Continuing on from the previous 5 tips, here are 2 more …
6. The Plot
The success of your story depends on plot and character development.
Before you start writing it helps to develop an overall story plot. This may take some time but, believe me, it is worth it.
The best way to develop the plot is either a) Do a chapter outline (example given in previous post) or b) Create a storyboard.
I started with an A3 sheet of paper and divided it into chapters. After a while I added small post-it notes to add extras. I then changed it to be the chapter outline because the wall post got too messy.
Not all writers use these approaches. They can start writing and just see where the story leads them. There is no right way but, for a first novel, I recommend at least a broad plot structure or outline. In my opinion, these are the basic building blocks to writing a story. It will be a living and breathing process that will change and develop as you write your novel.
“I have a dream to write a novel.”
It’s all very well you have a goal but what about how this decision may impact, not only your own life but people in your life?
Sometimes you will become obsessed with the story and it will impact on your social life. I can’t tell you the amount of times I said these words over the years: “I can’t come out tonight.” “I’m writing this weekend.” “I’m really busy.”
Sometimes I’d feel so guilty saying no but the writers journey is so exciting! You get obsessed and you just can’t take a break. Once you’re in the ‘zone,’ it feeds you and drives you.
If you feel that passionate about a story, it comes through your writing voice and the reader hears it.
I can give you a little tip. The people in my life were supportive because, once I explained my dream, we struck an agreement. I would write and edit the first ten chapters – then let them read it.
I was not comfortable giving them my first draft because I’m a perfectionist. I waited until those ten chapters were in 3rd draft and well edited. Even then there were mistakes. I wouldn’t recommend letting people see your work until it is in a good state you are happy to hand over.
I was incredibly nervous, but we had a deal – if it’s not a good story and I’m not a good writer I will find another hobby. If it is, then they will understand my commitment and support me 100%. They all did.
It was so beneficial to go through that process because whenever, and it will happen to you, I lost my mojo, had writers block, suffered from doubt – they were there supporting me and telling me to “keep going”.
Because they had read a sample, they all became part of my journey and understood when I bailed out on social events.
So, it’s very well for you to commit to writing a novel but I recommend you also include your closest, most trustworthy loved ones.
They will support your commitment, then walk beside you.
That’s all for now,