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How to Begin Writing a Novel

Updated on June 18, 2014

No Rest for a Writer

I just finished self-publishing a novel….Resurrecting Tobias….and after taking four days off to rest and reload, I am ready for the next venture.

What in the world am I doing? What’s wrong with me?

Well, to put it simply, I am a writer, and writing is what I do. I can rest on my meager laurels and hope that someone buys my book, all the while starving and watching the bills pile up, or I can sit down at the computer and start my next book.

For those of you who have never written a novel, I thought I would take you through the first tentative steps in the process. I find many writers are overwhelmed with the process of writing a novel, but it really doesn’t have to be so overwhelming. Break the process up into manageable chunks, take it a step at a time, and before you know it, you have a novel.

So I’m going to take you through the beginning. As a side note, this does not mean I get to forget about the novel just finished. I’ll be sending out query letters for the next few months, and promoting the finished novel while I work on the next one. This is a continuing process and this is what writers do.

So let’s begin with the idea for my new novel, A Season for Killing.

Set in Olympia, Washington
Set in Olympia, Washington | Source

The Basic Premise

We all have our own way of doing this. For me it begins with a vague idea. From that idea I write an introduction.

My basic idea for this new novel is an avenger of sorts, a man who suffered the loss of his father, who was wrongly convicted of several murders, and died in prison. The protagonist is driven to find the real killer, the man who got away with the murders, and when he finds him he kills him.

His new life has begun. He now sets out to avenge others wrongly convicted of murders, and to cleanse the world of these killers who roam among us. His best friend is a priest, a good man, torn between his vows and his friendship for the avenger.

That is the idea I started with.

I then wrote the introduction.

The opening scene
The opening scene | Source

The First Chapter

I take no pleasure in killing. Never have, despite my background. The simple fact is that some people deserve to be eliminated. The molesters, pimps, drug dealers, and serial killers, they all deserve death. They deal in misery and misery they shall receive, and I am the Fed Ex man more than willing to drop by with a little package for them.

Willy Boy Hopkins, kneeling before me, was a prime example. Willy Boy had been making a figurative living from the misery of others for nineteen of his thirty years. He killed a ten-year old neighborhood girl when he was eleven. He sliced her throat from ear to ear on Christmas Eve, 1992. Her parents found her in the back yard, discarded like so much refuse.

Since then he had left more waste behind, a human Katrina plowing through humanity and sucking energy from those he had harmed. I have no idea how many women Hopkins killed. All I know with certainty is that Jeannie Adams had a sister one month ago and now she doesn’t, and this piece of shit was the reason. He met Jeannie’s sister at the Boulevard Tavern, chatted her up, followed her to her car, and beat her to death with a Louisville Slugger.

I knew Jeannie. She called me, talked to me about her suspicions, and three months later I’m holding a .357 Magnum to Willy Boy’s ear and asking if he has anything he wants to say, like maybe he is sorry for the fact that Jeannie’s sister will never be twenty-five.

Willy Boy had a trickle of blood on his temple where I had pistol-whipped him. He would win no beauty contests even without the blood and swelling. His deeply-set eyes and sloping forehead harkened back to the days of caves and hunting with spears.

“Screw you, Baker! If you think I’m going to beg you then think again. Pull the damned trigger or shove that gun up your ass. Your choice.”

So I shot him.

Old habits die hard.

No matter how many times I shoot someone, I will always be amazed by the amount of damage a high-velocity, soft-point bullet can do to the human body. In Willy Boy’s case, there wasn’t much to clinically study. Shakespeare told us that the evil that we do lives on forever. If that is the case, Willy Boy was headed for immortality missing half his head.

Don’t let anyone tell you that violence does not diminish us, because it does. A part of me died with Willy Boy. How can it not be so? If we do not feel the loss of a soul, then what does that say about us? Willy Boy and I were united, and when he left this corporal world I felt it, deeply, and that feeling of loss will never leave me.

