30 Novel Writing Tips.
If you are about to write a novel for the first time, we have
some novel writing tips which may help you on your way.
We have been helping first time novelists for many years and these
tips are compiled from their
There is no definite way to write a novel and different people have different ways of doing it.
we hope you find these tips useful and wish you every success
with your writing.
Do it your way
||You're the boss!
||It's your novel and it belongs
to you so do what's comfortable. Take advice
from wherever you can, but don't be told you have to
do it a certain way. This advice also applies to this web
||Don't lose sight of what
the end game is providing a body of written
work and that's what will be judged. So don't get
too side-tracked with things
outside the actual writing process.
||Develop your own style
||Like trying anything new,
writing a novel has a learning curve, even if you
have written lots of other stuff before. It is
usual for your methods and writing style to develop
naturally, quite quickly. The important thing is to
have confidence in yourself and get stuck in!
||Write about something you
||Do you want to be a writer or a
researcher? It really helps if your novel is about
an interest and something you know about. Of course, you
will still need to do some
research, but it's good to have an existing
knowledge to build on.
||Write something you would
like to read
||Never forget your readers. If
you were another person, would you enjoy reading your
||Read similar stuff
||It can be
good to read other novels while you are writing
yours. It helps you keep in touch of the readers
side of the equation. Always be aware of the
differences between the book your reading and what
you're writing so you don't subconsciously start
mixing the two up and start using the ideas of
||Make it believable and
||There's no better way to turn
off your readers than making a statement of fact -
they know is wrong! It's also a good idea to only include
things that could actually happen, even
if it's a fantasy novel. You don't want them to say,
that's just silly!
||Loosely identify the type of your novel
||Is it a thriller, a crime
novel, a romance... There's lot's of different
genres and yours may be a single one or a mixture.
Once you have a rough idea, it can help to look at
critical reviews of other books in this area. It helps build
up in your mind the negative pitfalls to avoid and
the positives to include.
||Outline your plot
||It's unusual for the starting plot to be exactly the same as the plot when
you finish. A good way is to have a basic, flexible,
outline you can then embellish with sub-plots
and twists as you're writing. Try to leave your
options open as you progress and do not to corner
yourself. Remember the importance of continuity and
avoid threads that conflict with each other.
||Someone once said 'A novel
is like a good meal where the characters
are the ingredients and the plot is the way it's
cooked and served'. Ask any chef how important
the ingredients are! Don't skimp on building up the
details and idiosyncrasies of your characters.
Putting together a starting set of interesting
characters can often fast-track you on your way.
||Get a loose story plan
||It can often help to put
together a loose outline plan of how your characters
and plot interact before
you start writing which you can then follow. Established authors can often do
this automatically in their minds, but if you're
just starting out, it can be a worthwhile exercise.
||Research with the web
||The Internet is a wonderful aid
to a novelist. If you spend time browsing
around the subject of your novel before you start, it
can really help. It's also invaluable while you are
writing. It's worth remembering that most
information on the Internet is an opinion so, if
you're going to use it in your novel, make sure it's
accurate by checking it out on more than web site.
Establish a routine
||Why a routine can help
||To maximize your chances of
completing your first novel, it's a good idea to give
some thought to how best apply yourself. It may help
your routine first and try to stick to it. In the
early days it can really help you
focus. Writing 'if and when' is not ideal in keeping up the momentum.
||Where and when
||Decide where you are going to
write it and try to put some time aside, either each
day or weekly, to dedicate yourself to it. Tell your
nearest and dearest of your novel writing time and ask for them to understand you'll be busy then.
||Decide on the tools to use
anything it's best to use the tools that have been
designed for the job. Specialist, novel writing
software can certainly play a key role and
has distinct advantages over 'vanilla' word
||Take a small notebook and pen
with you everywhere. You don't know when something
may spring into your mind which you don't won't to
forget. If your mobile has a notes function, perhaps
you could use that!
||Keep a diary
||Although your software will
probably have the ability for handling your notes,
it's a good idea to keep a log or diary of what you
did and when in a traditional hand written diary.
