Recently updated on June 21st, 2023 at 11:05 am
As an aspiring writer, you will want to know the Do’s and Don’ts of writing your first novel. And writing is so much more than sitting at a desk for a few hours every day and writing one’s heart out – though – this is an essential part of it.
Writing a novel requires planning, focus, discipline, and motivation.
Let’s jump into the list of Do’s and Don’ts for writing your first novel without further ado.
Do #1 – Plan Ahead
Writing your first novel is a long-term project. If you don’t want the writing project to drag on, you will want to plan the structure of your book in great detail. By having a plan, you will have a roadmap that you can always refer to if you feel like you have run out of creative juice or you are experiencing writer’s block.
Firstly, you will want to set a deadline for your book. This way, you will give yourself the challenge of completing your book within a given timeframe. We also recommend using a mind map to plan the structure, the chapters, and every other detail of the novel.
When using a mind map, you will want to start by jotting down the novel’s main theme in the center and then branching it out to sub-topics. You can also use the mind map to jot down the details of all characters and add extra notes.
You can connect the topics and get a holistic view of what your novel will be about with the mind map. To better understand what your book will look like, you might want to check out a template for writing a book. The templates also serve as a roadmap for your writing project.
You can also use the mind map to outline your story so you know what goes on in each chapter.
Do #2 – Do Your Research
Depending on your story, you might need loads of background research – or – you might need very little research. With that said, if you are writing fiction but writing about a real-life place, then you will want to do extensive research – even use Google Maps to take notes of important landmarks.
Whatever location you choose, you will want to assess the natural environment and architecture of the location so that you can write with more conviction. Believe us – your readers are smart and won’t hesitate to point out wrong details or omitted details that you could have included in your writing.
You can use a separate folder to keep all the research in one place. This way, you can look up any information instantly while narrating your story. By having a realistic overview of your era and place, you can bring your fictional world to life and also give your readers a realistic experience of your world.
Do #3 – Be Consistent
Many aspiring writers tend to give up even before completing their first draft. The underlying reason is that they fail to be consistent in their writing. They might feel motivated in the start – but – a few chapters down the road, they don’t feel like writing anymore.
With that said, it all comes down to one’s mindset. The question is – how passionate are you about your writing project? Is this just a far-fetched dream, or can you visualize yourself as a best-selling author who has made it to the list of New York Best Sellers?
You get the point – there is no shortcut to becoming a successful writer. Sure –you can hire a ghostwriter who might do the writing for you. But – you will still have to work dedicatedly by coordinating with the ghostwriter.
The only way you can successfully publish your first novel is by putting in the work, letting go of procrastination, and being dedicatedly consistent while working on your novel. You will want to understand the secret of writing a book which is to just write it.
Set up a dedicated writing space where you can work without distractions. Be persistent in your writing. Trust us – you can do it.
Do #4 – Ask Yourself Questions
As an aspiring writer, you might be detail-oriented to the point of getting lost in particular scenes or writing dialogues. You should aim at not losing sight of the holistic view of the novel. You will want to focus on all aspects of the novel, including all individual characters, scenes, motivations, etc.
You will want to keep a balanced perspective of the entire novel by asking yourself questions as you work on the novel. Again, you can use a mind map to answer the questions. For instance, you could ask yourself how the characters are different from each other and their respective motivations and goals in the story.
You will also want to assess whether your readers can see, touch, smell, and hear your character’s world with their mind’s eye. Ask yourself whether you are writing clearly and coherently, leaving no room for doubt for the readers about what is occurring in the novel and why?
While working on your plot, make sure to show as much as you can to captivate the reader’s attention and appeal to the reader’s imagination.
The Don’ts of Writing Your First Novel
Don’t #1 – Continuously Change Your Subject
As a first-time writer, committing to one story idea can be challenging. However, you will want to resist the urge to abandon your novel mid-way in favor of a better story that popped up in your mind. If you have many ideas, you will want to write them all down on paper and choose the one that you love the most.
Don’t #2 – Avoid Editing
Editing is a ruthless task. But – if you want to improve your writing skills and write a novel that will actually sell, you will want to become a ruthless editor. It can be hard to cross out words from your draft – leave alone entire sentences. Yet, it is absolutely mandatory to ensure that each sentence counts.
You will want to avoid the fluff and unnecessary details. You will want to keep editing and revising. You can also benefit from hiring one of the best professional editors to polish your manuscript.
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