Writing a novel is a lengthy process, and many people give up after a few chapters. But these tips from guest blogger Freddie Tubbs can help you make it to the finish line.
Find a writing buddy
Find a friend, an acquaintance or just someone online who can be your writing buddy – someone you can share your doubts with, talk out elements of plot, read first drafts, second drafts, and help you proof read. Having someone to share your writing journey with can motivate you – as you can motivate them in turn. You know you’ll have someone to push you onwards when carrying on writing gets difficult.
Set a certain amount of time every day when you will just write without any distractions from the real or online world. It can be an hour or half an hour. But make sure that all you do during that time is writing. Prepare all of your research beforehand. Have everything you need at hand, so that you’re not tempted to get up. Don’t move from your desk, even if you sit staring at the wall for half an hour.
Start Off With an Outline
Some writers are planners and some are ‘pantsers’ – writing by the seat of their pants. The former believe in planning every element, including character arcs, themes, timelines, and individual chapters. Even if you are a ‘pantser’ who feels that planning too much suffocates your creativity, having at least a an outline can help you know the rough direction that your characters are heading.
Try writing your whole novel down as a short story
When you write your whole novel down in a few thousand words, you have all of the plot points, character development, the dreaded middle and the ending mapped out. Then you can work on expanding that, or you’ll see that actually, it’s better off being a short story.
Write the ending first
“It’s hard to start a journey without knowing your destination. So, you should try writing your ending first. This doesn’t just mean writing the last scene, but knowing where you want your characters and your world to be. How does your character change? How did supporting characters change? What is the message of your ending?”, says Georgina Thompson, a productivity blogger at Essayroo and Stateofwriting. When you know the ending, it’s easier to work out the process of how you’re going to get your characters there.
You Don’t Have To Work in A Linear Way
Even though a book may seem linear when it’s finished, it’s hard to write it that way. Write in scenes – this will enable you to work on different parts at the same time and adapt various elements so that they fit each other.
Make sure you finish that first draft
Whatever you do, make sure that you get through that first draft. It’s the most important thing. Without it, you have nothing to work with, nothing to edit. Don’t go back until you’ve finished it. You can reorganize your chapters, edit them and totally change the book to create the manuscript you really wanted later. Remember that you are just collecting flowers so you can make a lovely bouquet.
Promise yourself a treat if you get to the end
“For instance, promise yourself that you will go to some trip you always wanted to take, or that you will get that tattoo you always wanted to get or something else entirely. Make sure that the prize is relevant to you,” says Renald Joseph, a freelance creative writer at Ukwritings.
Even though writing a novel is hard, it’s one of the most magical experiences in the world. Just stay motivated by the magnitude of what you are creating – a whole new world and amazing characters.