Ever thought about writing a novel but not really sure where to begin? Check out the following tips to get your creative juices flowing!
1. National Novel Writing Month (NanoWriMo)
If you’ve even thought for a moment about being an author, but had absolutely no impetus to start writing, why not join NanoWriMo? It will give you a push in the right direction, and perhaps even more.
NanoWriMo began in 1999, and is currently in its 14th year. Every November, aspiring authors take up the challenge of sitting down and hammering out a string of words on their keyboard to complete their novels. It’s simple to join. You can sign up for a free account on their website, and simply start writing. You’ll see your work-in-progress, feel stressed out by the timeline set, and voila! By 30th November, you’ll need to have churned out 50,000 words, or approximately 175 pages, for your work to qualify as a novel. The next step would be uploading your novel (scrambled) for official verification. Upon succeeding, hurray! You’ll be presented with a winner’s certificate and a web badge.
Of course, the going is never easy, and NanoWriMo has thought of everything. You can get pep talks from authors and even join a forum on the site. Why not jump off the deep end and start writing?
2. Take note of what NOT to do
Writing a novel is hard work, and the good folks at Writer’s Digest have come up with a very helpful list of what not to do when writing. For instance, don’t wait for inspiration—that might take a while to happen! Instead, set aside some time daily to write, or perhaps a daily quota, that you need to complete. That will help to get you in the mood for writing, even if it’s an uphill task for that day.
They’ve also given the very solid advice of not ignoring your craft. This means that you should not ignore those authors who came before you, and write without any techniques in place. This would most certainly end up with an unpublished novel. Instead, it’s suggested that aspiring authors should seriously study the craft, writing, gathering feedback, read novels to find out what works, and perhaps even repeat the process.
In fact, Authonomy, a website created by HarperCollins, has set out to give authors the chance to get their novel out there for visitors to read and comment on.
Of course, if all else fails, don’t quit! Persevere, persevere, persevere. Ever heard of the phrase “good things come to those who wait?”
3. Check out available resources
Finally, there are a number of books out there about writing that you can peruse for free at your library. These books are chock full of tips on how to write your novel, to ways of getting your novel published. Take your pick from the following:
Write a novel and get it published
By Nigel Watts
Call Number: English 808.3 WAT
Is life like this?: a guide to writing your first novel in six months
By John Dufresne
Call Number: English 808.3 DUF
90 days to your novel: a day-by-day plan for outlining & writing your book
By Sarah Domet
Call Number: English 808.3 DOM
Good luck on your first novel!
National Novel Writing Month. Web. 1 Nov 2012. <http://www.nanowrimo.org/>.
Bell, James Scott. “7 Things That Will Doom Your Novel (& How To Avoid Them)”. Writer’s Digest, 5 Jun 2012. Web. 1 Nov 2012. < http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/7-things-that-will-doom-your-novel-how-to-avoid-them>.
Authonomy. HarperCollins. Web. 1 Nov 2012. < http://authonomy.com/>.
Post contributed by Fong Ying Yi, Librarian