Each week I will post up some tips for writers based on my own experience. Every writer follows a different process so I hope these ideas can help someone.
The Writers Journey – Starting out…
A novel has three important components that make it a good story, plot, scenes and characters. Knowing how to make these key components work together is vital in writing a successful fiction novel.
#TIP 1 – Spend time thinking about your story and make it as original as possible. If you have more than one idea in your head, pick one. Don’t attempt to write more than one book at a time. Pick one and nail it. Create a chapter outline (structure) with key focus on the beginning, middle and end. At least start the book with the idea of them, it may change later but it helps flesh out the storyline.
Here is an example of mine:
|Prologue||Tuesday May 24th, 2011. The spirit Kin’ah sees Andrew in the rainforest. He is the chosen one.||Kin’ah (main)Andrew (secondary)
|Kin’ah spoke. “Lelo’ Andu u k’aaba.”|
|1||One year laterAndrew falls into the tomb.
|Andrew (main)||Andrew had found a Maya Codex.|
|2||Thursday, December 20th, 2012Kathryn arrives at grandmothers house. Set the scene.||Kathryn (main)Father (secondary)||Her exhaustion would save her life.|
#TIP 2 – Genre. Write what you love to read or a subject you know most about. Read, read, read. What is your favourite book and why? Analyse it. Why couldn’t you put it down? What did the author do to keep you engaged? Learn from reading.
#TIP 3 – Always carry a small pad and pen wherever you go. Some of my greatest ideas have come to me when I’m not sitting in front of my computer and I need to capture them quickly. You can often find me scribbling notes in the supermarket, meetings, out with friends, doing the dishes or stopped at a red light. It’s a never ending process. The story is always in your head.
#TIP 4 – Know your characters. Know them as well as you know yourself. Stand beside them. It was during my first chapter, when Andrew was standing in the rainforest, I understood. I had to walk in his shoes, smell the environment, hear the sounds, feel his reaction and emotion when he fell into a tomb. So I started a “Character Description” document. 1/2 page per character.
It contains fields like Name, Physical Description (age, height etc), Role, Relationships to other characters, strengths, weaknesses and personality key words etc.
#TIP 5 – Dialogue. Easier said than done. In my very first 10 chapter review someone told me some of my dialog was “stilted and stiff.” So I learnt to write dialog by speaking it aloud to myself. Then I sat with someone and talked through some conversations, like a play. Keep the conversation casual and natural.
Writing a novel is hard work. Writing a great novel is extremely hard. If you have a dream to write a book and see it to publication you want it to be the very best you can achieve. And always remember, even the best selling author had to write their very first story. Mine took six years from concept to publication. I re-wrote my chapters about 20-30 times each. When I finally held the physical book in my hand, I knew every word off by heart.
I encourage you to keep going. It isn’t easy, but it is worth every stroke of the pen.
Let me know if there is anything you want to know about and I will try to help.
Until next time…