Writing can be very hard: the blank page, the millions of ideas, the feeling of uncertainty? These are all common side effects of being a writer, and because of them trying to make something from scratch, especially something as big as an entire novel, can feel very daunting. However, as long as you take it one step at a time and try to stay calm, these tips should help ease that feeling of unease and create the romance of your dreams.
1) Choose your idea
Before you do anything else, you need to have an idea, something you want to write about. It doesn’t have to be a fully formed plot with characters, twists, and details. All you need is inspiration. A good idea is to always keep some kind of inspiration board or journal, so you know what kind of things inspire you, what kind of things you want to write about. Decide on a genre and tone, and write down any ideas you want to include in the story.
2) Develop the characters!
One of the most important things in your novel will be the characters. Your readers will turn to them for reliability, inspiration and wisdom. Your characters can be anything you want, but make sure they’re interesting. Don’t just think about how they will act in the story, but also about their whole personality – you want them to look as much like real 3D people as possible. Try making a character profile for each person, outlining their physical attributes, motivations, wishes, fears, family history, traumas, etc.
3) World building
Another big part of the novel is the setting, as it’s a place where all the action will take place, and therefore requires great attention to detail. It really depends on the genre of your book, because your novel could just be set in the real world. Otherwise, however, you’ll have to build a whole new world, focusing on names, landscapes, and personal details. Remember that the more detailed you are now, at the start of your writing process, the more consistent you will be later.
4) Keep everything in one place
It’s really important that all your notes and ideas stay together, so that when you need to stay consistent with the details down the line, you can just find the information you need, right in front of you. For this you can use a notebook, a folder or, if you prefer to keep it virtual, you can save the files in a section of your computer. Whatever shape this area takes, it can be useful to organize it: separate it into sections, color code it, modify it in whatever way you find most useful.
5) Establish the plot!
At this point, it’s time to create your plot. Start by writing down a general idea, like what you want the start and end points to be, and the journey you want in between. Make sure the stock has points where it is high and points where it is low. Draw your timeline on a large sheet of paper (often this helps to get the big picture) and add dots around it to flesh it out, diverting to subplots and stories. If you get stuck, try thinking about it from the character’s perspective. If this was real life, how would they react? What emotional development do you want them to go through? How could you achieve this?
6) Set a goal
Whether it’s five minutes a day or 1000 words a week, a tangible goal always comes in handy when writing. This ensures that you stay consistent and your novel continues to work. You can do this by setting yourself a number of minutes or words per day/week, or simply saying, “Today I’m going to finish this chapter.” It can be hard to commit like this, and some days you’ll feel too tired, or not inventive enough, but persevere on those days, and your novel will thank you!
7) Alone time
It is important that you always write in the same place and by yourself. This will help you always get into the right frame of mind, without distractions. Find a space in your home that you rarely use for anything else and make sure it’s a space where you won’t be disturbed. You should also strive for a period of time each day where you are completely alone and free to write. This can include turning off your phone, even if only for five minutes, to get into the correct headspace.
8) Stop editing!
Sometimes it’s easy to focus on work you’ve already completed, editing it for hours instead of making real progress. Although it may be tempting, you have to force yourself to just write words down on paper and leave them there, no matter how terrible you think they are. It’s just a first draft, and once you’ve finished it, you can always go back and change things as many times as you want.
9) Accept feedback
It’s hard to get perspective as a writer, especially when the story you’re creating comes exclusively from your own mind. Sometimes it’s helpful to have feedback, whether it’s to remind you to write unclear information, whether it’s to endorse your characters and give your confidence a little boost, or that it doesn’t. acts as a simple spell check. Anyone can help, as long as you’re comfortable showing them your work. Family, friends, teachers, colleagues, etc. Ask for other people’s opinions – they can often have a different point of view and new ideas that you wouldn’t have considered otherwise.
10) Believe in yourself, you can do it!
Finally, the most important thing in all of this is self-confidence. Writing can be so difficult, especially when you’re working on something as big as a novel. It can be easy to doubt yourself, but you must remember that as the creator of this world, anything you write will seem inadequate, while to others it might seem perfect. Your story is worth telling, and you’re the only one who can tell it, so do your best and don’t give up.