How to Write a Complete Novel on HubPages

You Have to Just Dive In

Statistics show that each year major (and minor) book publishers will publish approximately 3500 fiction novels. Most of these novels will come from established writers who have already been published and most likely will have contracts with the publishing firms. For the thousands upon thousands of fledgling authors who wish to have their new novels published, the prospects are slim to none.

Sending your naked document blindly to an agent or even worse, a publisher will result in either a form rejection letter or just flat out being ignored. This is because publishers are so overwhelmed with material coming in "over the transom" as they used to say that they are forced to shred most documents before anyone at the firm has a chance of actually reading it. Some of these documents are good but the vast majority are terrible and are not worth the paper they are printed, typed, or scrawled upon.

Most writers are horrific and should consider other lines of work such as mopping up subway restrooms or picking up trash along busy interstate highways. If you think I am being mean or cynical, just peruse some of the garbage that is written daily on HubPages. Yes, I said it, HubPages publishes some of the most poorly written drivel I have ever had the misfortune to glance at. Some of this junk is actually posted as "best" or "hottest" by HubPages which makes me think that HP editors do not really read any of the entries.

Which brings me around to the point of this Hub, which is to encourage the really good writers out there to do what I have been doing for the past year, which is, writing some solid fiction and posting it on HubPages. I started out with short stories such as "The Thing in the Corner" and "Sam and the Creature", both of which became six to eight part series.

I later decided to be really ambitious and write an entire full-length fiction novel and publish it entirely on HubPages, albeit in chapters. I am talking about a complete 300 plus page novel that one would find in hardcover (or trade paperback) at the library or in stores. Like everything else, I just dove in, recklessly writing a few chapters and throwing them up on the world wide wreck to see what kind of reaction I would get.

The novel is called "The Swamp" and I began writing it about seven or eight months ago. Since then and as of this writing, I have published 20 chapters, or one third of the complete novel. I have dozens of readers that hang on my every word (or so I fancy) but seriously, writing The Swamp has become a labor of love for me unlike any other I have ever attempted. It has consumed my free time (yes, I have a day job) and has allowed me to hone my writing skills until I now have the confidence to know that I will finish this book and possibly get published in the real world some day.

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Write 1000 Words Each Day

The trick to writing a complete novel is to write a little bit each day. I suggest 1000 words because that is around the right size for one chapter, though most of the chapters of "The Swamp" that I have published run around 1200 words on average. If you are like me, you have a serious day job that takes up most of your daylight hours. That means that you only have a few spare hours in the evenings or early morning to get in any writing time. If you don't have a job you should consider getting one, unless you are unemployable and judging from some of the insanity that gets posted on this portal, I am probably not that far off the mark for many HubPages readers and writers.

1000 words may seem like a lot, but it is really not that difficult and you may find yourself drawn deeply into the story like I am whenever I write. My own preference is to just dive straight into the story and I have the experience and skill to be able to do so. I have written seven screenplays and dozens of short stories, blogs, and magazine articles over the years. All of this experience has helped me to hone my craft and I can break the rules sometimes. But you need to stick to the rules if you have not written very much and that means you need to do some homework.

The first thing you need to do is write an outline. I won't get into all the details of writing a college level outline for a full-length novel, but you get the picture. Sketch out the main elements of your story. Figure out your characters and what they are going to do before jumping into a story. If you don't know what they are going to do, you will probably write yourself into a corner eventually. This is one of the main errors that most novice writers commit and the reason is simply that they are too lazy to do the work behind the story.

Research is important and you should have a grasp of the technical and practical aspects of any key elements in your story. For instance, if your novel is about oil mining in the early 1900s then you should find some background material to give your story those details that will tend to make your tome believable, if not gripping. This is where most writers fail and where most publishers will begin shredding. With all of the material available these days on the internet, it is not that difficult to find information on just about any subject imaginable. Your local library is also a great place to begin.

Character studies are the next most neglected aspect of novel writing. You can not skimp on this part. Characters studies should be long and exhaustive with many layers of dimension. Again, I will not begin what is a full semester course on character development, but at least make the effort to flesh out your protagonist, antagonist, and the myriad background and ancillary characters that populate their world. No character should be one-dimensional, no matter how small their place in the final draft.

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Publicity and Self-Publishing

The great thing about HubPages is that it literally forces you to write on a regular basis. If you stop writing for any length of time, your author score drops and if you are as competitive as I am, then that is something that you definitely will try and avoid. When you have an audience, no matter how small, actually reading and critiquing your work, it becomes necessary to continue to give them parts of the story in order to hold their attention. I have been fortunate enough to pick up some loyal followers and readers since I first began publishing on HubPages and I always want to give them good stuff to read. Having a sense of tremendous pride in your work is an important attribute shared by many of the great writers throughout history. In fact, a bigger set of egotistical and arrogant sons of guns you will never find in your life.

By writing "The Swamp" and publishing it directly onto the HubPages portal, my intent is to not only write a great book but also to drum up some publicity. I am promoting the book as the "First Full-Length Novel Ever Published on HubPages" and hope that it will garner enough interest from media, agents, and book publishers that I will be offered some sort of publishing deal, though I know that the odds of this happening are slim. Hey, if you don't buy a lottery ticket you can't win the Lotto.

