Writing a novel takes a lot of time, effort, and patience. It’s important to understand that there is no magic formula. It may take up to a year or more to come up with a novel of just 150-200 manuscript pages.
Like other writing, novel writing has its own challenges. From creating plot and characters to committing yourself to persistent writing to editing and revising drafts are some of the biggest challenges a novelist has to deal with.
If you’re planning to write your first novel but don’t know where to start, here is the step-by-step guide for you.
Step: 1 Get a Creative Idea for a Story
It’s essential to have a story idea before you start writing a novel. Though it’s not necessary to have a full outline, you must know what you will write about.
For instance, if you want to write a story about a small-town boy you must first think about some stories about him. For example, you will need to think about where does he live? What does he do? What is so special about him?
In short, you need a meaningful starting point so that you can take the story further and develop more characters.
Don’t forget to consider your potential readers when deciding on a plot for your novel. Make sure it’s a powerful story, not just a bundle of words.
If you are lost for ideas, try our writing prompt generator.
Step 2: Create Powerful Central Characters
Since the protagonist of your novel will move the plot forward, you must create an unforgettable central character. Remember, the main character must have heroic qualities that must appear throughout the story and especially in the climax.
Along with the protagonist, you must have a potent, memorable, and impressive antagonist. Make your villain a kick-ass super bad villain.
To make your antagonist memorable and realistic, you must give some compelling reasons for what made him so bad.
Ask yourself following questions when creating characters:
- What is it that they want?
- What or who will deter them from having it?
- What will they do about it?
- What’s their major role in the main story?
Step 3: Turn Your Idea into a Plot
Once you have come up with a story idea and decided on your characters, it’s time to expand your idea into a plot. To develop your plot, dive your main character into danger. Make everything harder to get that your protagonist tries to get out of his problems.
Focus on creating situations more hopeless for him. It will develop his character and offer him what he wants to succeed.
Add all the significant elements to your plot. Remember, your plot must have an impressive introduction to the storyline, an incident that changes everything drastically for the protagonist, a series of crises that build up tension and a happy and meaningful climax.
Step 4: Heighten the Problem of Your Protagonist
Putting your protagonist in trouble is not enough; you should make his situation progressively worse. Some new novelists make the life of their central character too easy. A hero is often given a stylish apartment, car, and girlfriend. Having such things may depict that the protagonist is not an acute problem. Instead, you may show that he has lost everything.
Also, avoid making your hero sound sloppy. He may have some weaknesses and flaws, but he should not be annoying.
Step 5: Come up with Good Dialogue
Dialogue is one of the significant components of novel writing. Remember, it should sound natural and match the personality of your character.
Make sure each character has a distinctive voice. After writing a dialogue, say it loudly to find out if it sounds like your character.
You may have to re-write your dialogues many times to come up with something impactful. Eliminate clichés making your dialogue sound dull.
Step 6: Make Your Novel Realistic by Using Accurate Information
Though a novel is always fiction, it doesn’t mean you can write anything unbelievable. For instance, your antagonist can’t shoot ten bullets from a revolver that holds six rounds of ammunition. The point is research well before writing anything.
Step: 7 Climax
The climax is the point when conflict attains its peak. Write it effectively as readers are always mentally prepared for the conclusion.
It’s time to appreciate their sticking with you by offering them a joyful story ending. Take your time to write a thoroughly gratifying ending point.
Here are some quick tips for writing a climax.
- Choose a climax that the story deserves, not what you want
- If your story has both primary and secondary protagonists, let them deal with their antagonists individually.
- Resolve all the issues of subplots at the end.
- Make sure the final goal of your central character is refined to its purest form.
- Your readers shouldn’t feel like they are cheated at the end.
Step 8: Edit Your Novel Like a Professional
A lot of novelists write at least three drafts. The first draft is known as the “vomit draft.” It’s an opportunity to explore your story and decide what it is all about. The second draft is for significant structural changes and clarifying the plot and characters.
Your third draft should be for polishing everything. If you’re serious about getting published, you must use a professional editor. Cut unnecessary words and give special attention to grammar and punctuation. It is advisable to use a professional grammar checker and proofreading tool to be sure your writing is grammatically correct.
Writing a novel is not a child’s play. If it were easy, everyone would do it. However, it doesn’t mean you can let your fear stop you. It’s essential that you stay focused and motivated. If you think you are still not ready to write a novel, read some great novelists, gather some creative ideas, and then start writing again with new energy.
We hope this post helps you write a good novel.