I tossed a manila envelope, with a picture of Jeannie’s sister taped on the front, on Hopkin’s body. Inside the envelope was all the evidence I had gathered on Willy Boy over the last three months. The cops would be able to close the case on Jeannie’s murder, and they wouldn’t be too eager to solve Willy Boy’s untimely death. Cops are like that. They never expend too much energy on the detritus of society.

There was a church two blocks west and four blocks north. St. Patricks. I knew it well. Nobody was going to be coming for Mr. Hopkins for awhile, not in this part of town. I made my way under a canopy of birch trees, their leaves whispering a sermon of recrimination and repentance on an unusually warm spring night

I entered the stone cathedral and walked down the center aisle, my footsteps echoing off the walls. Kneeling down in the front pew, I made the sign of the cross and prayed to my God for forgiveness. I don’t know if He listens to me. I don’t know if He even cares. I just know it makes me feel better doing these things.

I lit a candle in the vestibule for Willy Boy.

“Are you working late, Eli?”

Jimmy had managed to get within ten feet of me without me hearing him. He had always been like that since the time we were kids. He is a big man, about my height at six foot three, and about twenty pounds lighter at two-ten. I’ve known him since he knocked me on my ass in the fourth grade. We’ve been best of friends ever since I reciprocated two days later.

“Hey, Jimmy. You know me. The hours are never consistent with this job. What are you doing roaming the halls of salvation at this hour?”

“I figured you’d be needing confession so I waited up. Are you ready?”

He led me to the confessional in the back of the church, slipping on his collar as he walked. He entered the center door and I took the one on the right. I knelt down as he slid the partition open.

“Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been three months since my last confession.”

“Let’s dispense with the formalities, Eli. Tell me about your evening so we can both get some sleep.”

Now What?

Now I stop writing. I’m not ready to continue. I need to know my characters on a very personal level.

I have two main characters so far, Eli Baker and his priest friend Jimmy. They will be carrying the ball for the entirely of the book, with a little help from some secondary characters. If I expect them to sustain a 120,000 word novel, then it would be best if I meet them and get to know them….don’t you think?

So I sit down, and I write out some interview questions, and then I ask those questions of my characters. Their answers will help me to shape them and give them personalities. In other words, I want to make them real people.

At this point, I don’t know who else will be in the novel, so I’ll wait to interview other characters as they pop into my mind and I include them in the story. I’m sure Eli will have a love interest of some sort, but right now I don’t know what she looks like or what type of person she is, so she can sit in the waiting room until I need her. And of course I need an antagonist, and I have a juicy one in mind, but he, too, will have to wait.

And the Next Step Is?

I begin the general outline stage of my writing.

I know I want a novel of about 120,000 words. That means I need four or five main events that will help move the story along. So let’s do a very rough outline right now so you know what I’m talking about.

  • Introduction…….5,000 words
  • 1st main event….25,000 words
  • 2nd main event….25,000 words
  • 3rd main event….25,000 words
  • 4th main event….25,000 words
  • Conclusion……….5,000 words

I don’t know what these main events will be yet. I have some rough ideas, but I’m not ready to proceed yet.

What I now need is a setting.

Know as much as possible about your setting
Know as much as possible about your setting | Source

The Setting

Where will this novel take place?

I’ve already decided that this novel will take place in Olympia, Washington, the city I currently live in, and Tacoma, Washington, the city of my birth and childhood. Those two cities are very familiar to me, so I don’t have to do a lot of research on them…in other words, I’m being a bit lazy here. J

If, however, I was using a fictional town as the setting, I would have to determine the following:

  • What is the name of this central location?
  • What is the geography like outside of the town?
  • What do the buildings look like in the town? Is it an old town or a new one? Modern or old architecture?
  • What activities happen in that area? What are the main occupations?
  • What does the flora and fauna look like?
  • What is the weather like in that area?
  • What are the local customs?
  • What does the town feel like? In other words, what is the heart and soul of the area?

Almost Done

You have one more thing to decide before you can begin writing.

To outline the story or allow the characters to tell the story…….

