The process of writing novels is like going on a long adventure.
If you were planning a trip across the Atlantic and over the Sahara to Timbuktu you wouldn’t leave without planning for it, would you?
You Can’t Just Leave At The Drop Of A Hat
Well you can, but I wouldn’t advise it. This is where people set themselves up for failure when they are writing their novel.
They have this idea that creativity will just flow as they are writing. And then they sit down in front of a blank screen and….nothing happens…they get frustrated…and…eventually…they give up.
You Need To Pack Your Bags First
New writers who start writing novels without planning for it misunderstand creativity.
They think they will know exactly what a character will say or do at each step of the adventure.
Should I Pack My Long Underwear Or Suntan Lotion?
Just like you start your adventure to Timbuktu with an idea, you start your novel with an idea as well.
So what is it? A bank heist, a family reunion, a love story?
Let’s say it’s a love story. OK, now you know the general direction of the adventure.
Now what are the things you’ll need? Well, let’s break them down into categories.
How About Some Characters?
Since it’s a love story you’ll need two lovers, fair enough?
So where will it take place, what’s the setting for the story?
Well, nothing makes a love story more interesting than when the lovers are separated by something.
Hmm? Perhaps they are separated by an ocean.
OK, perhaps one lover is a sailor on a whaling boat out of Nantucket in the 1850s. OK, now we’ve got our setting and genre, it’s a historical romance.
We may even have an adventure novel on our hands. There will be a lot of storms and other dangers to keep him from getting home.
How About A Plot…That’ll Come In Handy
Well, since the lovers are separated let’s assume that the end of the novel sees them reunited and that the beginning saw them separated.
Now what goes in between?
Perhaps they’re an old married couple and they had an argument before he left for sea. So the story probably plays out in their minds in between the beginning and the end.
As you think about this, bits and pieces will bubble up from your subconscious.
Ooh, Hang On, Here It Comes…
Because the story takes place in their minds there will probably be a lot of flashbacks. We will probably have to change points of view from him to her as well.
OK, so how will that shape the plot?
You will eventually see little snippets of scenes and shreds of dialogue.
Over time you will start combining them as well.
As you do you are developing a map of where you’re going on your adventure.
With each passing day it will become more detailed until you know you are ready to start the adventure in earnest.
In this way you will start preparing for your adventure without leaving too prematurely. Use this process in writing novels of any sort and you will be much more successful.