Where do ideas come from? How do you know if yours is any good? Is your plot big enough to support an entire novel? Are your characters engaging? How many points of view should you have? How many books in the series? And what about storyworld? How do you go about creating a world with its own history, politics, religion, magic system, and culture? Is magic a must? How much time should you spend world-building? How do you know if your world is the right location for your plot and characters?
You'll answer all these questions during the brainstorming stage, then move those ideas through the planning stage, where you start to flesh out characters, plot, and your storyworld as you prepare to start writing.
There are some decisions you need to make before you start writing. You’ll need to choose one or more point of view characters and a narrative mode. You’ll also want to figure out how to write a scene, how to come up with enough scenes to fill a whole book, and what to do when you’re stuck or have holes in your story.
Once you have a plan of attack, you’re ready to start writing. It can seem daunting to try and complete an entire novel, but you can do it. Give yourself permission to stink and finish that first draft. You can fix it later.
As you write, you’ll discover things about your characters and story that you didn’t see coming. That’s okay. Practice will help you learn when to follow the muse and when to stick to your plans.
Just because you typed “The End,” doesn’t mean you’re finished with your book. Novelist Michael Crichton said, “Books aren't written―they're rewritten. Including your own. It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn't quite done it.”
This is so true.
The magic happens during the editing and rewrite stages. This is when you get to plant details and descriptions, tweak dialogue, tighten your prose, choose concrete words over vague ones, and make your chapter and scene beginnings and endings just right so that your readers won’t be able to put down your book.
And that’s what you want. To craft stories that will suck your readers into a world of wonder.
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Do you struggle with completing a novel all the way from start to end? Do you find yourself trying so hard to perfect those first few chapters but can’t ever seem to get them right?
I want to encourage you.
You can finish a novel. All the way to “The End.” Subscribe to the Storyworld Shorts monthly email newsletter and get my free PDF booklet called How To Finish a First Draft.