30 Days to Write a Novel? Let's Do It!
Before the Days Begin!
Before you start on your writing journey the first thing I suggest is to think ahead. Write out an outline. Don't leave everything to simply whinging it.
Although every writer is different, a general idea of what you intend to write is an excellent idea. It's a great writing tool, that should be used throughout your journey.
It's best if your outline has no specific character names, or things of the like. The vaguer it is, the better. The reason for this is so if anything changes throughout your story, your outline can still be referenced.
Don't focus on your characters specifically, more so focus on what you hope the story will say. Perhaps write one paragraph, on what you want to be achieved by this character(s) journey. Guiding and focusing your story is what you should hope your outline will do.
It's just the bone of your story, and should always be taken with a grain of salt. Through writing this, you may discover plot points within your story that need more development. If you're working with a specific timeline within your story, that's even better!Your outline can work as a timeline!
Does this sound vague? Oh, well, it is kind of like an outline.
After your outline is written the next step is similar to the snowflake strategy, but condensed. For more information on the snowflake strategy please reference this link. I mention this strategy because, although this tutorial is for the same end result, a written novel, that strategy is for a longer term project.
If you'd rather take longer than a month to concentrate on a written piece of work, that strategy is highly recommended to do so.
Get to Know Your Characters
After writing your outline, the fun really begins. By getting to know your characters, you'll start to already see your story take shape, before you even begin writing it!
Depending on your characters ticks, appearance, parentage, and so forth the story can be shaped around him or her.
For example, if your main character is self centered you might prefer to write in first person. That way when we see the world through his/her eyes the tunnel vision of his or her arrogance would greatly enhance the readers experience. Imagine reading a tense situation through the eyes of a man whom believes he can do no wrong. The adjectives alone send my blood pumping!
An excellent way to piece together your character is a simple list method. Name, date of birth, physical features, and specialized features. That last bit is especially helpful if certain features are indicators for supernatural or character analysis. Such as a possible stutter indicating an anxiety disorder.
Another strategy is the characters beliefs. I'm not just talking about religious beliefs either. Does your character believe certain things are right or wrong in the society you've built? Do they hate a certain character? Simply love a certain character? Does your character want to save the world? Or is this person reluctant to move from the shadows they shroud themselves in?
The belief system is another tool for reference. All you need to go is write a paragraph on each characters beliefs and what you hope they achieve, or learn, by the end of this novel.
Every character has a story arc. These arcs may never be seen by your readers. Sometimes you need them for story development.
As JK Rowling once said, you should know more about your story than the readers ever will.
Some of these methods, once again, depend upon the kind of writer you are. If you prefer sporadic writing, you may not care if his hair color represents his parentage, or if you chose it because you simply like the color brown. That's fine.
Physical appearance, while a great and difficult thing to write about, is important. It shouldn't be put above your central goal. The plot.
Your first novel size can be based upon the end goal of 50,000 words in a month. Perhaps it sounds like a bit much, but it really isn't. Once you're done, you'll realize how large your writing potential really is! I discovered this word goal through National Novel Writing Month. So if this sounds familiar to you, hello fellow NaNo-ers!
Your daily goal should be 1667 words, but don't let that word count hinder you. It's very possible that you'll exceed that goal without even realizing it.
Upon opening that notebook, or a word document, you may find that blank page daunting. Frightening even! Don't fear those first few words, just write what you think should be there.
Don't worry about grammar, or spelling. You're simply here to write. Editing is for the next month. All you should focus on is developing your story like a seed that's just been planted. It needs time to grow and flourish. With love, attention, and care you may discover you have a proper green [writer's] thumb!
Week One, you'll come to discover, is the week where everything seems to fit. You'll speed through this week with a rush of excitement, and little drudgery.
Make sure to introduce your character, and the environment in which your story is set in. This may seem boring, but every story needs details. Remember that outline? Yea, those details too.
Week Two and Dialogue
Week Two is when it may set in that, you're writing a novel. You'll still be high off your week one antics. Try staying on the coat tales of that high! At the first day of week two, you should be at 11,669 words written! You've passed the first hurdle of 10K!!
If you're behind, don't worry about it, you still have the rest of the month to catch up! Until it's the first of the following month, you can still chant, There's time to catch up!, within your mind, because there is still time to catch up!
