ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Preparation Tips for Writing a Novel

Updated on March 9, 2013
Ready to be the next Stephen King? You'll have more success if you follow these preparation tips before you begin writing your book!
Ready to be the next Stephen King? You'll have more success if you follow these preparation tips before you begin writing your book! | Source

Writing a Book: First Steps

Maybe you've had a few ideas swirling around in your head for a while, or maybe you woke up from a dream last night and were suddenly inspired to write a novel. It may be tempting to sit down and start writing your book immediately, but a book, like most other things in life, requires planning to reach successful fruition.

Before you put pen to paper, consider writing an outline, doing preliminary research on the market, and setting goals and milestones to maintain your motivation.

With the following preparation tips for writing a novel, you will be well on your way to seeing your name on a cover!

Tips for Outlining Your Novel

Writing an Outline for Your Novel

A novel can be sparked by the idea for a certain character, or a certain scene or theme--but that character, scene, or theme won't fill the 50,000 words it takes to make a novel. You'll have to develop a compelling, manageable plot as well.

If you just sit down and start writing before considering the beginning, middle, and end of your story, and how all three work together to make one coherent piece of writing, you'll likely get bogged down halfway through and experience frustration, if not writer's block.

Take the time before you begin writing to prepare an outline of your novel. In the outline, go through the major plot points and which characters are involved in each; share your outline with a friend or family member to get their opinion on how well it works in terms of sequence and action.

Also in the outline, write brief summaries of your main characters--their personalities, their motivations, and a little of their history. Your characters won't be believeable if they are inconsistent, so you can refer back to your character summaries as your novel progresses to make sure the characters populating your novel are staying true to themselves.

Writing an outline will also help you in instances of writer's block--if you're stuck on a scene at the beginning of the book, and have a good outline, skip ahead and write a scene in the middle or the end--that might give your brain the push it needs to amp up the creativity.

Are you ready to see your book on a shelf? Prepare properly before beginning to write; these tips will help.
Are you ready to see your book on a shelf? Prepare properly before beginning to write; these tips will help. | Source

Doing Market Research for Your Book

Here's a hard truth: publishing houses accept books they think will make money. No matter how amazing your novel may be, if it's not a good fit for the market, a publishing house will not accept it. They are about profits when it comes down to the bottom line.

If you're writing just for the joy of it and plan to self-publish or don't care if you get published, then you won't need to do market research. But, if you do want to be published at a traditional house, do your market research first.

Gather a list of books that are similar to yours, in the same genre for example, and analyze how well those books have done. (Keep this list for your book proposal, which you will write when you are done with the novel.) If you can access numbers of copies sold and profits, that will help too.

Think about when Stephenie Meyer wrote the Twilight series (all personal opinions on its merits aside); books about vampires were moderately popular, but Anne Rice and Charlaine Harris had primarily conquered the market in their own unique ways. Then out comes Twilight, and the shelves are filled with vampire/human romances. Now that the shelves are glutted, your YA romance is more likely to succeed if it takes a different angle--ditch the vampire and find some other brooding creature of the night to sub in.

Market research can make the difference between your book's acceptance and its denial.

Sticking to a schedule can make a huge difference in finishing your novel! Create your schedule before you begin and follow it closely.
Sticking to a schedule can make a huge difference in finishing your novel! Create your schedule before you begin and follow it closely. | Source

Setting Goals and Milestones for Your Novel

Another important preparation tip for writing a novel is to set goals and milestones to track your progress and to maintain your motivation.

First, think about when you'd like to be done with your first draft. A month from now? Two months from now? Be realistic--if you're writing a historical novel that requires research, you won't be done in three weeks. If you're writing a romance novella, you may be done even more quickly than that.

Take out your planner or use your Outlook Calendar and picks dates on which you'd like to reach certain milestones. Mark them prominently and track your progress--treat yourself when you reach one.

It's easy for weeks and then months to slip by unproductively if you don't goals. Paying attention to your progress (or lack thereof) will help you reach your goal: a finished novel.

Ready, Set, Write Your Novel!

Now that you've accomplished your preparatory steps for writing your novel, you're ready to get started! Proper preparation before beginning the writing process can make the difference between success and failure, so plan carefully! Good luck writing.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • DIYmommy profile image

      Julie 

      6 years ago

      I give established authors, like Stephen King, alot of credit. God knows how many times I've sat down, with pen to paper, attempting to craft a novel. It was always my goal, but, admittedly, it can be a very daunting task. Even if just for my own self-fulfillment, I'm determined to write one one day. Thank you for the very comprehensive and well-thought out hub!

    • SaffronBlossom profile imageAUTHOR

      SaffronBlossom 

      6 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Thanks Abby! Agreed, it would also work for nonfiction!

    • Abby Campbell profile image

      Dr Abby Campbell 

      6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Very useful hub, SaffronBlossom! Many of your tips would also be useful for non-fiction. ;)

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)