How To Write A Brilliant Novel
You know how when gossip moves through the grapevine, it tends to stray further and further from the truth as it passes from person to person? This is because any time a person tells a story, they inevitably add their own unique biases, thoughts, and perspectives. For this reason, choosing the point of view your novel will be told from is an extremely important step in starting your novel and will have a huge impact on the actual story itself.
How to Write a Brilliant Novel
If you are planning to write about a setting outside of your own immediate knowledge, make sure you do adequate research. Consider working with sensitivity readers if you are writing about a place or culture outside your own.
Good preparation will help you ward off sudden attacks of writer's block and provide you with a solid story foundation. By the time you finish the steps we've covered so far, you should be able to write the following statement:
I started writing in February 2019. It was random, but there was an urge to the story I wanted to write. At first, I was all over the place. I knew the genre I wanted to write was Fantasy ( YA or Adult). That has been my only solid starting point the genre. From February to now, I've changed my story so many times, but I am happy to say by giving my characters names I kept them. I write this all to say is thank you for this comprehensive step by step. Definitely see where my issues are and ways to fix it. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
My number one tip is to write in order. If you have a good idea for a future scene, write down the idea for the scene, but do NOT write it ahead of time. That's a major cause of writer's block that I discovered. Write sequentially. :) If you can't help yourself, make sure you at least write it in a different document, and just ignore that scene until you actually get to that part of the novel
IF you're referring to their use of 'stationery' under the section '1. Nail down the story idea' (it's the only reference on this page) then the fact that YOU don't know the difference between stationery and stationary and then bother to tell the author of this brilliant blog how useless they must be when it's YOU that is the thicko tells me everything I need to know about you and your use of a middle initial. Bellend springs to mind.
Shocking readers immediately with a jarring moment, visual, or confession will get them excited to read on. One of my favorite novels, the Pulitzer-winning Middlesex, starts with a doozy of a first line:
You may be surprised that even after writing 200 books (two-thirds of those novels) over the last 45+ years, including several New York Times bestsellers (most notably the Left Behind Series), I face those same problems every time.
Discovering what bestselling novelist Dean Koontz calls the Classic Story Structure (in his How to Write Best-Selling Fiction) changed my writing forever. My book sales took off when I started following his advice:
So readers may forgive a non-thrilling premise. Few, though, will forgive a disappointing first paragraph. Think of some of the openings of some of the best loved novels of all time. They create intrigue. George Orwell, for example, opens 1984 (1949) with the words:
Jordan is a writer, editor, community manager and product developer. He received his BA Honours in English Literature and his undergraduate in English Literature and Music from the University of Cape Town.
Nothing spoils a story more for me than annoying bloody flashbacks. Hate them in movies too. They slow down the pace of the story and confuse the reader. As a writer myself, I always try to avoid using them.
Popular podcast guest and author Roz Morris shares her best tips for asking the questions that will make outlining your novel easier and bring depth and reader resonance to your characters.
She has two published novels (My Memories of a Future Life and Lifeform Three, which was longlisted for the World Fantasy Award) and a collection of travel diaries Not Quite Lost: Travels Without A Sense of Direction. Her books are available in paperback and all ebook formats. Find the Nail Your Novel workbook here and find out about Roz on her website. Tweet her at @Roz_Morris
Hi Roz! I love these questions. Asking good questions is possibly the most important skill I have as a nonfiction writer. I never thought about fiction in terms of asking the right questions! What an intriguing perspective! Thank you for sharing this.
The more I worry about outlining, the less I write, the less I want to write. Scrutiny, if premature, is paralyzing. I think I have let people hurry me, rush me, when I actually know more about where I am in my process than others do.
Hello all, my name is Jasmine. I am a young writer and let me say, this piece helped me a ton. I am currently writing a love story, it is part fantasy, but the reality of drugs, gangs, and life tests the strength of their love. Any title ideas? Thanks!
