Creativity,  Fiction,  The Writing Life,  writing tips

How to WRITE A NOVEL: Step by Step

Writing a novel is a massive project, but one I find very rewarding. It takes a lot of time and a lot of persistence, but if you’re excited about giving it a try, you’ve come to the right place. I can’t wait to join you on your journey.

When I first decided I would attempt to write a novel, I had no idea what I was doing. I persevered. I learned as much as I could through courses and books. I suffered through a lot of trial and error. My first novel, Winds of L’Acadie, was picked up by Ronsdale Press and subsequently published. I was lucky. After two Historical novels, I now have an agent and am in the process of revising my first contemporary teen novel. Writing this story has been a lot of fun. I have learned much along the way which has made the process more efficient and more enjoyable. In these posts, I would like to share what I have learned in hopes that you will have a positive first experience with novel writing.

In these posts, there will be tips and ideas to try. There will also be exercises. The only rule is whatever works for you. But sometimes by doing a little more ground work, you’ll save yourself time and trouble in the pages to come. It is my hope that these steps will help ease the way to publication.

My goal is to post a quote and a prompt each day, so that on those days when you aren’t in the mood to write, you will perhaps find inspiration to do at least a line or two. Getting started, is sometimes the hardest part.

Once a week, I plan to post a writing lesson, in which you will be encouraged to practice a particular skill and hopefully add new tools to your writer’s toolbox.

Are you ready? Let’s get started!

You will need a writer’s notebook. It’s possible of course to keep everything in folders on your computer desktop, but I find it easier, and a break from the screen, to make lists and do exercises in a physical notebook.

Writing Prompt

This week, write for at least ten minutes in three different spots. At the end of the week read what you wrote. Is the tone, voice different in different spots? Which place was the most productive?

To Do:

  1. Choose five of your favourites books and write about why the author moved you or impressed you. What qualities of their work did you particularly like?
  2. Brainstorm a list of ideas for writing a novel. (Let’s say 10) Go through each idea, asking yourself the question What if? OR If brainstorming a list of ideas is difficult, try making other lists. Favourite movies. Favourite childhood toys. Favourite foods. Favourite books. Bucket list. Favourite vacation spots.
  3. Brainstorm settings you think would be great for a story. I often find inspiration in a place. Wouldn’t this house be a wonderful setting for a story? Wouldn’t this neighbourhood make a great setting for the story. In my historical fiction novels, the story idea was inspired by a particular event in Canadian history.

Write these lists in your writer’s notebook and don’t forget to bring it along with you next Monday, when we talk about how to recognize if an idea has story potential. In the meantime…

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