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How To Write A Novel: A Blueprint For Success

Updated on October 10, 2013

So, Would You like to Write a Novel?


First let me tell you that there are many ways to write a novel. What follows is a blueprint for success for those who need structure and a detailed, step-by-step process.

I have known authors….hell, I am one…who have never outlined before writing the rough draft. They start with a general idea and from there the story line just flows out of them. The characters come to life, they fit in perfectly with the story and all is well in their world of literature. When I wrote my novel, The 12/59 Shuttle From Yesterday and Today, I started with a writing exercise of an introduction, and the story sprang from the introduction and from my fertile imagination.

However, there are those who need a bit more structure and so this blueprint is for them. Using this process, the writer would fill in the blanks on all the subheadings below before even beginning the actual rough draft. In other words, build the foundation before trying to put up the walls, wiring and plumbing.

There is no right way to write a novel despite what some may claim. There is a writing process and I’m sure you have all seen it, but many successful writers do not follow the process, or it somehow is incorporated into the writing of the rough draft almost by osmosis.

For those of you in need of a foundation, this article is for you.

The Writing Process
The Writing Process | Source
The finished product
The finished product | Source
The process begins here
The process begins here | Source

WORKING TITLE

This does not have to be the title you settle on when all is said and done. It is just a title to get the ball rolling. My working title for my novel was Yesterday and Today. I loved that title and I would have used it when it came time to publish, except that some raggedy-assed musical group called The Beatles recorded an album by the same name, and I didn’t feel real good about facing that combination of words on search engines.

WORKING GENRE

Many novels are literary hybrids when it comes to genre. They cross the rather hazy lines from one genre to the next, often times covering three or four genres within one manuscript. Choosing is hard but it is important that you be able to announce that your novel is a particular genre. Agents and publishers are going to demand that you do so.

WORKING POINT OF VIEW

First person, second person, third person or some hybrid between two of them, you need to decide which approach you are going to take.

Read novels written in each of the three points of view and then decide which one you feel the most comfortable doing.

HIGH IMPACT SUMMARY

Whether it is for the page liner on your book or for a quick summation of your work for online search engines, you need to have a dynamic summary of the novel. Somehow you need to condense 100,000 words into one good paragraph. Good luck!

Yes, it is difficult and yes, it is important. Most agents and publishers will ask for a brief synopsis, and I do mean brief, so doing this now is better than looking like a fool when it is asked for by a publisher.

SOCKO INTRO

When I taught creative writing in high school, I would harp and harp about this until my students felt like survivors of the Inquisition. Your work may live or die depending upon your introduction. It is that important.

Agents and publishers will tell you that you have about ten seconds to get their attention and make them want to read the rest of your book. Ten seconds! That introduction better be something special or don’t waste time writing the rest.

ESTIMATE LENGTH

Determine before you begin writing how long your novel will be. For adult novels, shoot for at least 75,000 words and preferably 100,000. Why do you need to decide this before writing? It will give you a standard of measure for all of your chapters. If you have outlined twenty-five chapters, then you know each chapter should be approximately 3,000 to 4,000 words in length.

IDENTIFY MAIN CHARACTERS

Who are the main players going to be? I knew of five main characters for my book and probably ten more secondary characters….including a whistling ladybug named Delilah!

INTRODUCE CHARACTERS

When are you going to have your characters first appear in your book? How are they going to appear? It will help you greatly if you decide this now rather than five chapters into the book. The difference is as simple as organized vs random., or if you prefer, sanity vs insanity. J

King Talks About the Process

Thoughts on novel writing

CHARACTER OCCUPATIONS

What do your characters do for a living? Are they students, firemen, cops, tycoons??? Their occupations may be important to the flow and believability of the book, so give this some thought. Write up a short bio of your characters before you begin and headaches will be avoided later on in the process.

ENHANCE CHARACTERS

Give your characters a personality. Readers need to identify with your main characters, so give them distinct personality traits.

CREATE A SETTING THAT MATCHES YOUR CHARACTERS

Does your book take place in the old west or in a future galaxy? What is the time period? Where is the location? Will there be several locations throughout the book?

Paint a picture with your words. The reader should be able to visualize where the story is taking place. Consider your words to be the camera that captures the stage.

CHARACTER CONFLICTS

Will there be conflicts between your characters? There should be, whether it is between two or more characters or within the characters themselves. Good story lines always include conflict. The story is a representation of life itself, and life is filled with conflict.

