Do you remember being a kid and sitting down to write a story and the whole thing just tumbled out of your head with ease? Yeah, not all of it made sense, and some of it was straight up nonsense, but you’d actually do it. You’d decide you were writing a novel, and you’d get it done.
When we grow up, we get more wary, we second guess ourselves and feel like nothing is quite right, striving for perfection the first time around – this is just halting your progress. So, as it’s National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) we thought we’d give you some tips to get your head in the game, put pen to paper/fingers to keyboard, and get writing like that little kid you once were… just hopefully a little more coherent and with better spelling.
What Is National Novel Writing Month?
In their words, ‘NaNoWriMo’ is a nonprofit that believes in the transformational power of creativity. “We provide the structure, community, and encouragement to help people use their voices, achieve creative goals, and build new worlds – on and off the page.”
It all started back in November 1999 with a straightforward but daunting challenge – to write 50,000 words in 30 days. It’s that simple push that a lot of us need to actually start getting words down. Now, people all over the world take part. Their website hosts over one million writers who can use it as a kind of social media platform, with author profiles, writing buddies and word counters (like fitbit step counters). As well as this, they have over 900 in-person volunteers from libraries and community centres from Seoul to Milwaukee.
If you think getting involved would be a great way to start writing a novel, then head over to their website.
Let’s Break It Down Into Steps
If you think about the whole process behind writing a novel at once, it may feel overwhelming, so let’s break it down into steps:
Start working out what kind of world your story will unfold in. You want somewhere where you and your readers will enjoy being, as you’re going to be there for a while! Within this world, find your story. What’s going to be the main event?
- Point of view
Take a second to decide on your point of view – are you going to be writing in first, second or third person? If you choose third person (which is probably the most popular), are you going for third person limited or third person omniscient? Will you know everything about your characters and have access to their inner monologues, or are you going to be a bit further back?
It’s time to get an outline together. One good way to do this is the Snowflake Method. This helps you slowly build up from a one sentence synopsis to your first draft.
Decide when and how your novel is going to end. Are you bringing a full resolution or leaving a cliffhanger?
- Draft one
Now it’s time to get properly stuck into writing a novel – it’s draft one time! You’ve got a full framework created, you know the world, characters, plotline, and you can do this!
Draft one is complete, now it’s time for you to take a bit of a step back. Go and read something else, write something else, or just generally give yourself a bit of space from your novel. Then you can come back with fresh eyes for draft two.
- Draft two
No one gets it perfect the first time! Now you’ve had a bit of a break, you can assess where you are, what you like, what you want to take out and what needs a bit of a tweak. Let’s get going on draft two!
- Get some input
You’re smashing it at this point, you’ve succeeded in writing a novel and now it’s just about perfecting it. Try getting some outside input as you need to be open to constructive criticism, but this doesn’t mean you have to 100% agree with all feedback. We all have different tastes, so take in what’s said to you and decide for yourself what to change.
- Draft and draft again!
Now it’s just about chopping and changing, adding the finishing touches and smoothing out the narrative. Redraft as many times as you like, but don’t make yourself sick of your own writing! Take breaks and come back to it, get more input and keep reworking it until you’re happy.
Ta daaaaa! You’ve done it!
Whether you’re thinking of sending it to a publisher, keeping it for yourself, or sharing it with loved ones, it’s a huge achievement and you should be so proud of yourself! Maybe you’ll already have an idea brewing for the next one!
Need Help Writing A Novel?
Breaking it down into steps like that makes it seem pretty straightforward, but it goes without saying that writing a novel is a tricky thing to do and requires a huge amount of time and energy. Do you have a great story that you want to get out there but don’t have the opportunity to get it written down? Then call on Truly Content! Our ghostwriting service will turn your ideas into a finished book!