There are two schools of thought here, and they are about as different as a nun and a swimsuit model.

Many writers outline the entire story, chapter by chapter, and then use the outline as their guide while writing.

Other writers, like yours truly, have a vague idea of the story line, but they let their characters control the story and tell it in their own words….in other words, they wing it.

Decide which you are the most comfortable with and then do it.

Are you ready to give it a go?

See results

Now We Are Ready

And this is the stage I now find myself in. I am ready to write my next bestseller, and I hope you are as well.

Don’t be overwhelmed. Writing a novel does not have to be stressful, and it saddens me that many writers never write that novel they have inside themselves because they are afraid of the process.

The process is you. Allow it to happen naturally, take it at your own pace, and let the words flow.

2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 2 years ago from New York, New York

      Thank you Bill for sharing the process here today and I totally pinned for if and when I am ready to try my hand at my next great, big adventure. Happy Wednesday now!

    • profile image

      dragonflycolor 2 years ago

      Yes, I CAN do this! Thanks, Bill!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Janine, as always, and Happy Hump Day to you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I have no doubt that you can, Mari! Get started young lady.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      Bill, I'd read this new novel even if I didn't know you. The first chapter grabbed my attention from the first sentence!

      Thanx for sharing your process. It makes complete sense.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Brilliant! Brilliant! Brilliant! This tornado of an intro sucked me into the story. I can't wait to read it!

      The process is clear. I'm someone who wings it as well! It's like remembering a foreign language; one or two words come back, then a few more and before you know it you're into a full-blown fluent conversation. That conversation is your book. I don't think winging it is lazy; it's freedom to give your characters full rein and one thing flows on to the next.

      I'll look forward to when it's published and I wish you all the luck in the world (but you don't need luck because you're already an accomplished writer). You have all that elbow power to keep you going, bill.

      Ann

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Sha. That is the best thing you can tell a writer about a new project. I appreciate it dear friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, three brilliants? I am in writer's heaven my friend. LOL

      I've tried outlining and I just don't have what it takes to do it....give me a keyboard, turn me loose, and who knows what will happen? The journey is always enjoyable.

      The tornado is calling me.

      Have a splendid day my friend.

      bill

    • profile image

      Sparklea 2 years ago

      I am at a restaurant waiting for my car to be done so I am on my I phone.

      Voted useful awesome and interesting. You are a human cannonball.

      Your new novel sounds intriguing and I hope to be honored with reading it when you are done. I LOVE mystery and thrillers.

      One question. Why do novels have to be thousands of words? I have never understood why editors demand such word counts.

      I feel like I am reading your biography thru your hubs

      Keep it up, Mr Inspiration aka Thoreau.

      God bless Sparklea

    • Molly Madley profile image

      Molly Madley 2 years ago from San Francisco,Ca

      Thanks for sharing. Ive been trying to write a book for the past 2 years and it does feel pretty overwhelming.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Bill, this is exactly what I needed, very useful information indeed. I haven't forgotten about sending you my first few paragraphs, just need to tidy it up a bit, well..that and working up some courage. :)

      I'll be taking a few days off work next week, so I'll add it as an attachment to an e-mail for you. Good luck with the book sale, I had a quick peek on amazon and I'm looking forward to my copy soon. Take care and my best to you.

    • Radcliff profile image

      Liz Davis 2 years ago from Hudson, FL

      I have to admit that when you first talked about this idea several months ago, I was worried that it sounded too much like Dexter. Now I see it's very different, so now I can get some sleep. Hahah! Just kidding. We both know I don't sleep these days.

      I'm also glad to see you venturing down a new path. You know I'm not blowing smoke (cliché!) when I say I love it!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      I don't know if I would ever get that close to writing a novel though you have such valuable information.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lea, I'm not sure I have an answer to your question. I guess some sort of marketing survey is involved. In the old days there was no word count...pulp fiction were tiny books that sold millions....but then they started increasing into full novels. I see a trend starting to smaller books. Many publishers won't touch a book now over 100,000 words because of publishing costs. :)

      Sending you a hug this beautiful morning, and thanks of course.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      One small step at a time, Molly. Don't look at the big picture. Just look at one chapter.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jo, there is no reason to be nervous. You are among friends. :) I will be happy to read it when you want to send it.

