How to Write Your First Novel

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Writing a book is not as daunting of a task as one might think!

As with any project, writing a book can be broken down into a few easy steps to make the task at hand more manageable. Here are 5 easy steps to writing your novel:

  1. Write Every Day
  2. Write a “Bad” Book First
  3. Finish Your “Bad” Book and Lock It Away for 6 Months
  4. Start Your “Good” Book
  5. After 6 Months Read Your “Bad” Book to Identify and Address Weaknesses
Write Every Day 

For most of us, adding something else to our day seems impossible. If you are going to write a novel, you have to learn to prioritize and set aside time every day to write. Just like when starting anything new, practice makes perfect and the more you write the better you will get.

Write a “Bad” Book First 

When you set out to write your “bad” novel you are eventually going to hit that roadblock that all writers hit and you don’t know how to move the story forward. This is the point where most writers give up and quit. The key is to push past that roadblock and power through. Conjure up a betrayal or summon a monster, anything to move your story forward and finish the book.

Finish Your “Bad” Book and Lock It Away for 6 Months 

Now that you have finished your “bad” book, give yourself a pat on the back because YOU FINISHED A BOOK! Ok, now go lock that book away and don’t even peek at for 6 months. Even though the goal was to write a “bad” novel, you are probably going to think it is pretty good, and it may well be, but you can wait 6 months to find out.

Start Your “Good” Book 

While your first book is sitting in storage, start your second book. At this point you have successfully finished a novel so this one should be a piece of cake. When you hit that road block, you will keep writing because you know you can because you have done it before.

After Six Months Read Your “Bad” Book to Identify and Address Weaknesses 

After six months, pull out your first book and read it. By now you have forgotten all about it and now can read it with fresher eyes. Read the bad book, and pay attention to the areas that are really horrible – run-on sentences, flat characters, stilted dialogue, twenty-three pages where nothing happens, etc. The things you learn from reading your own writing, after you’ve forgotten what you were trying to say, will do more to build your skill than all the writing classes in the world combined. This process will help you cut out the fat and write for the reader instead of for yourself.

Go and finish that second novel and when you are done, you now have the skills to go back and cut out the fat. Now you have written two books so why stop there? William Faulkner once said, “If a story is in you, it must come out.”

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