and gives him what he needs to succeed in the end. Plot Elements Writing coaches call by different names their own suggested story structures, but the basic sequence is largely similar.
They all include some variation of: An Opener The Inciting Incident that changes everything A series of crises that build tension A Climax A Conclusion Regardless how you plot your novel, your primary goal must be to grab readers by the throat from the get-go and never let go. Accurate details add flavor and authenticity. Get details wrong and your reader loses confidence—and interest—in your story. Research essentials: Consult Atlases and World Almanacs to confirm geography and cultural norms and find character names that align with the setting, period, and customs.
If your Middle Eastern character flashes someone a thumbs up, be sure that means the same in his culture as it does in yours. YouTube and online search engines can yield tens of thousands of results. Just be careful to avoid wasting time getting drawn into clickbait videos Use a Thesaurus , but not to find the most exotic word. People love to talk about their work, and often such conversations lead to more story ideas. Resist the urge to shortchange the research process. Step 6: Choose your point of view. Read current popular fiction to see how the bestsellers do it.
Step 7: Begin in medias res in the midst of things. You must grab your reader by the throat on page one. Give them just enough to engage their mental projectors. Now, everything he does to get out of that terrible trouble must make it progressively worse. Conflict is the engine of fiction. His trouble should escalate logically because of his attempts to fix it.
Writing coaches have various labels for this crucial plot point. Step Bring it all to a climax. That skyrocketed the tension and sent the stakes over the top. But remember, the climax is not the end. Step Leave readers wholly satisfied. A great ending : Honors the reader for his investment of time and money. Is the best of all your options. If it comes down to clever, quirky, or emotional, always aim for the heart. Keeps your hero on stage till the last word. Because climaxes are so dramatic, endings often just peter out. It should tie up loose ends, sure, but it also needs to pack an emotional wallop.
Frequently Asked Questions 1. It will pull from you everything you know and everything you are. Second, it should take as long as necessary. So you want to write a book. Becoming an author can change your life—not to mention give you the ability to impact thousands, even millions, of people. However, writing a book is no cakewalk.
You can do this—and more quickly than you might think, because these days you have access to more writing tools than ever. The key is to follow a proven, straightforward, step-by-step plan. Yes, I realize averaging over four books per year is more than you may have thought humanly possible. But trust me—with a reliable blueprint , you can get unstuck and finish your book. This is my personal approach to how to write a book. Something to keep them sharp. Enough fuel to keep them running.
You get the picture. In fact, I started my career on my couch facing a typewriter perched on a plank of wood suspended by two kitchen chairs. Naturally, the nicer and more comfortable and private you can make your writing lair I call mine my cave , the better. If you dedicate a room solely to your writing, you can even write off a portion of your home mortgage, taxes, and insurance proportionate to that space.
Some write in restaurants and coffee shops. My first fulltime job was at a newspaper where 40 of us clacked away on manual typewriters in one big room—no cubicles, no partitions, conversations hollered over the din, most of my colleagues smoking, teletype machines clattering. Cut your writing teeth in an environment like that, and anywhere else seems glorious.
How to Write a Novel and get Published: a Step-by-Step Guide
In the newspaper business there was no time to handwrite our stuff and then type it for the layout guys. So I have always written at a keyboard. Most authors do, though some handwrite their first drafts and then keyboard them onto a computer or pay someone to do that. No publisher I know would even consider a typewritten manuscript, let alone one submitted in handwriting.
Whether you prefer a Mac or a PC, both will produce the kinds of files you need. It works well on both PCs and Macs, and it nicely interacts with Word files. Just remember, Scrivener has a steep learning curve, so familiarize yourself with it before you start writing. If I were to start my career again with that typewriter on a plank, I would not sit on that couch. The chair I work in today cost more than my first car! As you grow as a writer and actually start making money at it, you can keep upgrading your writing space.
Where I work now is light years from where I started. Writing a book feels like a colossal project, because it is! But your manuscript will be made up of many small parts. See your book for what it is: a manuscript made up of sentences, paragraphs, pages. Start by distilling your big book idea from a page or so to a single sentence—your premise. Before you can turn your big idea into one sentence, which can then be expanded to an outline , you have to settle on exactly what that big idea is.
It should excite not only you, but also anyone you tell about it. The market is crowded, the competition fierce. Your premise alone should make readers salivate. Does it have legs? In other words, does it stay in your mind, growing and developing every time you think of it?
10 Ridiculously Simple Steps for Writing a Book
But fashion some sort of a directional document that provides structure and also serves as a safety net. Potential agents or publishers require this in your proposal. What do you want your reader to learn from your book, and how will you ensure they learn it? You may recognize this novel structure illustration. Did you know it holds up—with only slight adaptations—for nonfiction books too? Make promises early, triggering your reader to anticipate fresh ideas, secrets, inside information, something major that will make him thrilled with the finished product.