      Have a wonderful afternoon my friend.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lizzy, the queen of cliches. :) Mysteries are about all that I read in my spare time, so I think it's about time I tried writing one. I think you'll enjoy the conflict these two friends have over this issue....and as always dear friend...thank you for your support.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      DDE, not everyone can, so if you aren't comfortable with it then don't do it. Stick to what you enjoy doing and you do it well.

    • epbooks profile image

      Elizabeth Parker 2 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Very entertaining and informative hub! The new story has already gotten my attention. Awesome, Bill!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Liz. I always appreciate a writer of your abilities stopping by.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 2 years ago from Deep South, USA

      Great hub, Bill, and a smashing intro to your new book. I'm definitely hooked with the introduction of Eli and Jimmy. Now I'm eager for you to write the rest of the novel (so I can read it, of course!)

      Since I realize the process will require time--probably several months--I will try to be patient. I think I can predict with a good deal of certainty that you have a(nother) winner on your hands.

      Voted Up+++ and shared,

      Jaye

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 2 years ago from Minnesota

      Bill, thanks for starting over at the very beginning and sharing your personal process with all of us. It is so helpful and also inspiring! In my attempt to not get overwhelmed (mainly with self-doubt) I'm going to start off with a short story or novella and then go back to tackling a full-length novel. Oh, just thought of a question. It sounds like there might be potential for this to be a series? Is that something you were thinking of doing?

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well thank you Jaye. As you know, I value your opinion highly. Several months? I'm thinking about Christmastime. :)

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Melissa, I think starting with a novella is a great idea. Who knows? You might get started on it and find you have more to write than you thought.

      A series? On this new book just started you mean? Yes, most definitely, and it has already been considered. I'm sure, if it is popular, that I will write more with these new characters. I have always loved mysteries but never tried to write one....we'll see how it goes.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

      Good to know I'll have this outline to rely on when I jump into the fictional fray one day.

      And it doesn't surprise me that you're already back writing after 4 days. Years ago during one of the Olympics, I remember a commentator mentioning that the winning gymnasts would have maybe a week or two off before getting back into training. Writing's no different. It's a sport that never ends. Onward!

    • DrBill-WmL-Smith profile image

      William Leverne Smith 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Great presentation of how to get started. I wonder how many novels this simple introduction will generate, from your large reader base? I few, I suspect. There are so many novels, as you say, that are in the mind that never see the light of day. This will allow some to see daylight. Again, thanks for sharing! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Heidi, believe me, it was hard for me to take four days off. Enough is enough! I have to write. I'm not getting any younger. :)

      Thank you my friend and have a great week.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Bill. Let's hope this leads to a whole series of books.

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 2 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      You are right, I am always overwhelmed at how to start a novel. I have started half a dozen times and gave up quickly. I did try some of your strategies here (which are most helpful) but I find I get bogged down at some point early on in writing, and second guessing myself if I am writing too much about A scene in chapter 1, or B chapter whatever. I seem to lose my way. I always want someone to read every chapter before I go on. It makes me crazy. One time I just got stuck on the plot. I just couldn't figure out what should happen next. I do not do this with non-fiction. Great article Billy.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

      What a great writer you are! I was hooked from the beginning. The killing of Willy Boy was grafic, yet he needed to die and i was glad. I like Jimmy, there should be more like him. You're on your way to the top, i feel it in my bones...

