30 Tips for Writing a Great Novel
1. The First And Most Significant Goal Is To Finish What You’ve Started
Let’s get this straight from the beginning: if you start writing a novel, plan ahead to finish it. The true writer always finishes what he begins. Don’t let boredom or lazyness to slow you down.
2. Right Momentum Is Key to Success
Writing a novel is all about a right momentum. Every time you stop to make a revision, you loose it. Don’t stop to revise a scene somewhere in the middle of a novel, to look up a word, or even change the plot. It’s better to leave notes in draft. For example, highlight empty spaces or fill text with checkmarks. In such way, you will know where to come back later.
3. The First Draft Is All About Brainstorming
It is important to realize that the first draft doesn’t need to be perfect. There is also no need to finish it in record time. This is just the first draft, so it can and even should look like a warzone. Don’t be too harsh and strict, the main thing is that you did it, and now can move forward.
4. Write Write Write
A true author should find joy in writing his/her first draft without caring too much about its content. It is okay to get messy sometimes. Have fun and enjoy what you do. Yes, it may look like you are just messing it up at first, but later you’ll find treasure amongst it all.
5. The First Draft Is A Place for Experimentation
Don’t be afraid to take risks. Always try new things. This may refer to playing with language or killing an important character. Experiment. You will get a chance to revise in the subsequent drafts. Some parts will be deleted, but those that stay will feel priceless.
6. Rewrite Rewrite Rewrite
As it was already mentioned, writing is about making the words, editing is about making them sound right. Develop your writing, make your novel grow up. Do this with the help of rewriting. Rewrite. And rewrite. And rewrite. Do it as many times as needed till it is what it should be.
7. You Can Have As Many Revisions As You Choose
Unlike in other jobs, where people have one chance to succeed, the novelist has many chances to correct mistakes. He can keep adding, rewriting, fixing, changing up until he’s completely satisfied.
8. Know When To Stop
Every writer has to stop sometime. Otherwise, it may get worse. They say the perfect is worst enemy of the good. A novelist should continue writing till it’s good, but not till it is perfect. There’s no way to define what perfect is, therefore, just do it good and let other people improve it.
9. Know When To Use Team Effort
A novel is a matter of team work. Each writer needs readers, editors, as well as an agent. It goes without saying that quite often writers become the worst judges of their own novels. That is why they need someone to tell them what is real, and what’s illusion.
10. Escape Any Kind Of Hate
Readers change their tastes from time to time. Last week they may loved your novel, but this week they hate it already. This is absolutely normal. Get over it. Don’t let the hate spoil everything, and don’t fell any hate yourself. Never abandon your novel cause of insecurity feelings. It happens that the work you thought is your worst actually turns out to be your best. Don’t worry. Just write.
11. Less Talking, More Writing
Eventually, each writer has to just sit down at his desk, focus on the project, travel in his mind to an imaginary world with made-up characters. It may take days, weeks, or even years. That’s just the way it is.
12. Never Abandon Your Writing
Never abandon your novel. Just don’t do it. Sometimes it feels like novel just isn’t working. Hopefully, it doesn’t happen often. It’s fine. Still, don’t give up without a fight. You put much effort into that work. Break it into parts, take what works in few and apply it other. Sometimes you have to destroy something in order to create something new.
13. You Can Write A Novel Really Fast
Yes, it is hard to write a lot per one day. Hard, but not impossible. You can work really hard and finish your novel in a week or two. Just acknowledge that it will not be very good. At least, not yet, because you can’t write and rewrite that fast.
14. Say Something Important
Reader are going to spend their time with you, give you a few hours of their life. Make sure this time is spent wisely and on value-adding activity. Say something that matters. Make your novel meaningful to you so it can be meaningful to your readers. Bring your heart and passion to it. Don’t simply write. Write about something important. Don’t just entertain. You are a storyteller and carry huge responsibility.
15. Give It A Nice Shape
A book page should not look like a cummings poem or a giant wall of text. The shape of each page matters a lot. Maintain a balance. Emptiness and text should play equal parts.
16. Take The Numbers Into Account
The ideal novel usually consists of dialogue, action, and description and exposition. The percentage of each attribute is different. Each writer decides which part to award the major percentage of total to. Still, it is advised to avoid heavy descriptions.
17. The Role Of Dialogue
Each dialogue is an action. These are not two different things, but one. Consider the following: action refers to doing something. Dialogue refers to talking, and talking is actually doing something.Moreover, a dialogue can start when characters do something else, like driving a car, making breakfast, etc. The thing is that characters don’t just stand still and talk. It’s not like they are puppets in a theater. The task of an author is to find language that works well with movement and motion.
18. What About Description?
Description works best when it’s subtle. When there’s too much of description it gets static. Describing is more like painting, not working with a hammer. All probably know that painting’s often done in short strokes, very delicately. It’s enough to pick one to two-three details and stop right there.
19. The Reader Is Your Greatest Critic
It is completely up to you what is there in your book for the readers, whether it’s a psychological thriller or a romance. Still, your readers want to work. They wish to fill in the unmentioned details, make their own investment in it, make their own decisions and conclusions. Don’t write everything. Leave some pieces out. These could be parts of a plot, some dialogues or descriptions. The reader’s imagination matters just as much as writer’s. Make them feel important and appreciated.