You can even make the how-to project look impossible until you pay off that setup with your unique solution. Keep your outline to a single page for now. Your outline must serve you. If that means Roman numerals and capital and lowercase letters and then Arabic numerals, you can certainly fashion it that way. Simply start with your working title, then your premise, then—for fiction, list all the major scenes that fit into the rough structure above. For nonfiction, try to come up with chapter titles and a sentence or two of what each chapter will cover.
Once you have your one-page outline, remember it is a fluid document meant to serve you and your book. Expand it, change it, play with it as you see fit—even during the writing process. That may consist of three sessions of two hours each, two sessions of three hours, or six one-hour sessions—whatever works for you. I recommend a regular pattern same times, same days that can most easily become a habit. Having trouble finding the time to write a book? You have to make it. Something in your calendar will likely have to be sacrificed in the interest of writing time.
Never sacrifice your family on the altar of your writing career. Many writers insist they have no time to write, but they always seem to catch the latest Netflix original series, or go to the next big Hollywood feature. They enjoy concerts, parties, ball games, whatever. How important is it to you to finally write your book?
What will you cut from your calendar each week to ensure you give it the time it deserves? To ensure you finish your book, set your own deadline—then consider it sacred. Now determine—and enter in your calendar—the number of pages you need to produce per writing session to meet your deadline. If it proves unrealistic, change the deadline now. If you have no idea how many pages or words you typically produce per session, you may have to experiment before you finalize those figures. Divide by 50 weeks accounting for two off-weeks , and you get eight pages per week.
Now is the time to adjust these numbers,while setting your deadline and determining your pages per session. Or you know your book will be unusually long. Change the numbers to make it realistic and doable, and then lock it in. Remember, your deadline is sacred. I quit fretting and losing sleep over procrastinating when I realized it was inevitable and predictable, and also that it was productive. Maybe it was at first. If you have to go back in and increase the number of pages you need to produce per session, do that I still do it all the time.
Have you found yourself writing a sentence and then checking your email? Writing another and checking Facebook? Then you just have to check out that precious video from a talk show where the dad surprises the family by returning from the war. That leads to more and more of the same. Look into these apps that allow you to block your email, social media, browsers, game apps, whatever you wish during the hours you want to write. Some carry a modest fee, others are free. Your details and logic and technical and historical details must be right for your novel to be believable.
The last thing you want is even a small mistake due to your lack of proper research. Your credibility as an author and an expert hinges on creating trust with your reader. That dissolves in a hurry if you commit an error. Talk back to yourself if you must. It may sound silly, but acknowledging yourself as a writer can give you the confidence to keep going and finish your book. Not you-first, not book-first, not editor-, agent-, or publisher-first. Certainly not your inner circle- or critics-first.
When fans tell me they were moved by one of my books, I think back to this adage and am grateful I maintained that posture during the writing. So, naturally, you need to know your reader. Rough age? General interests? Attention span? When in doubt, look in the mirror.
How to write a novel step by step | Free guide to writing a novel
The surest way to please your reader is to please yourself. Write what you would want to read and trust there is a broad readership out there that agrees. Oh, it can still change if the story dictates that. But settling on a good one will really get you off and running. Great opening lines from other classics may give you ideas for yours. In a novel, if everything is going well and everyone is agreeing, your reader will soon lose interest and find something else to do—like watch paint dry. Are two of your characters talking at the dinner table? Have one say something that makes the other storm out.
Some deep-seeded rift in their relationship has surfaced. Thrust people into conflict with each other. Check out some of the current bestselling nonfiction works to see how writers accomplish this. Tension is the secret sauce that will propel your reader through to the end. Many of us are perfectionists and find it hard to get a first draft written—fiction or nonfiction—without feeling compelled to make every sentence exactly the way we want it. Deep as I am into a long career, I still have to remind myself of this every writing day. I cannot be both creator and editor at the same time.
That slows me to a crawl, and my first draft of even one brief chapter could take days. Our job when writing that first draft is to get down the story or the message or the teaching—depending on your genre. Imagine yourself wearing different hats for different tasks , if that helps—whatever works to keep you rolling on that rough draft.
This chore is about creating.
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Some like to write their entire first draft before attacking the revision. As I say, whatever works. I alternate creating and revising. The first thing I do every morning is a heavy edit and rewrite of whatever I wrote the day before.
Then I switch hats, tell Perfectionist Me to take the rest of the day off, and I start producing rough pages again. Compartmentalize your writing vs. Most who fail at writing a book tell me they give up somewhere in what I like to call The Marathon of the Middle. The solution there is in the outlining stage , being sure your middle points and chapters are every bit as valuable and magnetic as the first and last. If you strategize the progression of your points or steps in a process—depending on nonfiction genre—you should be able to eliminate the strain in the middle chapters.
For novelists, know that every book becomes a challenge a few chapters in. Force yourself back to your structure, come up with a subplot if necessary, but do whatever you need to so your reader stays engaged. Fiction writer or nonfiction author, The Marathon of the Middle is when you must remember why you started this journey in the first place.
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