Just a 'one liner' note to yourself each time should
suffice. You never know when you want to look back
at what you did and when.
||Don’t give up or lose heart
||Writing your first novel is a
personal journey. You will have good times and bad.
If things get tough, don't lose heart or give up.
Persevere and you will get there! With
self-publishing now an option, you will become a
||Don’t be scared to get
||Although careful planning for a novel
can be important at the start, don't spend too long
on it. Once you start writing, try to get as much done as you can, quickly. This
gives you an initial impetuous and momentum. Don't
worry if it's 'not quite right', remember nothing is
set in concrete and you can return and change it!
||Don't over-do the 'fore
||If you are going to use a
foreword, introduction, prologue, about the author
etc... Don't use all of them and keep them
concise and succinct. Let your readers get to the
story, that's what they want to read, that's what
they will pay you for.
||Create a bond with the
||Try and build a bond with your
readers and treat them as your invisible friends.
Communicate with them in your writing as you would
communicate with a real friend. Try and
imagine who they are and use written language that
makes it easy for them to read. When they finish
novel, they need to leave not wanting to say
goodbye. They may read your next one!
||Don’t be verbose
||It's not unusual for a new
novelist to describe things in too much detail.
Don't over use adjectives or adverbs as this can
seriously damage fluidity for your readers.
||Trust your reader
||Don't tell your readers
everything, let them get involved and form their own
opinions. Entice them by unveiling things as your
novel evolves to keep their interest.
||If you're drying up - take a break
||If you feel you are not happy
or feel uncomfortable with what you're currently
writing - take a break and stop for the day. If you're
drying up, there may be more to do next time to
correct things. Leave it and 'start fresh' next time.
||Don't bore your reader
||If you're not happy with part
of your novel and you think it's flat - rewrite it.
Every novel undulates with high and lows but
you don't want your reader to get bored and ditch
it. If your readers don't get to the end, you've
||Don’t be scared of change
||If things change as you
progress, don't be scared to go back and alter
previous parts to fit. Try to tinker and not
re-write complete blocks as you may lose the essence
of what you meant when you originally wrote it. Remember
continuity is key and you don't want to contradict yourself.
When it's finished
||Find a trusted proof reader
||A lot of people like to keep
the fact they are writing a novel to themselves
while they are writing it. However, you will need
another pair of eyes to read it and give you a frank
opinion before you go for publishing. You can look
at something a hundred times and not see something
someone else spots immediately.
||Don’t over cook it
||Don't let finishing your novel
become like chasing the end of the rainbow. You have
to draw the line somewhere and it's possible to lose
some of the original spark - if you keep re-writing
||Use the web for publishing
||Ask any established author how
the publishing of novels has changed over the last
few years. It's a fluid thing so research it
well and decide how you want to do it. Be cautious
with lesser known online agents and try and get some
reviews on them. Self publishing, with Amazon,
Barnes and Noble etc, is a good place to start.
||Try and make it a labor of love
and enjoy it. A comfortable writer usually means a
satisfied reader. We all do things we like, better.
When NewNovelist was first released in 2001 it was widely
acclaimed for helping the first time novelist.
With the constant feedback from our users, we have
continually refined and improved it.
NewNovelist 3 Second Edition is the
latest and perfect partner for the
We have listed some of it's features:
• Help and
advice on how to write a novel from start to finish
Helps you plan, research and outline your story
It uses tried and proven writing methods
template advice to loosely fit your ideas and get you going
Includes a dedicated novel writers word processor
• Graphical Visualizer helps you keep it all together
• Integrated web browser for
easy research lookup
checker and word analyzer/thesaurus
Comprehensive ‘Notes’ handling
• Facilities to
build your library of characters/story elements
Story boarding with characters/story element interactions
and synthetic speech read-back
• Text and word
count analysis tools
• Advanced search and
Advanced review and publishing tools.