20. Too Many Characters In One Book
Sometimes, novels have way too many characters. Not that there is a set number, still it’s limited by author’s ability to make them realize their full potential, as if they were real people. If there’s not enough room or time to give them a soul, then it will be better off without them.
21. Genre Matters, Doesn’t It?
If a story is good, it’s good. The same with novels: a good novel is a good novel. You just write the novel you want to write without thinking much of its genre. Eventually you find yourself in a situation where you have to think about it. The thing is that bookstores, agents, publishers — they all care about is genre. A writer must make his/her book fit somewhere, although, this fit doesn’t have to be perfect.
22. It’s The Middle Where Things Got Escalated
The beginning of a novel is relatively easy, so is the ending. This is the middle where it all gets complicated. You can manage it in a few ways. First of all, any new beginning and early ending is a peaks and valley of narrative. Next, there got to be some pressure on the story, in order to make it interesting to read. Finally, treat the second act like there’s two more in it.
23. Make It Interesting To The Readers
The secret to success is in variety. It refers to variety in everything, from scenes to characters to moods and settings. A novel is really boring if it’s just one thing. It definitely needs some mixing up. As an example, consider a long car ride, like say eight or ten hours long. Sounds exhausting, doesn’t it? Don’t stay at one place for too long, move forward, make your journey exciting.
24. Follow Your Path
It is true that every author writes a novel in his/her own way, which is unique and unlike all the rest. Each author has his/her own demands in terms of novels they write. Nobody can tell a writer how to write his novel. Every author takes his/her own way and follows the necessary path. The main thing is to have your own voice and be able to exercise it. Writer’s voice is what helps to get through darks times and publish a novel.
25. Writing A Novel That Will Be Published
Frankly speaking, it is not that difficult to write a novel. All one needs to do is just throw some words on paper, one page atop another, until he/she’s got a bunch of these to form a book. Difficulties appear when you want to write a really good novel, a novel that will be published. A novel that readers would like to read and, consequesntly, buy must be an original work, there must be something in it, something about a particular writer, that nobody else has.The writer tells his/her story in a way they want to tell it. This is the way that writers actually learn to write well and clearly, learn their craft and how to develop their voice.
26. Write the best novel opening lines
When you come to the library or to the bookstore to get an exciting book to read, what do you typically do to see if the novel writer is really good? Most probably, you look through the opening sentences of novels to evaluate the style of writing and the ability of the author to grab your attention. It is not the most effective way to judge the novel; still, many readers use it to judge by something more than a cover. Writing a compelling first line is your chance to make a strong first impression on the potential readers and get them hooked to the very last pages. If you are still considering how to start writing a novel, you may use a killer opening line as your ground zero.
27. Choose the most appropriate length of a novel
Before you get worried how to get started writing, you should get the answers to several important questions related to the technical aspects of composing novels. First of all, you can be off the mark even with the best novel outline and plenty of excellent ideas if you do not know how many words should be in an average piece of writing. The book can be rejected only on the grounds of the wrong length. It is recommended to keep the average word count of a common novel in the range from 70,000 to 120,000 words with the most popular length of approximately 90,000 words. How many pages is 200000 words? Is such length justified? Will an average reader cope with such an extensive text? In most cases, successful writers, who publish at least one novel every two years, have never broken the barrier of 100,000 words. So, instead of cutting unnecessary words later, keep in mind that you should better be mercifully brief.
28. Think about how not to start a novel
You have already collected ideas on how to start a novel to make it bright; however, it is even more important to know how to prevent making serious blunders in novel writing and which things to avoid. A guidebook on how to start writing a novel for beginners should definitely contain a long section about the most common mistakes that spoil the readers’ impression at once. First of all, it is completely wrong to postpone the actual story with the conflict or problem of the main character, and provide the background and too many additional details instead. Writing a synopsis of your novel, remember that It is also extremely annoying to read several pages and then realize that the character introduced at the beginning of the first paragraph is irrelevant to the main story. Besides, do not try to squeeze as many characters as possible into one plot. Meeting twenty characters in the first twenty pages makes the readers believe that the best place to finish a book is where it started.
29. Write a novel using the snowflake method
Being at a loss how to start a fantasy novel or how to write a novel that will attract the children’s audience, for instance, try using the snowflake method. Start with small things and then develop your story, building it up upon the base. You can get more advice on how to write a novel step by step, but a creative process is hardly ever guided by logic. Nevertheless, if you know how to write a novel outline and structure your novel snowflake, it will be much more effective than merely daydreaming, brainstorming, and collecting ideas. Sit down and write a little part of your future novel. How long does it take to write a novel? No beginner can compose a masterpiece in several days or write a novel in a month. Let’s assume you will write a novel in a year. So, having only several pages today will ensure that other parts will also appear soon. If this method works for you, it is perfect! If it does not, no problem! Just try other ones.
30. Read plenty of advice on how to write a best selling novel
Depending on your selected genre, try to get acquainted with numerous guidelines related to how to write a light novel, how to make a romance novel structure effective, or how to add to the effect of a science fiction novel. You may also look through the love story ideas for writers as emotions play a crucial role in almost every plot. Although every writer develops a unique approach to writing, it is still easier to get some inspiration from those who have already succeeded. When you are done, learn how to write a query letter for a novel and tell your agent or editor a story that will make both of you famous.