CHARACTER GOALS AND MOTIVATION

What do your characters want out of life? What are they trying to achieve. One character may want to rob a bank, but his main conflict is in trying to prove to his father that he amounts to something important.

Again, in real life we are all goal-oriented and we are all motivated by some outer or inner stimuli. It should be the same in your novel.

PLOT CONFLICTS

A good novel is an intricately-woven tapestry of conflict. There are plots and sub-plots, and they are all instrumental in the telling of the story. Do not short-change your readers by skimping on the plot conflicts, whether it be a mystery or a love story.

My own process

Now You Are Ready


Do all of the above and you will have built your foundation. All that is left to do, then, is to actually write the novel. No problem! J

It has been said many times that there is a novel in each of us. That may be true, for people are fascinating. However, it is a long, hard journey traveling from potential to realization, and that journey requires hard work, determination and attention to detail.

In this world of instant gratification there are no short cuts when writing a novel. It is a long and difficult process and really, that is as it should be.

If I can be of any help as you begin the novel-writing process, feel free to contact me.

2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Well, Mslizzee, if you have a sick and twisted mind, then I do too. I understand that completely. :) Thanks for stopping by and sharing.

    • mslizzee profile image

      elizabeth 6 weeks ago from Buncombe County, NC

      For me the fun part when writing a novel is creating difficult characters. I like to get them into situations in which I must struggle desperately to save them. The characters become so personal to me, I actually cry as I kill them. Yes, I actually feel sorrow over characters created in my mind when something bad happens to them because of my sick and twisted mind. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Will! Best of luck to you my friend and thanks for the visit.

    • Willsummerdreamer profile image

      Will English. 4 years ago from Marietta, Georgia.

      Good tips, Bill. *booked marked and shared.*

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Reberry, thank you very much and I hope you take the plunge. It is a great feeling of accomplishment for a writer to hold his/her own book. Best of luck to you and have a great weekend.

    • Redberry Sky profile image

      Redberry Sky 4 years ago

      I didn't realise you also wrote fiction, Bill, until you mentioned your children's book (which I'm intrigued about!) but I've just been to your novel's website and read the synopsis, and it sounds fantastic - mysterious and strange - just how I like my fiction. Good advice here in your article - I look forward to using it if I ever take the plunge myself into long fiction :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Jainismus! Have a wonderful weekend.

    • jainismus profile image

      Mahaveer Sanglikar 4 years ago from Pune, India

      Very interesting and useful Hube for writers.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Rajan and I wish you a wonderful day as well.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      This is a very educative and interesting read; will help many a budding writer for sure. Voted up and useful and thanks for sharing this blueprint for novel writing. Have a nice day, my friend!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Glimmer, I respect that you don't have the urge to write a novel. I wish more writers felt like that. LOL I've read some horrible novels in my day.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Well I doubt I'll ever be ready to write a book or even have the urge, but your tips are really helpful for people that do.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Good morning Phoenix,

      No snow for us; chilly and sunny and counting our blessings. As for the rebel in you...why in the world would I want to rein that in? I love rebels and honestly, I can't tell you the last time I used an outline for that very same reason. :)

      Thank you my friend and I hope your day is progressing nicely in the UK.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hello, Bill.

      I really like the idea of have a template, if you will, for writing. I employ it myself quite often. In theory it works well, in practice...not so much.

      The problem starts when I actually utilize an outline. I begin nicely enough but soon feel restricted, rebel against the system and go my own way. Essentially, I wasted time doing an outline that I was goint to ignore anyway. But I do like the suggestions you've put forward. Any ideas how I can rein in the Rebel in me?

      Have an enjoyable day. Did you get any snow out your way?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Lisa! What I have seen of your novel if very interesting. Keep at it, keep re-working it, and hopefully good things will happen.

    • Lisawilliamsj profile image

      Lisa Williams 4 years ago

      This is fantastic! How I wish I would have read this before I started writing my novel! I have just been going with the flow, writing, and then rewriting. I may just have to stop the process and take your advice =) Thanks for posting!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Deb, anytime, anyway, if you need my help I'll be there. Count on it my friend, and thank you!

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Great information, and thanks for the offer to help. That means so much, especially since right now, I consider HubPages a practice run for my material, sort of a learn-as-you-go-work.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Alicia! Have a great weekend in BC and good luck with that future book.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for the tips, Bill. I write poetry and fiction as well as informational articles, so there may be a novel in my future. I prefer to write short stories at the moment, but that may change. I'll remember your suggestions if it does!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, I love writers and poets and artists and musicians. Anything I can do to help them all I will do...they are the ones who bring beauty into this world and we need them.

