Starting with intro
but the most beautiful way of novel writing is to write from climax and stay in that state by giving thrill to story
Start with genre, romance, sci fi, thriller, etc. Then your Main Character, hero/heroine. Some idea of what your book should be about in general and the goal of the story. Hero falls in love with unlikely..., heroine detective catches the serial killer, etc. Make a list of 10 ways the hero reaches the goal and 10 conflicts that keep the hero from reaching the goal. Don't over analyze just jot down ideas, brainstorm and start writing. You don't have to start at the beginning, maybe you have the outcome figured out and want to work backwards or start in the middle. The idea is to just write.
I try to flesh out at least 3 to 5 characters or so (once I did as many as 20), then put them into a situation and see how they respond. What can really be fun is taking two characters, one who has a fear/dislike of something and pair them with someone who is really into that something and see how they respond to each other about it.
I have started some stories with nothing more than an idea... a vague concept and a what if? Playing "What if?" can be a great tool for a writer, but don't just stop at the first thing that comes to mind. Dig a little deeper and you'll find something that really makes the story flow.
For example, I had a character that had a smokey smell, which the obvious answer is that he's a smoker. But, since I was doing a fantasy based novel, I wondered what else could cause that kind of smell, and so I made that character a blacksmith (or at least works in a blacksmith shop). That made him a more interesting character -- especially when combined with other traits I had for him, such as having one leg shorter than the other.
I have a series of hubs on this issue if you want to check them out. But then, you want the short answer, right?
I assume you know what you want the novel to be about. If you don't then the real question is WHY you want to write one. Ideas are cheap and easy to come by. Just daydream, or read other books.
If you know what it is to be about, then just start writing. You'll have fifty stillbirths before you have a winner. That's fine. it goes that way for everyone.
The simple answer is to sit down at computer and type. That's all there is to it.
I usually start with the ending and then work by way backward. I'm not suggesting that the ending be revealed at the beginning, only that it is usually the ending that I conceive of first. Then I try to develop the plot and characters in such a way that ending makes sense.
I am usually inspired by everyday happenings, headlines or other daily observations. Often, I'm inspired by things that others have written. I would never duplicate them, but one great idea often leads to another.
I have just written a hub on how to write the first draft of a novel, but I don't think I'm allowed to post you the link! But you can read it if you like. It doesn't tell you how to come up with the ideas, because I'm saving that for a different hub.
Basically, though, I start with an idea and just write down everything that pops into my head to do with that idea. A character might emerge and I then expand on that character and find them a purpose, a quest, a task or something. You can't have a story without a purpose, as far as I'm aware - your protagonist needs to have something they're working towards, no matter which genre you choose to work in. You can introduce family and friends whenever you like - and that can be lots of fun too, watching your characters interact with each other (they very rarely behave as you want them to, and you end up having to edit conversations A LOT!).
The main bit of advice I can give right at the start is to just allow your mind to wander, and don't try to force things to go in certain directions - that part can come later when you've got a story to work with. Initially you just need to play around with ideas and see what comes out of it. It can be surprising, and you may find things in your head that you never would have expected to be there!
The first stage is all about having fun really, and playing. Enjoy.
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