Disclaimer: I have written one novel. I am not a professional writer, I am merely someone who has picked up a few tricks that might be interesting to other aspiring novelists.
You are about to embark on a many month journey, you must prepare yourself mentally. Before you put a single word on the page you must decide why you are writing the story. Many young writers believe that they will strike upon success in their first draft, people will adore them, crowds will applaud them, movies will be made celebrating their novel and success. Sadly, this dream is not reality. This mentality will not get you through the middle part of the book. The part of the book where you don’t see the end and the beginning doesn’t make any sense. (I call it the middle despair)
Reality is spending months at a desk writing a story that publishers might not even take the time to read. But don’t lose hope! This is your first novel, you’ve got plenty of time to become noticed.
You can brace yourself for this harsh reality by taking one of two mentalities:
- You are writing for a single person
Write the story for a loved one (living or dead) who you imagine would love this story. You want this person to read your story, that’s it, you have no other purpose to write. (After this person reads the book and loves it, then send the book off to publishers)
- You simply love the story
You are writing simply because you love the characters and the adventure. If people read it and enjoy it then that is great, but you wrote it because you absolutely love it, you wrote the book for no other reason. This mindset most novelists’ recommend and when you begin to despair, it will help you finish.
Have a writing journal by your desk whenever you write. After you finish for the day, write a brief synopsis of what happened in the novel in the journal. (I recommend a pocket size journal for easy travel). This will greatly help you keep track of what is going on and important details.
You are about to be bombarded by good ideas, (The most annoying are the brilliant ideas that hit you right before you fall asleep) a folder is a great place to keep the ideas. The journal is also a great place to keep them.
Have a daily goal
Have a daily goal. Most novelist’s, including Ray Bradbury, have a daily goal. Bradbury recommended 1,000 words a day. Although in the beginning this goal will be a daunting task, over time you will find your rhythm and it will become easier.
Have a long term goal.
If you decide to write a thousand words a day, then how many make a good book? That depends this is a good article about that, http://indefeasible.wordpress.com/2008/05/03/great-novels-and-word-count/
My goal? 60,000, but this is flexible because of…
Story comes first, if after 10,000 words you feel the story will not reach 60,000 then follow the story, do not force the story to be something it is not. No matter what, the story comes first. If you try to force the story, you are betraying your reader because you are giving them a terrible product. The story comes first.
I hope these ideas help, but remember they are merely ideas. All writers are different and they all have different needs, but I hope a few of these concepts will work for you.
I am starting a journey, I am writing another novel, or short story, or long short story. I don’t really know, I am at the mercy of the story, but that’s the beauty of it, it’s a grand adventure. I hope you chose to share the journey with me and in the process, start writing your own adventure.