      Thank you my friend and have a great weekend.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Another great hub to help people get started on writing a book. It's wonderful that you share your knowledge. Thank you Bill...

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bobbi, that summarizes it perfectly. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Excellent, Martin! Good luck with it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Radhikasree, thank you so much for the visit. I hope you are well and enjoy your weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      PS, so many people want to take shortcuts. Writing is a craft that involves a process and there are few shortcuts to good writing, as you well know. Thank you my dear friend and have a great weekend.

      blessings and a hug,

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Dianna! Now I have to train myself to follow my own advice. LOL

    • BobbiRant profile image

      BobbiRant 4 years ago from New York

      I firmly believe everyone has a story to tell, it's simply a matter of how they tell it. Nice hub.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this. I should have my 5th book out this month.

    • radhikasree profile image

      Radhika Sreekanth 4 years ago from Mumbai,India

      This is a great resource for those who aspire for writing a novel. Selection of characters and the setting matters a lot as illustrated in this hub.

      Voted up, useful, beautiful and interesting. Sharing too.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      Hi Bill

      As a writing teacher point by point we went through what you suggest. Over and over---every time we wrote. I have to read your book---I love to read and reading work by someone I know makes the material so much more interesting.

      One day maybe things will settle down enough for me to publish one.

      Have a lovely lovely day Sending Angels your way :) ps

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Lots to think about when writing a novel and having this information will make the process a bit simpler. Your expertise is appreciated.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      hlwar, in truth that's how I write too. I do follow these steps but I do it mentally. Like you, the characters take primary importance to me and then the story will tell itself through their lives. I love the process. Now I just need more time. :)

      Thank you for the visit.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      beingwell, thank you! Sooner or later those short contents will become longer and longer until a novel forms. Best of luck to you.

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      beingwell 4 years ago from Bangkok

      Very impressive billybuc! Writing a novel is a very big task. I'd stick with short contents for now.

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      hlwar 4 years ago

      I am one of those that never outlines. I usually get inspiration for a character, conflict within said character, and a very vague overall plot - and go! It's amazing how you can get into the "zone" where you write and write, without realizing you're actually typing, and suddenly a story unfolds. I believe characters are key, and if their story needs to be told then they will tell it through you.

      However, never organizing outlines is probably also my downfall - because the hardest part for me is STARTING the story. I might think having this blueprint would make the opening easier to contrive. And once it begins, the journey just happens; it's taking the first step where I'll either stumble and recover, or collapse entirely.

      Thanks for a clear and insightful hub! This will definitely help a lot of people.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      My pleasure, Bill! I can see a travel book inside of you, and it would be a good one. :) Thanks buddy!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Vellur, if it were easy I would have ten novels by now. LOL Not easy but necessary for sure. Thank you!

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. If there is a novel inside of me I have no idea where. I have never really given this much thought but it's good food for thought in the future. Who knows what lurks within. Thanks for the education.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 4 years ago from Dubai

      Great tips, thanks for sharing. You make it sound easy!! You are so right there are no short cuts to writing a novel. Great write. Voted up.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Love you too, Sha! If it doesn't work we'll try some other approach. No biggie!

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      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      I'll give it a shot, Bill. It'll be like writing left-handed for me, but you've written a nove and mine is still a dream, so I will see if I can re-direct my mindset.

      I love you, my friend!!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kathleen, I am a big believer in that process and that's how I write my novels. Most of my pre-novel writing happens in my head. I develop characters in my head...very little is done on paper. Most of these steps mentioned in this hub I do in my imagination before I ever start writing....then I just let my mind run free and start writing.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, really these suggestions are all about laying the groundwork before you start writing. The writing process is completely separate. If you see the story in your mind but you are stuck on writing it, spend some time developing the characters before you start writing the novel. The characters may take you places you had never thought of....and yes, you can count on me. :)

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Bill, novel writing is where I get stuck. Like you, I don't outline; my story develops as my mind delivers my fingers to the keyboard. I have a novel in mind, the introduction of which I've posted on HP as a short story called "How I Became Bravewarrior". I'm stuck as to how to proceed. I don't feel the average reader wants to read my life story, but may be interested in the point of view of the characters I became in the intro.

      I seem to do better with short stories than the other types of hubs I post. At least, I am more pleased with my creativity in the short stories than topical hubs. My dilemma is my short stories are too short to publish outside HP and definitely not long enough to turn into novels.