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lori, it may well be that nonfiction is your cup of tea and fiction isn't. I don't do a good job with nonfiction, so I don't even try. :) Stay with your strengths my friend, and thanks for your thoughts.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, what a great cheerleader and supporter you are. Thank you. First chapters are easy for me; it's the next twenty-five that make me work. :)

    • profile image

      sheilamyers 2 years ago

      Great first chapter and great advice! I combine the outline and letting the characters tell the story method. I write a very basic outline of where the story will go for each chapter, then start writing. When I get into the flow, the characters take over and tell the story. More than once I've written out a few paragraphs and then stopped and asked out loud, "Why did you do that Jake?" or "How am I going to get [character name] out of this mess?" They usually give me the answer.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I love it, Sheila, and that is the kind of observation that is very helpful to those who have never written a novel. Thank you for sharing.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 2 years ago

      OK, Bill, it’s that outlining step that throws me. I have never been good at outlining. When we had to turn in outlines with book reports in school, I always wrote the reports because the words flowed, and then I went back and picked out the points for the outline. It must have worked because usually got an A or sometimes as low as a B if I was in a hurry. So, I will be watching diligently as your outline grows in form. I hope you publish it as you go. It would be a big help to some of us struggling novelists. I am a writer and an editor, but I’m not a novelist, yet. Good luck in your new venture.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, you may be disappointed. My outline is going to look marginally better than the ones you did. LOL I put the bare bones of the story down....introduction....first main event....second main event...and then I fill in the rest as I write. All I need is a vague idea where i am going and how I'm getting there. Especially with mysteries, with all the foreshadowing and clues, i find I have to allow the characters to do most of the work. Still, I will try to give you something in the form of an outline in another article. Thank you!

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan Robert Lancaster 2 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Hello again Bill. No intention of tripping you up, but...

      The research should come at the beginning of the piece. Besides creating a new fictional location or using a real one (these days most writers tend to), there's also using a real location and fictionalising the name, as James Herriot did with Thirsk, calling it 'Darrowby', and Leo Walmsley using Robin Hoods Bay for his books, calling the town 'Bramblewick'.

      If I'd created a fictional town from scratch maybe I'd draw up a sketch 'map' of the place, use real photographs and relocate them to the fictional city/town/village. Railway modellers sometimes 'knit' buildings from an area or region into a fictional location.

      And then there's the local authorities/cops/local dignitaries etc, maybe a railway station or bus depot.

      Just a few suggestions...

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Alan, I will always listen to the voice of experience. Great suggestions of course, some of which I mentioned in an earlier article, but somehow managed to leave out of this one. Thanks for pointing these out.

      Hope all is well with you sir!

    • profile image

      Old Poolman 2 years ago

      Bill, I don't need to tell you how awesome this was to read. You answered questions I had not even asked yet. Thanks for sharing my friend and I think it is past time for you to start that writers school.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Poolman, I thank you. Believe me, if I had the money there is no doubt I would start that school.

    • profile image

      Old Poolman 2 years ago

      Bill, I just sent you a comment but don't think it went through. Let me know if it doesn't show up.

    • profile image

      DJ Anderson 2 years ago

      What a great story line, Bill. Someone mentioned that the idea reminded them of the TV show, "Dexter". I have never watched that show. But, I do like the vigilante aspect of the story. True justice at

      any cost. Yes, you have piqued my interest.

      So, "Resurrecting Tobias" has hit the book market? Amazon?

      I must get my order in before you hit a second or third printing.

      If it is a big hit, you may raise your prices.

      Congratulations, Bill, on publishing your latest novel.

      May there be many more novels in both our futures.

      Your friend,

      DJ.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It showed up, Poolman. I don't know what went wrong, but I answered it. Thanks for checking.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      DJ, I was actually thinking of some movies made long ago by....well, I forgot his name...anyway, there were like three of them, and this guy spent all his spare time knocking off bad guys because he wife and daughter were killed in a mugging/rape...Charles Bronson, that was the guys name.

      Anyway, yes, the book is on sale...you can order it at www.williamdhollandauthor.com

      and thank you

    • profile image

      DJ Anderson 2 years ago

      Oh, yes! Charles Bronson was one tough dude. He was handsome, with a quite strength about him. I do not recall the movie that you describe.

      but, I remember Bronson well. That was back in the days when tough

      guys were totally cool.

