I finally gave in and decided to try to write my first novel. Any encouragement and advice from other fiction writers would be greatly appreciated!
I am not a published book writer, however I will offer you good and sincere wishes in this new endeavor.
Everyone uses different techniques. I'll make a couple of suggestions and you can choose whether or not to use them.
1. Create at least a basic outline for your story so you can keep on track with the timeline and plot elements. I usually write one or two simple sentences stating what will happen in each chapter. If you use an outline, don't feel as if you have to stick to it exactly as written. Sometimes a better idea will pop into your head.
2. Write down the main details about each of the characters. It's important to remember the physical descriptions so you don't say someone has red hair in one chapter and black in the next.
When it comes to actually writing the book, I think the best advice is to never give up. There will be some people who find out you're writing a novel and they'll tell you things like you're wasting your time. Naysayers abound and many would be authors have given up because of them. Don't give in to those people.
As a word of encouragement, I'll tell you I know you can do it. If someone like me who always hated to write anything before I started my first novel can end up having several novels published, anyone can do it. If you have any questions about writing or if you decide to self-publish and need some help, feel free to visit my profile and send me an email.
That's great advice. I've been reading so many articles about how to structure a novel that my head is spinning. I try to write an outline but keep coming up with different ideas. I guess it's more of an organic process.
When it comes to the structure of your novel, reading articles and books about how to write will only take you so far. What I've discovered is that what works for other people - maybe even the majority of people - doesn't work for everyone. That's why I gave my suggestions based on what works for me but said you'd have to decide what to use. My techniques seem unusual when I compare the way I do things to the way other writers create their stories.
That said, here's a suggestion if you have what you think are too many ideas in your outline. Write down every idea you have. Once that's done, go back and pick one idea from each chapter, making sure they form a sensible plot. Use those to create your story, but don't throw away the other ideas. You can always use those other ideas for future novels.
Best wishes, Lisa.
I pray that you will stick to your plans and do not give up. You have more faith and nerve than I ever would. I have had, over the years, two writing partners who loved the idea of us writng a book and we would start good, but then for some reason, they found out that there was work to it and quit.
The only advice I can give is that only write on days and times when your heart and head is into it.
Do NOT force the creation. Let it come.
And have fun with your writing. After all, it is fiction.
Great advice about not forcing it! I think that's the worse thing anyone could ever do.
I'm trying to juggle some other side work, and I'm afraid I'll keep putting writing on the back burner. I feel like I need a schedule.
I have written a few fiction stories, had some published, never a novel. Currently working on a non-fiction history book about sports and games in medieval Europe. It's fun, challenging, and mind expanding.
In addition to my writing experience I ran a small press book publishing company (more like an authors co-operative press) so I know a little bit about the publishing side of things. The biggest piece of advice I can give is do not, under any circumstances, pay to have your book published, any publisher who is seeking payment for publishing services is scamming you, they should make money off your book sales not off you directly, if they make money off you directly they will have no interest in selling your book. Even self published POD (Print on Demand) books you generally don't pay for the publishing service itself (unless you go full self published).
Awesome advice about never paying anyone to publish the book.
Good advice. With ebooks, I can't imagine anyone would still pay to have a book published.
It always surprises me the number of "publishing houses" out there that still get away with charging authors. I never understood why people fell for them. I mean I know it's not cheap to get a book to print ready format (decently), but with the mark up on some books the publishing houses should be able to make up the investment easy enough. Even the smallest of publishing houses, my company was myself and a few writer friends turned editors, we edited the books, did our own in house graphics and I did the typesetting myself, all the editors worked for commission it was a good deal for everyone, though sales were too low and turn around to slow to maintain it, had I had twice as many editors and a better grasp of the sales end we could have survived.
As for further writing advice, make sure you set aside some time each day (this is always my downfall, and why I am over a year late on getting the book I am working on out) and write. And don't worry allowing the story to deviate from your outline, allow the story to grow organically if that is how you write. I have tried outlines, but they never work for me, the characters determine their own fate in my stories, I can't keep them on script.
I have published short stories, but not a novel. One thing that trips me up, personally, is perfectionism. So keep writing every day/week even if you're worried you don't have things just right yet. Just getting words on the page really helps.
UPDATE: After much studying and reading and listening to podcasts and outlining and hemming and hawing; I am 12,000 words into my first draft.
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