How To Get Started Writing A Novel

novelSo you fancy writing a novel? Do you think you have what it takes to write a novel? If you fancy having a go at writing a novel …. and maybe even writing a best seller …. here are a few things to bear in mind before you start.

Choose a genre

Novels are heavily categorised by genre. Apart from anything else it makes them easier to market and sell. Publishers publish by genre and, generally, readers buy by genre.

So choose your genre. For example, will it be a crime novel or even a thriller? Will it be romantic (or even erotic) fiction?

Have a few publishers in mind

In writing it’s always best to start with a market and work back to a book. Rather than start with a book and then try to find a market.

So who do you think might be interested in publishing your novel? Find out who their existing authors are and what they’ve written. Ask for any author guidelines if they have any.

Create your main characters …. and give them some bones

Characters are the lynchpin of every novel. If they don’t work your novel probably won’t work either.

So make a list of your main characters. (Minor characters can be added later.) Give them some character …. a name, age, background, personality, job and of course their role in the book.

Sketch out a plot

Plotting is an important a skill as the actual writing itself. There are lots of ways of approaching plotting but one technique many writers use is to have a character, an action, the consequences and an outcome. Also jot down ideas for sub-plots.

Write a sample chapter

Writing a sample chapter is the very best way to find out if your idea has legs …. and if you have what it takes to write a full novel.

It’s probably easiest to write the first chapter as your sample, but it doesn’t have to be. Apparently J.K. Rowling wrote the last chapter of the last Harry Potter book before she even started the first book in the series.

When you’ve completed your sample chapter consider getting it reviewed by an agent or book critique service.