How To Start Your First Novel: 15 Winning Tips
Are you one of those who have always dreamt of writing your own novel? If yes, then stop postponing it and finally dare to realize that dream. As they say, now is perfect moment for starting anything. And, who knows, maybe the first novel will determine your career and a writer and will make you a great writer?
To start off, you’ll need a strategy to follow and the advice from other writers to guide you on your way. Creating a lengthy piece of writing is always a challenge, and you might feel lost at times. Our online resume service offers you some helpful advice – here’s how you can ease the writing process.
Tip #1. Planning is the key
A journey of thousand miles begins with a single step, and for the writing this step is creating a plan. It doesn’t have to be a strict plan of your future book, rather a direction which you will be following throughout the way.
The plan doesn’t have to be static. Maybe, in the process of writing you’ll reconsider some of your ideas and modify the story of one of the characters or the entire theme. However, with a clear detailed plan at hand you’ll avoid wandering thoughts and will focus on developing the story in the right way.
Writing experts recommend planning the following before you get down to writing:
- Write one paragraph describing the plot, theme and setting of the future novel in a way that would appeal to the editor;
- Write a few paragraphs for each of your main characters. Give a detailed picture of who is he, his goals and how his story is going to develop.
As soon as you’ve done with the above two steps, you’ll have a clear picture of your novel – that’s what is necessary for focused, interesting writing.
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Tip #2. Write for yourself first, not for your readers
Some writers out there in the web insist that you should determine your target audience before writing. As they state, if you know who you are writing for and what is your message, you’ll have more chances to become popular.
While it can be true for website content writing (see more about how to write winning content for your blog here: http://resumeperk.com/blog/tips-on-content-writing-how-to-make-your-post-outstanding), this rule isn’t much effective for creative writing. The famous writer Stephen King states that when you’re writing the story, you’re telling the story to yourself – so make sure you enjoy the story you’re writing.
See, there’s no way to be loved by everyone. Trying too hard to make your novel appealing to everyone will make your writing look uniform and destroy your voice.
Tip #3. Read as much as you can
If you aren’t a keen reader, you won’t make a successful writer. All great writers mastered their skills by reading as much as they could and then writing for hours day by day. Sounds dull, but in the end it’s the only way to write excellent novels.
Don’t have time to read? Ditch watching TV and spending spare time on social media. Read a few books of the writers you admire, and try to learn what makes them successful. However, don’t copy their voice – find yours.
Tip #4. Complete the full draft before editing/rewriting
The first novel is rarely a success. Put up with the fact that you’re only learning and it might take years until your writing becomes really good. To reach that point, however, you need to write a few complete novels, not just a few drafts.
You probably know the feeling of an unfinished work in progress. You won’t overcome the frustration by rewriting the completed chapters over and over again. What you need to do is to complete the entire novel; and only they you can do the editing.
Tip #5. Schedule time and set writing goals
Stephen King recommends that you spend no longer than three months on completing the first draft. However, if you have a full-time job and your novel requires much research, this term can be extended. The key is to schedule time for your novel every day and to set a deadline, just like for academic writing: http://resumeperk.com/blog/helpful-pieces-of-advice-for-phd-student-writers.
Here’s how the writing targets should be set:
- Be realistic – if you work full-time and have a family, you won’t manage writing 10 pages a day
- Set the milestones – for example, you can schedule writing four chapters by the end of the month
- Be flexible – make sure your schedule is easily modified.
Tip # 6. Use the classic structure of a novel
Your story should have a setup, confrontation and resolution. This scheme is basic; as soon as you master it, you’ll be able to experiment with structures of your novels. But first, try this one out to figure out how your novel should develop.
Tip #7. Use one main character
Some of the best world’s novels have multiple character arcs. Nevertheless, we suggest you start with only one main character in your first novel.
- Create a character that is interesting for you and that you love and care for. An interesting central figure of your narrative is a key to your readers’ attention.
- Let your main character guide the readers throughout the way. Obviously, there will be a number of other characters, but make sure the main one gets the most of your attention and is involved in the key storyline.
Tip #8. Develop your own writing style – and stick to it
Although it’s recommended that you learn from other writers’ work, it doesn’t mean that you should copy their writing style and tone. Even if you know their tone and love it, you’ll only be the pale copy. It’s the unique life experience and feelings that form and shape the voice. You can’t be the second Charles Bukowski – even if you learn all of his writing tricks.
Don’t be the copy. Find your own voice – this is what makes you and your writing unique. And eventually, this is what will bring readers to you.
Tip #9. Writing should make you happy
Writing is a time-consuming, exhausting process one can’t practice for a long time without enjoying it. If the necessity to write stresses you, the path of a writer is probably not for you.
The novel should come out of you without pressure and the entire process should feel like fun rather than an unenjoying duty. Enjoying the writing process is the only approach that will enable you to master your writing and to succeed as a writer.
Tip #10. Pay enough attention to editing
As you’re done with the first draft, it’s time for editing – the process which will determine how your novel will look like. Writers by trade as well as professional writing services recommend that you take the following steps during your editing process:
- Put your manuscript away for a few days (or even weeks). To edit a book, you need a fresh eye – and the best way to achieve it is to forget about your novel for a while;
- Eliminate the passive voice whenever it’s possible to use active voice;
- Remove adverbs and weasel words. Most of the cases these words don’t convey the information and make you sound unsure. Your novel will get better without them;
- Pay special attention to punctuation – there are lots of proofreading techniques for writer, you can familiarize yourself with them in our guide for flawless proofreading;
- Hire a professional editor – if you can afford it, consider hiring an editor by trade to perform the final edit of your manuscript. As a beginning writer, you’ll benefit a lot from this collaboration.
Writing your first novel is an exciting yet challenging process. However, if you are determined and informed about the best practices the top writers use, you’ll manage the finalizing your first draft. And, maybe, one day the world will discover another prominent writer of modernity ;-)
Even professional writers often struggle creating their own resume in a way that modern labor market demands. The matter is, effective resume writer requires a number of different skills apart from writing itself. So, if you want to find employment as a writer, contact our resume writers. With 9+ years of writing expertise in various fields, we’ll find a writer whose skills correspond with your demands to speed up your job search process.
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