I do hope that all of you budding Mark Twains and Stephen Kings out there can begin to write your own novels on HubPages. And I am looking for original material, not just an old book you have written that you are now cutting up and pasting onto your hubs. Come on, I dare you, I double dare you. Get creative. Write a book. Who knows, you might even get published someday.

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20 comments

rachellrobinson profile image

rachellrobinson 5 years ago from Southwest Missouri

Hey I started a novel for NaNoWriMo, can I use that in your double dog dare :) My excerpt from that is posted on my profile. I started it on November 2nd of this year and have 26,000 words written. I am going to try to reach their 50,000 word limit by Tuesday but we'll see. After that I plan on posting it a Chapter at a time as I edit it.


bludstream profile image

bludstream 5 years ago Author

Good job. I just now found out about the NaNoWriMo contest. I don't think I could have found the time to write in that contest anyhow since I have a day job that takes up most of my time. I am trying to finish up this novel hopefully sometime in 2011.


De Greek profile image

De Greek 5 years ago from UK

What an interesting project! I wish you all the best from the bottom of my heart :-)

Bear in mind that I make the wish as one of the untalented and unemployable, but my heart is pure :-)))


bludstream profile image

bludstream 5 years ago Author

Thanks De Greek, but you are not fooling anyone. With your background, you remind me of that commercial for Dos Equis, "The Most Interesting Man in the World". Hope we meet in person someday.


Caroline 5 years ago

I like the way you choose to challenge us to write quality stuff,I am personally motivated by your style of writing so I want to see how I will like your ' The Swamp' novel. Thanks for the encouragement, am off to check 'The Swamp'. Best wishes. Caroline


bludstream profile image

bludstream 5 years ago Author

Thanks Caroline. I hope you dig "The Swamp".


Website Examiner 5 years ago

Bludstream, is this project working out for you? I have first-hand knowledge of others who posted their novel here, then reconsidered due to lack of feedback and traffic. I personally think that reading serials online is a challenge for the reader; even the enthusiastic supporters tend to move on and then forget.

And what of the agents, publishers? It is my impression that they have no incentive to read online, except in particular circumstances.

Will be interested in seeing how you handle the challenge moving forward. You have a compelling story to write, and your project is commendable.


bludstream profile image

bludstream 5 years ago Author

Thanks W.E. for the feedback. I don't know how this will play out, or even if I will publish the whole thing. I get about thirty hits each time I post a new episode. Don't know if these are all from the same folks. As I move forward in the process, I may try and pick up an agent or traditional publisher, but as you know, that is one tough nut to crack, especially for a first timer.


Website Examiner 5 years ago

Bludstream, don't mean to interfere with the process. Just want to say that there are many publishers - and thus agents - who do not like previously published material. If and when you decide to approach them in earnest, you may want to unpublish this story - perhaps leaving just an excerpt or introduction posted online. Take care!


bludstream profile image

bludstream 5 years ago Author

Thanks W.E.


bludstream profile image

bludstream 5 years ago Author

But you are right, for me it is all about the process, and how much I enjoy it. I like the fact that HubPages makes me write. It makes me put words on paper. It makes the novel grow. For me, it works.


CJamesIII profile image

CJamesIII 5 years ago from Minneapolis, MN

I really enjoyed this hub! I appreciate your candor about not only Hubpages but other sites that allow so much junk to be published. Also, it's just my opinion, but of those 3500 fiction novels published each year, I'd say maybe 20% were/are truly worth publishing. Good luck with The Swamp!


htodd profile image

htodd 5 years ago from United States

Thanks for the Great post


bludstream profile image

bludstream 5 years ago Author

Thanks CJamesIII and htodd, I really appreciate your comments. I need to post more chapters now....LOL


Patkay profile image

Patkay 5 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

This is a good hub for aspiring writers. You have thrown the challenge to us. I am also trying to get published and i have already submitted my manuscript to a publisher. I am crossing my fingers and waiting for feedback and I hope it has not been shredded or shift deleted!

I will get some time to read your book "The Swamp".


bludstream profile image

bludstream 5 years ago Author

Thanks Patkay and good luck to you. Make sure to submit to many publishers and agents to give yourself more of a chance.


Anaydena profile image

Anaydena 5 years ago from Arlington, TX, USA

You could always self publish you know. Pubit!, Createspace, and Smashwords are really popular in the indie self publishing world!


bludstream profile image

bludstream 5 years ago Author

So true and thanks for the comment Anaydena. The royalty rate is 35% for Amazon when you sell a digital book, but the usual price that sells is 99 cents so you don't make a whole lot unless you can sell a ton of e-books. I am registered with CreateSpace and will probably use them if I can't get a deal within a few months.


mistersun profile image

mistersun 4 years ago from Jedda

A great post. I've been starting to post my poems here, hope to post my short story then. I am very lucky to find this hub. It has motivated me to write a novel and post it here.

Thanks, Bludstream.


bludstream profile image

bludstream 4 years ago Author

Thanks mistersun, I always love to inspire and be inspired. I am working hard now on my book "The Swamp" and also on my new sitcom which is getting produced now.

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