Find a comfortable place to write, although I think that an inspired writer can write anywhere. Tolstoy apparently wrote in the village square; because the expressions on the faces of the passing parade inspired him to write.
I'm the director of Curtis Brown Creative, and tutor of our Starting to Write Your Novel Course. Here are some of my best tips on how to get your novel going on a sure footing and to feel good about your exciting new writing project:
If you're serious about doing this, show yourself and your writing some respect, figure out some regular time to do it, and then stick to that. Writing a book is both amazing and also, at times, a difficult slog. It'll completely fall away if you don't keep it up. It's hard to hold your novel in your head, so that you can get down to work quickly and easily - if you leave long gaps between writing sessions and work erratically, you'll be giving yourself a big uphill struggle and you're much more likely to give up.
What 'regular writing time' actually IS varies from person to person. It could be the famous dawn session that many people wake up to each day; it might mean grabbing an hour to write every afternoon while your baby sleeps, or taking your laptop or notebook on your train journeys to and from work. Perhaps you can manage three hours on a Sunday afternoon but not during the week at all.
For some people, shortage of time is not a problem - but instead the challenge is to create structure in your time and find your focus. Here too, my tip would be to establish a workable and productive routine. Don't expect yourself to be able to write all day every day - this can be very daunting. Instead decide on designated shorter time slots for your writing - you'll probably find you can achieve more that way.
If the big white screen and the blinking cursor intimidate you, take yourself off-computer and try writing longhand in a notebook for a while. If the very idea that you're writing a novel is choking you up so the words won't come out, try to limber up with some free writing. By this, I mean just set yourself five minutes, or ten, to write down everything that comes into your head - do it without stopping at all. This helps to lift the filter that sits between your head and your writing hand, and sets you up for the real writing (a bit like stretching before a run).
Writing to prompts can also be helpful. Just take an opening line that strikes you as interesting and see where it takes you. You can also use visual prompts, like a striking photo you've seen in the newspaper to write a short story. Here are some prompts you might like to try:
What kind of writer are you? When you start writing a novel, you will inevitably fall into one of two categories. I have a whole theory about this which you can read, along with my tips to help you get going.
Write down everything you know about what you want your novel to be. Jot down little half-formed thoughts and ideas and see where they take you. If there is a burning question you want to explore, note that down. If you're fascinated by a setting or a time period or a subject, scribble notes about it. It's through these meandering jottings that ideas will take shape.
You might like to put together character fact files, create character 'mood boards' full of images which relate to them; throw your main characters into difficult difficult situations to see how they'll react; write some dialogue so you can feel their voices shaping up.
Sometimes it's precisely when we think things are going really well with a novel and we're producing lots and lots of words that we hit a stumbling block. It might mean there's a problem with your story that you have to solve - but equally it could just be that your 'back brain' - the bit that dreams up the story and controls the direction of travel - needs to catch up with your front brain, where the writing of the words happens. (Disclaimer: I have no idea which part of your brain actually performs these separate functions! This is just my way of articulating the way that writing happens ...).
And for a cheeky eleventh tip? How about signing up for our Starting to Write Your Novel online course. Designed for beginners, this six-week course will help you kick-start your novel with teaching videos, resources, tasks and a student forum, all hosted on our secure bespoke learning platform.
For her readers, Ferrante must be allowed to remain anonymous, should she wish to be. An international outcry rose up, from enraged readers who sought to protect the writer they love, and whose anonymity they wish to preserve. Nothing of the like had ever been seen before.
No, I never plan my stories. A detailed outline is enough for me to lose interest in the whole thing. Even a brief oral summary makes the desire to write what I have in mind vanish. I am one of those who begin to write knowing only a few essential features of the story they intend to tell. The rest they discover line by line.
I also think a crucial part of excellent essay writing that too many students do not realize is that not every point or interpretation needs to be addressed. When offered the chance to write your interpretation of a work of literature, it is important to note that there of course are many but your essay should choose one and focus evidence on this one view rather than attempting to include all views and evidence to back up each view. 041b061a72