12 Key points for any budding novelist to keep in mind
Before you start to write; read. Read lots of books; all kinds of books. Fiction and non-fiction. Good books and bad books. Watch lots of television; everything and anything. The ideas and thoughts of others will help you develop your own. Because you will hear something, see something, read something that will make you think.
Jump out of your comfort zone and broaden your horizons. Change your job. Move to another city. Meet new people. Join a club. Do something different on holiday next time. New experiences and how you react to them will open up a rich seam of inspiration and stir up your imagination.
If you have anything to say you wont have any trouble writing about it.
If you are going to write a novel you only need to ask yourself one question; why am I even bothering, because whatever I might have to say will already have been said by someone else much cleverer than me (which will probably be true). So why bother? You might not be able to answer it; but you still need to ask it.
Writers like to say that writing is hard work. It’s not. Getting inspiration is hard.
Aspiring writers are always advised to “write what you know about“. People who think they might like to try their hand at writing a novel give up at this point because they think they don’t know anything. They think that because they haven’t had an exciting life or a career full of adventure they have nothing to say. Not true. A novel about a man drinking a cup of tea can thrilling too…if it’s done right.
Many writers say that they have no idea how their novel will end…and it shows. You must have a reason for writing otherwise what reason would anyone have for reading it?
The story and the plot are not the same thing. The plot tells you what is happening and they story tells you what it means.
Get the characters right and everything else will be right. If they work your book will work. People love a book because of the characters in it and not because the plot was clever.
A good book is difficult to read because it makes you think and dream.
The difference between a good book and a bad one is sincerity. You write because you have something to say and you really believe it. So when you start writing don’t hold anything back. You have to “give yourself away” in your novel and be prepared for people to laugh and ridicule you for what you say and think. You have to be honest with yourself and take risks. Ask yourself: “dare I say that?” If the answer is “no” stop writing. If what you are writing is embarrassing and makes you blush then you are doing it right and on your way to becoming an artist. (An artist is not someone who sets out to shock by the way. Anyone can do that. Toddlers do that when they run around in a supermarket shouting “willy” and “bum” at the top of their voices. An artist articulates the hopes and dreams and aspirations of Mankind. An artist tells the truth…mostly about themselves and if they are any good they will make their audience see that it is true about them too). Because if you write then you must reveal your soul. That is why writers detest critics because when a critic says a book is bad the author feels the critic is saying they are bad.
Don’t write if you don’t enjoy it. Even if you remain a complete failure it will still be worthwhile because it will make you appreciate the efforts of those who are not. If the only reason that you are going to write is to make money you’d be better off sticking the carcass of a dead farm animal in a tank filled with formaldehyde.