Writing Your First Novel

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 Make an outline.

My first novel I wrote without an outline. This was a huge mistake. An outline keeps you focussed and helps you understand where you are going. It’s an idea map. 

 Make an outline.

Develop the whole story from to beginning to end with your outline. Outline every plot twist, character, general theme for a chapter, etc.

If you do this all you have to do is plug in the writing. You know where you are headed.

Make an outline.

Just because you make an outline that provides a road map for your ideas does not mean that this outline can’t be changed. It can, but you should be slow to make such changes.

When I felt like I really wanted to change my outline, I thought long and hard before doing it. Most of the time I found I could develop an idea or character within the current framework.

These challenges deeply enrich the quality of your writing. They force you to be focused and creative at the same time, and that is what good writing is all about.  Set a schedule and make a commitment.

Make these commitments much less ambitious than you think you will be able to do. If you think you can dedicate an hour to writing every day, make your real commitment one 1/2 hour. That way you know you’ll make your goal every day. Novels are long term commitments fraught with much doubt and consternation. Don’t make it harder on yourself than it has to be. Accept that it will take you 2 to 3 times longer to write your novel than you think it will. Just put one creative foot in front of the other and keep writing. Even if it’s crap, keep writing. Good stuff will start to pour through, if you are a writer.


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