Tips for fhe First Time Novel Writer

Do You Have the "Write" Stuff?

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So, you want to write a novel are wondering where to start or maybe even what to write about? And, although they say that we all have at least one novel in us just bursting at the seams to get out, sometimes the hardest part is just sitting down and beginning. With that said, maybe it's time to, like NIKE says, JUST DO IT!

Seriously though, what is holding you back? Perhaps the fact that you are not the best speller and that your grammar is less than spectacular is what's keeping you from starting that next great American novel. Or, you just can't seem to carve anymore time out of your busy and hectic life. All I can say is.....if you are passionate enough and have a story that you just must get out, you will find the time. My mother use to say, "if you want it bad enough, you can do anything"!

Did you know that John Steinbeck's first two novels were less than great and poorly received? This means that it takes courage and tenacity to put yourself out there. Thank God for all of us that he didn't give up or we wouldn't have the treasured classic "Of Mice and Men" , which is not only required reading in most schools but also was made into a blockbuster movie!

So, now, down to the basics. If you do have an extremely hectic schedule, all you need to do is to set aside a small amount of time every day, for yourself, with no noise and no interruptions, to write. If an hour is all that you have, so be it. However, you must be habitual about it so try to schedule your writing at the same time each day. Get your office or quiet place set up in advance with all of the materials you will need. Then, get to work!

Forget the worry over spelling and grammar. Today's internet world provides us with all of the tools we need right at our fingertips such as and for all of your research needs. You can turn to and for assistance with spelling and grammar.

Sometimes inspiration hits when you are not in front of your computer, so be sure to keep a notepad and pen with you at all times and "jot" down anything that comes to mind that you may want to remember later. It may also be wise to purchase a small voice recorder for when you are driving.

The next step is to study your craft. You may be a fine story teller but you are not sure about how to develop your characters so that they come to life and leap off the page. The same goes for story development, plot and pace. There are online classes such as The Gotham Writers Workshop available with master writers and story tellers, that you can attend online! Some recommended reading for writing non-fiction can be found at Amazon-entitled-Writing-Non-Fiction-Turning-Words-Thoughts . Even though you may have begun the writing process, you will find that you will become a "professional" student of the "craft of writing" as you continue to hone and refine your writing skills.

It is important to enlist a friend, co-worker or family member to be your "reader". After writing several chapters, you may want to "step back" and have your "reader" give you unbiased feedback you can take back to the writing table and consider as you make your draft changes. Consider your "reader" a "blessing" rather than a "curse" as they can be a great resource to the writer who oftentimes gets "too close" to the material and needs a fresh set of eyes.


Bonnie Howell is currently penning her E-book while writing for others at She has written two screenplays, published many, many articles on E-Zine and Hubpages. Not only is she passionate about writing she is also passionate about animals as you can see from her many animal hubs. She does rescue work in conjunction with The Phoenix Humane Society and works tirelessly towards closing down Puppy Mills and eliminating Petstores forever that sell puppies purchased from Puppy mills. Please see:

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Comments 19 comments

lexie 7 years ago

Hi i am 12 years old and i am writeing my very first love story and it is basted on another book and its comeing along VERY well. i just need to now what to do with it when i get done with it

bhowell profile image

bhowell 7 years ago Author

Hi Lexie. Once your novel is done, have it proofread for spelling and grammatical errors first. Also, if you go to you can research such things as how many words are on the written page. Believe it or not, there are certain guidelines that must be met before you start submitting your novel to puplishers. Also, there are publishers who can publish your novel "one at a time" as people order them. Otherwise, you may have to invest alot of money upfront on the chance that your novel does not sell. Or, you can find out from wikipedia as well as how to write and E-book. This will cost you nothing and you can sell your novel to people you know or set up your own website to sell it. If someone orders your book, they pay your Paypal account and you send them the book electronically via the internet.

cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

Hey bhowell, you can link to my Publishing a book hub I published last week. Gives some advice there on how to get started writing and the publishing process.

C. C. Riter 7 years ago

Well, I'm waiting. thanks

cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

What are you waiting for, CC?

C. C. Riter 7 years ago

next excerpt cindy, haha what else?

cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

Okay, so CC, who would you like your head to look like and what super powers would you like to have?

C. C. Riter 7 years ago

What?! the headless horseman and the ability to scare the panties off women and the fur off of Pest and warts off Golden Toad! hahaha

cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

yeah, that's great! Can use that!

C. C. Riter 7 years ago

I'll send you a great picture that will work for my head as i carry it and throw it around. haha I call it my Crazy Charlie pic hehe

cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

ok, thanks CC

C. C. Riter 7 years ago

OK, it will soon be on its way. see ya in a bit.

Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 7 years ago from India

Writing a novel seems such a monumental task! I don't think I could ever get one off the ground. Thanks for the tips though bhowell! :)

MJones 7 years ago

My mother has always said she wishes she could write a book...and i always felt that way i recently thought, rather than looking back when im older saying "i shouldve..." im just going to do it! but i have an unfortunate flaw in my personality. Im too critical. I cant help but think that my characters are corny, and my story lines are too simple and predictable (Most likey just because I know the ending). I get a little discouraged. I chose my mother as my "reader" and i know shell help tremendously. But is feeling like this typical for a first timer? And any suggestions to give myself a little confidence in my imagination??

izettl profile image

izettl 7 years ago from The Great Northwest

Great hub- I love to write about various topics, so if I ever wanted to write a book, how would I know whch topic to choose? Writing a book is quite a committment so how do you pick the right topic?

Also what are typical e-books about? What would one right an e-book about?

bhowell profile image

bhowell 7 years ago Author

An E-book is exactly like a regular book. It is published on-line rather in paper form. Normally, it is shorter than a 300-500 page novel. It's more like a "Novella" or "short story". These days, many E-books are "How To" books. For example: "How To Write A Novel", "How To Sell on E-Bay" , " "My Mother's Old World Italian Recipes". It can be about anything. The cool thing is there is no printing that needs to be done. For money making purposes, the only thing you need to do is "market" your e-book on-line or on your own website.

Lauren 6 years ago

Dear bhowell

I'm writing my first story and I'd like to know are there websites where I can get an unbiased critique? I'm a little worried my style my lack passion any help would be appreciated thanks.

charlie 4 years ago

I'm fourteen and i have had a go at writing books before but have gotten bored due to, well, better things to do. but, my current novel i think is going quite well, it's filling up my spare time instead of getting in the way of good things. I read absolutely loads of novels normally and the novel i am writing is exactly the kind of book i would love, as i took inspiration from a few of my favorite books. i was wondering if you had any tips to prevent me getting bored and giving up?

Bonnie Howell 4 years ago

Charley, it sounds like you are doing all the right things to be a great writer. Be sure to write a little each day, possibly at a set time. Even if just a paragraph. Have fun with it and don't pressure yourself...just develop good writing habits!

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