      Thanks for the ordering info. Can't wait to get my hands on that book.

      You have not given out very much information about the character or the book. I think the suspense has mounted because of the secretiveness.

      I am sure I will love it!

      Thanks,

      DJ.

    • Sparklea profile image

      Sparklea 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thanks Billy buc...I've always wondered about the word counts. So excited to see you starting your new novel, and thank you so much for the wonderful advice and tips you provided in this excellent hub (as always). I see Michael Milec has received your book (note on FB)...Hopefully, mine will arrive this week also! God bless, Sparklea...glad you received my previous note from my i phone, wasn't sure it would go through.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you DJ...I just remembered the movie...Death Wish....I think there were three of them made. Anyway, I've mentioned a lot about the book on my blog and on Facebook, but it's nice if the suspense is building. :) keep them wanting more.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Lea. CreateSpace seems to mail those books out pretty fast, which is very nice. You should get yours in a day or two.

      bless you my friend

      bill

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Bill, I thoroughly enjoyed your intro. That is my kind of book, and you are one terrific writer! Your style lends itself beautifully to the material you're writing about, and it flowed much better than the bestselling author I am currently reading. This was a helpful hub. Voted up and more, and sharing.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Flourish, thank you for the glowing compliment. I truly appreciate your kind words.

    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 2 years ago

      'A Season for Killing' definitely up my alley, and as I enjoyed your intro, your first customer for the book is champing at the bit. Thank you for sharing your tips.

    • Katrina Speights profile image

      Katrina 2 years ago from Texas

      Thank you for writing this. I have toyed with the idea of writing a book for a few years now, but never got past the first few stages. I really don't have an issue with telling the story, my problem comes with all the red tape surrounding publishing one. I understand why it's there, but it always seemed daunting. Anyway thanks again for giving me a new technique to try.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, I'm not sure I will ever write a novel (I'm too busy cooking), but if I do, I will certainly come back to this hub and take your advice. I have a desire to write a fictional story based on a certain Biblical character ...someday....but for now it's on the back burner. Thank you for sharing the process. Sometimes the most difficult step is knowing where to place your foot.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      “At this point, I don’t know who else will be in the novel, so I’ll wait to interview other characters as they pop into my mind and I include them in the story. I’m sure Eli will have a love interest of some sort, but right now I don’t know what she looks like or what type of person she is, so she can sit in the waiting room until I need her.”

      This had me laughing so hard, it brought tears.

      It’s 3:00 in the morning, and I am reading this with relish (not the hotdog kind). I am losing sleep and it’s all your fault, my friend. :-) Next time you write something this great and we just “can’t put it down,” give us a little warning.

      Now…where did I put my coffee?

      Terrific hub! Voted up, shared, etc.,etc., and etc. :-)

    • sharonchristy profile image

      Sharon Christy 2 years ago from India

      That was a very helpful hub. It has given me a lot of confidence in writing a novel. Thank you so much.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Congratulations upon the completion! Thank you for letting us into your mind and showing us how you processed the various steps. It is interesting how the characters take the lead. We would be lying if we said we don't have an idea. All the best with the next project!

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      Alan Robert Lancaster 2 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      ...And then there's always the corrupt lawyer, police chief - the deputies who fit up an outsider for a crime [he/she obviously didn't commit] to get an inquisitive journalist out of the way to conduct 'business' with the local low-life.

      The 'menu' is endless, thanks to all these plots we get on a raft of TV shows 'floated' across the Pond such as 'NCIS' and 'CSI'.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

      You must have a love interest because it's the chicks that will be reading your book. I read somewhere that 85% of novel readers are women.

