Is Writing a Novel a Learned Skill?
Can Anyone Write A Novel?
We are all Storytellers.
Writing a novel can be quite a challenge, particularly if you haven’t worked on a full-length book before. The thought of churning out more than 80,000 words, not to mention getting them into some sort of structured order, is terrifying. However, it can be done… with the right approach!
The more we read and write the better we get at it. Everybody has a story to tell, even if its their own story and if the interest is there to do so. How good a person is at their writing skill is an altogether different matter. A writer of any topic MUST have a passion for writing and for the topics they a need to share. Then they will succeed.
One of the best storytellers I have come across is Robin Hobb. She is a Fantasy author, and her trilogies are emotionally rich, full of magical events and her background descriptions are phenomenal.
Her advice is: If you want to become a writer, do a bit of writing today, no matter how short. Even keeping a journal, or reading on a topic that relates to your long-term goal can give me that encouragement toward a long-term goal.
It’s a trick that works for me.
The Multidimensional World of Literature
Having a natural ability from a young age in a particular skill is clearly an advantage. These children are born gifted, often in the fields of art, music or mathematics to name a few.
Writing is different for everyone. Storytelling, poetry, or article writing on all kinds of topics is approached individually depending for what market we write for.
I've written several full-length novels and a workbook but I'm still learning. My writing skills grew over many years of practicing, and it’s still improving all the time. The content of my novels came from personal experiences and a lot of research on esoteric and metaphysical sciences.
Hopefully, by sharing what I've learned so far, plus a few tips and tricks along the way, your road to publication will be far smoother.
An author must be a reader. I cannot imagine that writers do not read.
Books like: A course in miracles, The Keys of Enoch by J.J.Hurtak, the work of Rudolf Steiner and The Gnosis and The Law: by Tellis S. Papastavro were a great inspiration. So did fiction authors like Ayn Rand, Carlos Castaneda, Carl Sagan and Richard Bach were my inspiration before the internet.
The Genre of a Novel
A novel must fall under a category like romance, crime, fantasy, science fiction, historical or in my case visionary fiction.
A novel must have a 'plot driven hook' from the first page.
- The first chapter of a novel is the most important. It must have all the elements in the plot to keep the reader wanting to find out about the how, why, where, or who.
- A novel must stimulate our imagination through descriptive physical backgrounds that keeps us grounded.
- The emotional and stimulating dialog in a novel can be humorous and witty, intellectual and stimulating, or informative and believable.
- The main characters (not too many) must feel, look and behave realistically.
By establishing realistic plot driven goals throughout the novel, the reader will finish the novel. Make sure the reader is satisfied at the closure of the novel, even if it has a sequel.
Let the characters tell the story
When I started my own attempt at creative writing, it felt as if someone else was taking control of my hands and fingers on the keyboard! Here was I, a woman who could not even write a short note to her children's schoolteacher unless they wrote it first, so she could copy the text! (The World of a Dyslexic)
All my life I avoided writing, instead I drew and even taught drawing skills, teaching people to draw their own portrait in eight weeks! All I did was teach them to SEE!
Was I writing from a group soul consciousness? Like someone who does automatic writing, but through the fingers that were typing on a keyboard?
The structure of a novel.
What is your novel about? (Think of a title even if you change it later)
- Write down a general summary of the key events in your note book or in a MS document. I personally used my notebook and created a kind of "mind map", which grows as I develop more sub-plots etc.
- Create a cast of Main Characters - ages, gender, race , looks (fit,healthy...) The more characters, the more difficult for the reader to remember who is who)
- If needed include some minor characters - ( I've created a cast of characters and a family tree)
- What is the background of your story. Where does it take place, what year, what season.
- Create some chapter headings - (not that you have to use them, but it will help with the structure of your novel) Tip: try to keep chapters of a similar length, say 1500+ words.
- The main plot of your story - ( spread out in each chapter) (your chapter headings are important to give you some structure - you do not have to use it)
- Try to imagine that your first chapter and your last chapter almost link like a string of beads!
Cast of Characters
A tip for writers is to shape their characters by studying the Enneagram.
Once you, the author, find out your own personality type, you will understand why some people in your own family see the world very differently and why, so your readers will experience the same.
- The Enneagram personality type system is a handy tool to create fictional characters in ways their readers can relate to.
- The Enneagram is a model of the human psyche. It refers to the nine different types or styles, with each representing a worldview and archetype that resonates with the way people think, feel and act in relation to the world.
- The Enneagram is a 3 x 3 arrangement of nine personality types in three Centers. There are three types in the Instinctive Center, three in the Feeling Center and three in the Thinking Center.
Writing from our Higher Self
Life gets more fun and inspirational when a writer connects with their higher self, and not from their EGO personality who only wants to stand out, or thinks about becoming famous or making a lot of money with their first book! As publishers, we get a lot of manuscripts that lack authenticity.
We become more creative and focused on a particular goal if we write from our soul!. We will become more open-minded, and reconsider things we once thought we could never do, like writing a novel.
Creative writing through the Higher Self.
When my son was at college, he allowed me to play on his computer, his proudest possession. He had given me a floppy and later a stiffy disk to store my writings on. We were still operating a Dos system. I kept my creative writing very private, also because I knew that it was full of spelling and grammatical errors. I was using Corel Word Perfect 5, which showed lots of red and green underlines.
Only years later did I understand that when our Soul wants to awaken, embody or exchange expressions of the other dimensions, then our Higher Self comes through in our creative writing. Then we can truly say that we have experienced moving into a new storytelling dimension. We as writers have arrived in the illusion world of fiction.
Can Anyone become a Published Author?
The answer is YES and today it is a lot easier than say ten years ago. Create space at Amazon.com is one of the many ways a writer can publish their own book. The only criteria are that a writer MUST have life skills, a passion for their topic and a determination to succeed; that is if people want to write for the adult market. Writing for a younger readership uses an altogether different formula.
The general school curriculum in public schools, especially in South Africa is currently outdated when it comes to the individual needs of students. Many young children these days are almost forced into learning a skill in order to be assured of a good income. Unless parents can afford to send their children to private schools, or a Montessori school, youngsters are already doomed from a very early age by learning to conform; being brainwashed to follow rules that are not conducive to their own happiness in later years. They are groomed to become the property of the state!
Encourage young people to follow their dreams
I hope this article will be read by parents who have young children who love to read. In these times it’s important to encourage young people to follow their dreams, and support their passion no matter if it might not be fit in our commercial society. Humanity is moving into a new era that will follow totally different rules. The children of today will become the leaders of a world where individual integrity on all levels is more important than having wealth, intellectual knowledge or good connections!
Dishonesty, corruption and lack of empathy for others will not be tolerated in the new world.
Listen to what Gregg, in his book Fractal Time, has to say about the New World Age.
Everybody has a Story to Tell.
- Follow your heart no matter what others say!
How many of us are told from a young age that the most important thing is to choose an occupation that is always in demand, so that you will never be poor!
- Getting published in today's world
The world of publishing now offers a bewildering amount of choices, some of which will not lead to success and others are simply dangerous!