Dialogue is always a tricky thing to deal with. The greatest thing to remember is to try and avoid a "He said, she said" situation. Some of the greatest writers barely use those words within their books. Of course, they're necessary to intone which character is speaking, but given a respectable amount of characters speaking to each other in the same few pages, actions can dictate who is speaking.
Use adjectives, and actions as indicators of dialogue too. Say something like, "He nodded before continuing his litany of rebukes against his sons," Insert dialogue after.
"He said, she said." isn't forbidden, it's just hard to get out of that holding once you've started. It's best to reread a few paragraphs every once in a while. If there's a repetition of such words, attempt to change the word or rework the sentences.
Sometimes these situations work out for the better, because it gets you into the habit of being more descriptive rather than short.
Week Three and the Dreaded Purple Prose
It's week three and you may be panicking in this moment. Possibly from still being behind with your word count, or from the fear that you hate everything you've written. Although you should be at the word count of 23,338 words, there is still time to catch up or start all over again.
Never leave yourself to slave over a book you're writing that you hate. If you love the idea forming in your head, you're sure to speed through the process with more ferocity, than you would if you were to continue writing that book you dread coming back to.
Once in week three, you're almost done, but not quite there yet. Week Three is when we really separate the serious writers from those not quite ready to jump that final hurdle. You'll be in the midst of using every dirty writing trick in the book to up your word count. Things such as separating conjunctions or throwing in a sex scene or two.
Try your best to stay true to your story. You'll love yourself for it later when you're editing.
In regards to your word count, and Purple Prose. For those of you who don't know, to put it simply, "Purple Prose" is the act of being extremely detailed with your writing. Tread carefully when doing so. When done right purple prose can sway a reader and encase them in your story to the point where it's as if a film is being played within their mind. This term, is also, highly debatable, never the less. It's best to reign in your need to be excessively vivid in certain cases.
No one cares for the color of the carpet or how shiny a characters car may be. Leave your descriptive whip and charisma to pieces of the story that are relevant to developing the plot.
Week Four, It's almost time to celebrate!
If you've made it to week four, you should be proud of getting this far! At the beginning of this week your word count should be 35,007 words! Give yourself a pat on the back, and perhaps a cup of coffee or two.
If you're still behind in your word count, don't give up! There is still time left to finish. There have been people who have never written more than 5,000 words a day, and with determination, they've written 20,000 words in one night. Until that clock chimes for it the be the first of the next month, you have time to catch up.
You should be at a rather climactic scene, or wrapping up your book. Despite being almost done worries may be fretting about within your mind in regards to mistakes you may have written.
Don't edit it! Finish your book, be proud of your accomplishment and then, put it away. You read that right.
Save the document. Put your printouts out of sight. Whether you leave it for a day, an hour, or a month. Give yourself a break to process your accomplishment and realize that you've written a novel. Opinions of your novel can be set aside because you've done something not everyone can say they have done. So, put your novel away for a little bit, and maybe take a second to brag to some family and friends.
I'm Done, what now?
If you've written this for fun. Edit it, print it, and share it with as many people as it pleases you to do so. If you're with NaNoWriMo, Create Space may still be offering the prize of a free print of your book. That's only if you win, if you're signed on with the site, and if you do it within the set time frame. If not, there are plenty of other printing presses such as lulu.com or Create Space themselves, both have affordable offers on printing your novel.
If you're not one for printing your book as a, book, and would just rather have it in paper. There is always the printing centers like Staples or something of that like.NaNoWriMo, also offers a forum to discuss other options for those who'd prefer it to be as affordable as it can be to print.
If you're the type who loves your book enough to want to publish it. First things first. Get ready to edit. It has to be done. You're going to edit, again, and again, and again. Until your book is almost perfect. Soon enough you'll realize it won't be as perfect as you want it to be. However, when you come to the point where you can't possibly change another thing, that's when you know you're done.
This tutorial was for the purpose of writing your book in a month. If you'd like more information with publishing allow me to direct to a book I'd highly recommend written by a man who's been very successful with writing. This Year You Write Your Novel by Walter Mosley
Writing a novel is both fun and frustrating. I enjoyed writing my novel, and hope that my opinion and advice(which I've heard come from more sources than myself) has helped you in any way.
Good luck to you fellow novelist, and writer. May your book be long, and your character arcs fascinating!
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