Wondering how to write a novel? Well, it’s a good question and there is more than one answer.
The truth is everybody goes about it differently. Hemingway went about it one way while Tolkien went about it another. The same writer may even go about writing different novels in a different way.
Develop Your Idea
Every novel starts with an idea.
Perhaps you’ve got an interesting character you want to see. Or, maybe it’s a single event or string of unrelated events.
Each novel starts differently.
Many times you will find that you make one change in one place and you will have to make another change somewhere else.
That is quite natural.
Writing is a lot like the way a guided missile works. You will veer off course and then make changes to get yourself back on target.
This will happen again and again and again until you reach your goal.
Your First Draft Will Be Your, Uh, First Draft.
Just because you start writing now doesn’t mean it will be perfect.
You will write any number of drafts until you end up with a finished product. Writing is rewriting.
You may find after a few drafts that the plot is changing on you. You may find that the characters just don’t work and need to be replaced with other ones. You may find yourself 100 pages into it and you are still wondering how to write a novel.
Just keep plugging away.
The Devil Is In The Details
Part of the rewriting process is adding details. The more detailed your writing is the more likely people will keep reading.
So, you may need to do research.
For example, if one of your characters is a banker you may want to study banking so that your character is believable.
Or perhaps one of your characters has an accent. You will want to research specific words and phrases from that character’s culture.
The more detail you can provide, the more realistic that character will be.
Lightning vs. Lightning Bug
As equally important as detail is choosing the right word.
According to Mark Twain “the difference between the almost right word & the right word is really a large matter–it’s the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”
Just remember that words are the building blocks of your novel. Choose the right ones and you will be successful.
You won’t know until you find it, and that is where the rewriting comes into play.
You will write and write and write and rewrite and rewrite and rewrite. Just like the guided missile veering off course and correcting itself until it hits the target
It may be a long journey or it may be a short one. Sometimes it will be easy and sometimes it will be hard.
But, that’s how to write a novel.