      Looks like you have a lot of work to do, but if a writer is passionate about an idea it flows out pretty smoothly. Excellent hub and good luck going forward, both on this and the last book!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much Shelley. I'm so glad you enjoyed the intro. See you in about six months. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Katrina, it can be daunting for sure, but don't let that discourage you. If you have a book inside of you, let it out.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Best wishes to you Carb. Write what you love to write.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Genna, I am so sorry about the lost sleep. Tomorrow night don't read any of my junk. I feel horrible. LOL Thank you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sharonchristy, I am so happy to hear this helped you. Thank you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Dora. I would like to take credit for the whole writing, but the characters do the lion's share of the work.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Alan, I love NCIS, but I could never write like that. Too much scientific detail and I'm too lazy to do that kind of research. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Mel. i'll be by to read your new one soon.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 2 years ago from South Africa

      Billybuc, you are such an inspiration! This is the wonder of being a writer - we can eliminate the scum of the world without facing the law. Good luck with your 2nd novel. Your 1st is on my wish list, I plan to get it soon :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Martie, you are right...anything goes while writing a novel. Toss out laws and rules and go for it. :) Thank you!

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 2 years ago from Hawaii

      The beginning is always an important step. Thanks for the teachings, Bill!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It's always my pleasure, vkwok. Thank you.

    • torrilynn profile image

      torrilynn 2 years ago

      I would say that the best way to begin to writing a novel is to let your imagination run wild and to write down the first things that comes to your mind. overall, I liked your hub. thanks.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Torrilynn, whatever works for you is the right way. A writer has to follow that inner voice, and he/she is the only one who can hear it.

    • mathira profile image

      mathira 2 years ago from chennai

      billy, you were clear and helpful in giving tips about writing a novel. I think you have to practice a lot before venturing to write a novel. Another important factor is that you should be interested in the characters you etch for the novel to be interesting.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Both valid points, Mathira. Writing a novel is not for everyone. Thanks for your insight.

    • travmaj profile image

      travmaj 2 years ago from australia

      Powerful introduction, I certainly want to read more, althoughI guess it may change over the next months. Your characters will soon be dictating to you, 'come on Bill, give me a go.' My friend a most successful author often tells me she has to listen to them constantly. Even wrote sequels to her work because they wouldn't rest. (joy dettman) Hmmm, mine tend to fade away!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      travmaj, this will be the first book I've written with the express idea of sequels. The character damn well better speak to me, and soon. LOL Thank you and have a wonderful weekend.

    • nylarej profile image

      nylarej 2 years ago from Ph

      Great hub, Bill! I am a frustrated novel writer. I wanted to start writing a novel long ago but always end up with nothing. Thanks for the tips, I will apply your tips and let's see the output :D :)

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 2 years ago from Dubai

      Book marked for future reference, great guide on how to start writing a novel. Informative and useful,voted up.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Nylarej, best wishes to you. Don't get frustrated. Take it one small step at a time and let it come to you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Vellur. I hope it helps you in the future.

    • Anna Haven profile image

      Anna Haven 2 years ago from Scotland

      What a good introduction and character. He was bad but good. Light and dark. Likeable but troubled.

      It really did pull me in. Watching this space...

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, Anna. Eli will be my most challenging and rewarding character yet. I'm really glad you enjoyed the intro.

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 2 years ago

      Hi Bill.

      Having this much helpful information given for lowest ' price ' possible, writing a Novel would be a piece of cake, when you know what the world is expecting…

      This is an awesome Hub.

      Much success, my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michael my friend, thank you so much. It's good to hear from you again and I hope all is well with you and your family.

      blessings always

      bill

    • Made profile image

      Madeleine Salin 2 years ago from Finland

      Maybe I'll write a novel some day. This hub certainly inspired me and gave me a push. I actually started writing on a novel last year, but I didn't know how to continue. I haven't looked at it since September last year and I've only written 3000 words, but it's a start. Thank you for all the good ideas and advice you give your readers, Bill.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Made, so good to see you. Yes my friend, it is a start, and it will be waiting for you to continue when you are ready.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      This sounds like a great novel to me. Can't wait to see that one, too.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Deb. This will be a dark one.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 2 years ago

      I'm taking the step -- yes, I think I can do it! Thanks for your guidance, Bill.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I love it, Dianna! You go, girl!

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