      Take, for instance, the short story I wrote in answer to your challenge. I think if I were to expound upon it, it would lose it's intrigue. The 1,000 word limitation was perfect for that story. And to be honest, I've very proud of that short story. I like it. I think all writers must keep working until they like what they put out. It motivates us to keep writing.

      I agree with your brief touch on title. I usually change my title several times before I publish because my beginning thoughts rarely resemble the final draft. But the title does give the author direction, for sure.

      I'm living two of my three dreams as a writer. The first was to quit my job and write for a living, which I've done. The second was to publish a poetry book, which I've done. The third is to publish a novel. I am grappling with my direction on this one. Perhaps I just need to do what I always do: pick it back up and let my mind be my guide.

      I'm sure you'll be receiving phone calls and emails from me seeking your advice and direction. I can always count on you!

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Stephen King wrote a great little book on writing called "On Writing." His main advice is sit down and write. Let it pour out of you. You'll edit and rewrite on your second and third drafts. This approach has been freeing for me and might alleviate some hubbers fears.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lurana, I think back to my college days and term papers....LOL...there is no way I had that kind of discipline. All-nighters were my choice and it somehow worked for me. I am much more disciplined today and I still couldn't do what your friend did.

      Thank you as always my friend. I hope you are well and happy today.

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image

      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      I'm always interested to hear about writing processes from different writers---it's great to have a range of choices (as you emphasized) to get the sense of what works for you. I am reminded of a friend in college who would outline her research papers so methodically that she would time her writing to a certain fraction per day---if she had 2 weeks for a 10-page paper, she'd write a specific number of paragraphs per day. I admired her self-discipline tremendously but was horrified by her process because it would never work for me!!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      True words, Duchess! Thanks for that and for stopping by.

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      Rebecka Vigus 4 years ago from Johns Island, SC

      Great advice. If you are going with a traditional publisher, don't be married to your title. They have the right to change it and you have little to no say in it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Teresa, it is my pleasure, and thanks for the visit. I hope you write that novel soon.

    • Teresa Coppens profile image

      Teresa Coppens 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Bill, extremely well thought out sdvice for writing a novel. I have often started a great idea but have trouble keeping an organized flow. Will definitely be keeping this one book marked for future reference. Thankyou Billy!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Eddy! It seems to me you have no problem writing but if this blueprint helps you then fantastic.

      love,

      billy

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      lovebuglena, I agree with you about outlines. I think they are worthwhile for those who have problems with organizing thoughts, but for those of us who are free-flow writers they tend to get in the way of the process. Good luck with your editing. Shop around for editors and find a good price...I do editing and there are a number of good editors out there if you are in a position to pay to have it done.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Vinaya! I hope you publish soon.

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      Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

      Bill,

      I have two manuscripts ready on my desk, one is a short story collection and another is a novel. Thanks for your lessons on publishing.

      Your writing tutorials and publishing guides are wonderful.

    • lovebuglena profile image

      Lena Kovadlo 4 years ago from Staten Island, NY

      When I took English classes in school back in the day we were told to write outlines for the story. I am actually against doing that because to me personally it is a waste of time. I'll be more focused on getting the outline right than on actually writing and developing my story. I just start with an idea and I let it flow out of me and develop into a complete story. I have actually written my first novel and it came about after a title came into my head. I do not think that initial title is the right one anymore but it did result in me writing my novel, which is a bit personal. I am happy that I accomplished my goal of writing the novel but must now focus on the editing process. I've actually been doing that a lot and I don't feel like everything is perfect. Can't seem to find anyone who can help me perfect my story though and find myself stuck. I really want to publish it someday soon and am not sure what to do as far as the editing goes.

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      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      Another wonderfully interesting and useful hub Billy.I am saving this one too for easy future referance and voted up.

      Have a great day.

      Eddy.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hi Melissa!

      No, on young adult novels I have seen the 50,000 word figure thrown out as a guideline, but it is only a guideline. I would say that is a minimum and something to shoot for.

      I hope you find the time one day my friend. It is a great experience.

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      Melissa Propp 4 years ago from Minnesota

      Excellent outline for writing a book, Bill. I know I have at least one good novel inside me, I just need to make time to decide what it is and start writing. I think following the process you outlined will help greatly. What is the word count for a young adult novel? Is it also 100,000?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      DDE, then I hope you write that book. I love hearing that people are thinking of writing a book. It is a huge undertaking but one that will give you great satisfaction. Best of luck to you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Art, it really is....keep at it my friend and good luck.

