Writerly Post Wednesday: So, You Want to Be a Writer?

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I sat down thinking about what to post today, and I realized that I’ve never really talked about how to write a novel. Not really, anyway, though I’ve talked about writing heaps. So here’s my How to Write a Novel in Six Terrifyingly Hard Easy Steps. This is simplifying it a lot, but it might give new writers an idea of how/where to start their novel. (When I first started writing, the amount of research I did on how to write a novel was incredible, but remember this: no matter how much you read about writing, it won’t improve your own writing like writing/editing will.)

1. Get an idea. This one is probably the easiest step for me. I have been suffering from Chronic Shiny New Idea Syndrome, meaning that I have so many ideas, I simply don’t have enough time to write them all. (Yet.) Look for inspiration everywhere — in other novels, movies, television shows, the world around you . . . There are so many ways that you can get inspired to write.

3. Write write write that idea until your hands fall off. Hopefully not literally, but you get what I mean. Keep writing, even if you know it’s crap, because you’ll be able to edit it later on.

4. Let your work-in-progress rest for a few weeks — even months. In the mean time, write something new. You need to take some time away from your manuscript so that when you go to edit it, you’ll be looking at it with fresh eyes.

5. Get some feedback. This is a crucial step in your novel. Feedback. So where should you get feedback? Critique partners, online sites where you can post your work for the world to see (and critique), there are many places where you can get feedback. (I don’t really recommend getting “honest” feedback from parents/family/friends, though if you feel as though they will be honest with you, then hey — go for it!) And then you play the waiting game for your feedback. You bite your nails, don’t shower, and wonder why you even wanted to become a writer in the first place. It’s just so much easier reading a novel.

6. Edit, edit, edit, polish, polish, polish! So you’ve got your feedback? Good! Now let it sink it. Whether it’s your first time receiving criticism on something you’ve written, or the hundredth time . . . that makes it no less scary.  Let it sink in an give your mind some time to mull over what the critiquer has said. (If you want to read more about receiving criticism, click here!) How you edit is up to you, but I suggest working on the big plot errors/plot holes/things you want to change first, then you can get to the small errors and sentence structure.

How do you write a novel? Let me know in the comments!

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