The message behind your book is its theme, and it will underscore the whole story. For instance, Nineteen Eighty-Four follows a man yearning for love in a world where individuality and original thought is not only a sin, but a crime. But what the book is really about is the human right for freedom of privacy. If you want your novel to be attractive to prospective readers, you need to first understand how to think like a reader. You know how when gossip moves through the grapevine, it tends to stray further and further from the truth as it passes from person to person? This is because any time a person tells a story, they inevitably add their own unique biases, thoughts, and perspectives.
For this reason, choosing the point of view your novel will be told from is an extremely important step and will have a huge impact on the actual story itself. If, on the other hand, the book took place in modern day Texas and a year old Elizabeth Bennett spoke those words, it would stick out like a sore thumb.
The key here is context — and the context or setting of your novel will dictate everything about it, from character to plot to conflict, and beyond. If you are planning to write about a setting outside of your own immediate knowledge, make sure you do adequate research. If your novel is historical, learn all about conducting historical research in our free, ten-day course.
Or consider working with sensitivity readers if you are writing about a place or culture outside your own. This is not the case with developing your characters. While it is definitely important for an author to picture what their characters look like, starting from the inside and working your way out is a better approach. Once you have these core elements established, you can start exploring other aspects of your characters using these resources:.
Sign up for this free part course! In both of these examples, there is a conflict driving the story — and indeed, a novel is really just a lengthy report if there is no conflict. Well, because the fate of Middle Earth hangs in the balance. Plotters, as you might have guessed, plan where their novel will go before they start writing.
In any case, it'll save you a great deal of time. There are countless ways to outline a novel, but here are a few tried-and-true methods to consider:.
To see all of these structures in action, check out our post which maps out three bestselling novels using the above techniques. If you can accomplish the above eight steps, you are well on your way to a completed novel. And the following four tips will help you do just that. Though if you want more, you can always check out our list of 20 essential writing tips for first-time authors. But literally: how are you going to write your novel?
With pen and paper? On Word? With the help of a novel-writing software or formatting tool? Gone are the days where dipping quill in to ink was the only option, so do your research and pick the best one for you. Who is going to want to read your book? Nope, not everyone. Think about the kind of person that will buy your book, and write with them in mind.
Learn more about finding your target market here!
But of course, the work is far from over. Writing the first iteration of your manuscript is all about just getting the words down on paper. There are countless other literary devices that authors use to add creative depth to their writing. Find a list of some of our favorites here. Editing your own story is not a one-time deal. Each time you read your story, you will likely end up rewriting parts, which will require another read-through, which might lead to more rewrites — so on and so forth. Go through your novel looking for a specific issue and only fix those.
If you spot other things in the meantime, make a note of them to come back and fix later, but stay laser-focused on the task at hand. Once the reader has accepted your premise, what follows must be logical. Effective research is key to adding the specificity necessary to make this work. When my character uses a weapon, I learn everything I can about it. Add specifics the way you would add seasoning to food.
To ask other readers questions about Choose Me, please sign up. . I look forward to trying out another Kay Langdale novel, this one I would highly recommend. Start by marking “Choose Me” as Want to Read: In Choose Me, RC Boldt brings us an unforgettable, heart-wrenching coming-of-age romance I have loved each and every book I’ve read from Boldt.
The perspective from which you tell your story can be complicated because it encompasses so much. The cardinal rule is one perspective character per scene , but I prefer only one per chapter, and ideally one per novel. No hopping into the heads of other characters. What your POV character sees, hears, touches, smells, tastes, and thinks is all you can convey. Most novels are written in Third Person Limited.
That means limited to one perspective character at a time, and that character ought to be the one with the most at stake. First Person makes is easiest to limit yourself to that one perspective character, but Third-Person Limited is most popular for a reason. One example: the main character hears what another character says, reads his tone and his expression and his body language, and comes to a conclusion.
Then he finds out that person told someone else something entirely different, and his actions prove he was lying to both. It means avoiding too much scene setting and description and getting to the good stuff—the guts of the story. The goal of every sentence, in fact of every word , is to force the reader to read the next.
Your job as a writer is not to make readers imagine things as you see them, but to trigger the theaters of their minds. They give a private eye a nice car, weapon, girlfriend, apartment, office, rich client. Rather, you should pull out from under him anything that makes his life easy. Have his car break down, his weapon stolen, his girlfriend leave, he gets evicted, his office burns, his client is broke. Now thrust him into a dangerous case.
He can have weaknesses, foibles, flaws, but they should be identifiable, redeemable, not annoying or repulsive. The once-reprobate lover who has become a changed man, loving fiance, falls off the wagon the night before the wedding. Caught red-handed doing drugs and drinking and cavorting with another woman, he sees his true love storm off, vowing to never speak to him again. Imagine the nadir, the low point, the bleakest moment for your lead character.
Your ability to do this will make or break you as a novelist. This is not easy, believe me. The Bleakest Moment forces your hero to take action, to use every new muscle and technique gained from facing a book full of obstacles and prove that things only appeared beyond repair. The more hopeless the situation, the more powerful your climax and end will be.
The ultimate resolution, the peak emotional point of your story, comes when your hero faces his ultimate test. The stakes must be dire and failure irreversible. The conflict that has been building throughout now crescendos to a final, ultimate confrontation, and all the major book-length setups are paid off. In the original version of the movie, the scene felt flat. So the filmmakers added the fact that the Death Star was on the verge of destroying the rebel base.
Reward their sticking with you and let them see the fireworks. A great ending :. Take your time and write a fully satisfying ending that drops the curtain with a resounding thud. How long it takes you to be happy with every word before you start pitching your manuscript to the market is how long it should take.