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      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      My thoughts flow out when I am having a not so good days and you always manage to add more information on writing in showing us the helpful ways. I do have a book in mind.

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      Marvin Parke 4 years ago from Jamaica

      Fine tuning a book for two years is a lot of energy and passion.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Stephanie, I love that you are doing an e-book set for your son. Great idea and good luck with it. Thanks for stopping by my friend.

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      stephanieb27 4 years ago from United States

      I love the first comment, my novel is buried very deep inside too! Pinning this hub for the future though. I would love to write a novel someday. I'm working on an e-book set for my kindergarten son right now that I am going to try to market and sell (if he likes it). Thanks for the tips! :)

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you vkwok. I appreciate you stopping by.

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      Victor W. Kwok 4 years ago from Hawaii

      This definitely helps if you want to be a novelist. Great article as always.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Susan, I hope you do need it soon. I'm sure you have a good book inside of you just waiting to get out. Good luck and thank you for the visit.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Eric, I know all about fear....when the time is right you will write. :) Thanks buddy!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Asp, fantastic! I love to hear that my suggestions are helpful. Best of luck with your manuscript.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Vicki! I have always balked at formal outlines. It's just the way I am, right or wrong. My writing has to flow and if it doesn't it isn't worth it to me. :)

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Carol, having no talent in art, I can only speak about writers, but I do know that sustaining a story for 100,000 words is no easy feat. I tend to drag my feet for weeks and then go in spurts where 10,000 words just flow. I wish it were easier but it is not. :) Thank you as always my friend.

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      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      This is a very useful hub that I'll pin as I may need it soon.

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      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I am still very afraid to begin a novel. The fear is the abyss I will go into once started. Perhaps these tips will provide me a lifeline, to allow resurfacing at proper intervals.

      Thank you

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      Asp52 4 years ago from England

      Thanks Billybuc this is one of the most informative hubs about creating a manuscript I have come across. I am at the 50k word stage of my first manuscript and your hubs outlines will be used in my proofreading and editing stage!

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      Vickiw 4 years ago

      Hi Bill, your Hubs are always so meaningful in a writer's daily life, and that is a blessing for many people. I am one of those who does not really have an outline on paper, but somehow it seems to flow when I really get down to it. So great that we can have these discussions, and kudos to you for starting them!

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      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      I have ideas floating all the time but never could land this. I admire writers more than artists as they have to control your interest for many pages. Art is about the moment. Great ideas here Bill as always.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lizzy, day or night, sober or drunk, you can always contact me. :) Enjoy your day my young, feisty friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, I hope this helps you in some way....it can't hurt, right? :) Thank you my friend and have a great day back East.

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      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Wonderful Bill and after writing my first novel and still editing some of your tips really are a huge help to me, because sometimes I do wonder if I may be missing something and am going to use your guide here to help me out before hitting that old publish button. Thanks again and have voted and shared, too!! :)

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      Liz Davis 4 years ago from Hudson, FL

      I may not be writing a novel, but I always feel free to contact you. :D

      I don't plan on writing any fiction, which means I probably will someday. This guide will help to keep things interesting and to the point. Perhaps I will refer to it for my comments.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Yvonne, I do not outline per se, but I do outline in my head. That's what I am doing on my current novel...I know where it is going and where it will end up. The individual subplots will happen as I write. We all follow a slightly different call.

      Thank you!

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      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, you beat Janine this morning. That is quite an accomplishment. So, yours is hiding, eh? Well, it is meant to be it will find its way to the light, and I hope it happens soon. Thank you my dear.

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      Yvonne Spence 4 years ago from UK

      Hmm, I would have said that I was one of those writers who never outline before starting the first draft, but now I think about it that's not entirely true. Before I began my first novel I spent time getting the characters clear in my mind - and on paper - and only after I'd done that did I start writing. I also had a rough outline and knew where the story would finish up, but did not outline chapters - though while writing the first draft I did stop every now and then to outline the next few chapters.

      I think how much you outline probably depends to some extent on the type of novel - the more plot driven in is, the more it will need an outline. With character-driven novels this is not so crucial (probably!)

      This hub is interesting will be useful for budding authors, I think.

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      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      Okay, so there's a novel in all of us waiting to come out. My problem is its hiding behind something deep inside and I can't seem to get it out ;) On the other hand, you provide some really clear cut ideas on how to start and really write that novel. I'm bookmarking this one to come back and read again.

      Voted up, useful, and very interesting. I'd vote helpful too but its not there.