So, you want to write a novel huh? First off, kudos to you! The desire to write a novel is, well, a novel idea. (Que punchline drum sequence…are those birds I hear chirping too?) Anyway, I remember when I first decided to write a book.
I. did. not. have. a. single. clue.
Not one! I knew I liked to write. I’d read hundreds, maybe even thousands of books. How hard could it be? So I started writing. About 8-9 months later I ended up with a 150, 000 word manuscript of epic proportions. Literally, it’s the size of an epic story. Sadly, it’s not an epic genre type book. The exorbitantly high word count was my first mistake. Unfortunately, I also made quite a few more mistakes and that’s why I’m reaching out to you today. It all boils down to one thing:
DON’T DO WHAT I DID!
I didn’t mean to yell at you but, seriously, learn from my mistakes. For the next month or two, I plan to tediously edit my novel for the gazillionth time. I’m not talking about a little light grammatical editing. Oh no, I’m talking full on hard-core content editing. As in re-ordering sequences, making crucial cuts, etc. It sucks. It all could have been avoided if I’d done one little thing. It’s the thing I want you to do before you even THINK about writing your novel.
STUDY THE CRAFT OF WRITING!
Ok, so I did mean to yell at you that time. It’s all love, I promise. I wish someone had yelled at me to study the craft of writing before I wrote a gorilla beast of a novel! If they had, I’d already have my first novel published and could currently be spending time happily writing my next one. Instead, I’m constantly re-writing that sucker. Now that I’ve spent time studying the craft of writing, I know how to make my book the best it can possibly be. But honestly, it’s a huge pain in my ba-donk-a donk!
I love my first novel. After all, it’s my baby. And I’m proud of the fact that even though I wrote it when I didn’t have a whiff of a clue, it’s worth all the re-writes and edits. It’s a solid first effort and there’s so much to it that all of my laborious editing is time well spent. Going through this is a learning process that will serve me well in my future literary endeavors.
You, however, don’t have to engage in the same remedial learning process I’m currently experiencing. Save yourself the drama and take time to really learn all the ins and outs of novel-writing. This doesn’t have to mean going back to school and enrolling in a creative writing program. Although, if you’re blessed with the opportunity to do so, by all means, go for it. What I’m saying is take workshops and seminars on character development, plot outlining, novel structure, point-of-view, chapter spacing, etc. Read lots of books on the topic of writing. Attend writer’s conferences. Do whatever it takes to make sure you’re fully prepared to tell the story in your head with style, grace and respect for the art of writing.
You’ll thank me (and yourself) later.
Chime in y’all!
Newbies: What made you decide to write a novel? Do you feel prepared skill wise to write the story in your head?
Seasoned writers: What did you learn during your first novel-writing experience? What would you do differently if you could turn back time?
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