So you want to write a novel? First of all, congrats on making this decision! I wish you the best of luck and hope you achieve your goals!
Before you begin writing, there is something you should know. Well, there's a lot you should know lol. A novel is 60,000 words or more. We can talk about what goes into the story a little later on but first, you need to prepare yourself for the writing journey to begin.
First of all, you should decide when and where you want to write. It should fit who you are and your schedule. If you already write a little you know that answer. When do you write the best? During the day when the kids are at school? At night when others are sleeping? Every writer is different. One writer writes in the bathroom while another uses the top of the refrigerator. I can't remember who that author is but I do know he is very tall lol. When you figure out the best place and time, if you live with others in your family, you should make it known that you are not disturbed when you're in that area and during that time. That way you can devote yourself to your writing.
Now that you have established the time and place, you need to make sure you stock your space with all your supplies you will need. It really depends on how you're going to write. I use a laptop computer which means I would need a printer. I used to write long hand which meant I needed a lot of paper, pens/pencils, and erasers lol. The same goes for you. Included with that, make sure you have an accurate dictionary and thesaurus close by because it will be used often. Besides the actual tools for writing, you should also keep snacks, drinks, and other tools with you in your space. If you listen to music while you write, keep plenty of CDs or cassettes nearby. If you listen to CDs, have it wrap around so you don't have to change CDs at the end so you can keep writing. Schedule breaks where you can re-stock supplies and use the bathroom.
So are you ready to begin writing?
Before sitting down, stretch a little because you will be sitting in the same position for a little while. Try to keep notes while you write so you don't forget who your characters are and the locations you use for settings so you may need a notebook by your computer or writing tablet depending on what you choose as your tools.
Now you may begin. What are you writing? You should consider the genre before you write. And who your audience will be as well. That will help you choose the words you'll be using. From there, you can break it all down. Now, what is the story about? Is it a love story? Is it a story about you or someone you know? Fact or fiction?
The beginning of the story is very important because it needs to keep the reader wanting more. If the reader doesn't want to turn the page, you've just lost him/her. Intice the reader to want to know more and keep reading. Each story has a "story question". The beginning is where the question is made known. You don't ask this question as the writer. Instead, the reader should be asking as he/she reads the story. Will the girl get the boy? Will good conquer evil?
One way to intice the reader is to make the main character real. The MC should be larger than life. All the characters should be. Remember, just like in real life, all characters will have strengths and weaknesses. All characters have good and bad traits. More about that next week. A good way to learn how to make characters real is by watching real people.
So if you have a little time on your hands, here's an assignment or you can call it research if you'd like. Go where you would find your MC. Make a character sheet list to determine the kind of personality this character would have. Where would he/she hang out? That's where you need to go. Take a pen and paper with you and just watch people. Write down how people act while interacting with each other. How they talk, hold their bodies, etc. Eavesdrop. You have permission. Now you can use that in your story!
We can go a little more about this tomorrow if you'd like. There's so much to discuss so let's continue then. Until then, try it out. Eavesdrop and see if you can learn how to make your characters real.