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What to Write a Novel About

Updated on May 15, 2013
We writers only dream of and strive to create a classic once we get over the hurtle of figuring out what to write a novel about.
We writers only dream of and strive to create a classic once we get over the hurtle of figuring out what to write a novel about. | Source

Writing a Novel

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How do I Write a Novel?

No one can really tell you what to write a novel about. The best novel ideas come from the individual imaginations of the writers who produce them, who have a passion for what they are writing about, and a desire to share it with the masses. Many times, the question about what to write a novel about comes not from a lack of inspiration but the fact that, perhaps, the person asking the question really should be asking "how do I write a novel?" instead.

When it comes to deciding on what to write a novel about, there is no set way to find a solution. Writers can find inspiration just about anywhere, whether they are looking for it or not. If inspiration has not struck, go out and search for it. Traveling is one way of finding it, whether you go to another country or just take a day long road trip. Another possible solution is just writing. That's right, sit down and write. The word vomit technique in particular is a great exercise to get those wheels turning and produce ideas you may not have realized you had in you.

Understanding how to write a novel can be a complex process to rival the one undertaken to discover what to write a novel about. The key point to remember is that there really is no absolute set way to writing a novel. Some writers can sit down and let their ideas take them sentence by sentence, page by page, through a story that comes alive on paper in time with the flow of ideas. Others need tedious amounts of notes, outlines, and other forms of planning just to get them comfortable with the idea of sitting down and getting to work on writing a novel. Whether you are one or the other, or somewhere in between, understanding how to write a novel in your own way comes from either experience or research.

Once writers figure out what to write about, the next question is who to write about.
Once writers figure out what to write about, the next question is who to write about. | Source
A nice notebook and handy pen enables a writer to write a novel just about anywhere.
A nice notebook and handy pen enables a writer to write a novel just about anywhere. | Source

Tips on Writing a Novel

  1. Keep a dictionary and thesaurus handy as you write
  2. Avoid clichés so you don't bore your audience
  3. Invest in a baby book on names and meanings to help create great character names
  4. Write a minimum of one page a day or a set amount of time per day, no matter how you are feeling
  5. Make characters worth remembering, relatable, and as real as possible

What to Write About

Although there are many more steps for writing a novel, I have narrowed my own list down to three basics to get you started once you finally decide on what to write a novel about.

1. Nourish Your Inspiration

Once you finally come up with an idea for what to write a novel about, it's time to take it and expand it into something worth creating a whole book around. Here, I would suggest using storyboards or some other form of outline to keep ideas organized and concise while you brainstorm. Here are some aspects of the story to keep in mind as you work on what to write about for your inspiration:

  • What type of novel is it? (Intended genre/audience)
  • Who is in it? (Characters)
  • Where is it? (Setting)
  • What happens? (Plot)

2. Write It Out

Of course, finally writing that novel of your dreams is what this is all about. Take those ideas from the first step and use them as a guide as you finally write a novel that has been itching to escape your mind for possibly years. Now that you know where you want to go in your novel you can:

  • Write a draft or two
  • Carry a notebook around for ideas, fragments, and other pieces that will eventually be put together into the story
  • Research
  • Create your own writing space

3. Polish it Up

Once you get a draft or two written, it's a good idea to go back to the very beginning and polish it up. Whether you decide to do it yourself or use a handy friend that you trust to proofread without going overboard with the red ink, making sure your draft is nice and polished before looking into publishing it is a great way to ensure quality writing. Some key points to keep in mind include:

  • Edit it until you feel proud to show it off
  • Show your work to others. A fresh perspective may help improve what you have decided to write about
  • Take advice with a grain of salt. Always remember that it is your novel and your ideas. Don't take criticism too personally. If necessary, get a second opinion before taking harsh advice too seriously.

© 2013 Lisa

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