Teach Yourself to Write a Novel
by Nevio Gardasanic
If you are reading this, you are probably contemplating strategies to actualize your aspiration to write a novel. Writing a novel may seem daunting for a beginner but the rudimentary reason for doing it is rather full of creativity and inspiration. If you are wondering how you can be a self-taught novelist like Jane Austen or Mark Twain, keep reading for a step-by-step guide on how to teach yourself to write a novel.
First things first, it is worth noting that writing, as a medium of expression, is a tool to utilize a writer’s freedom. That being said, there is no single rigid way to write a novel. You should personalize your writing experience to suit your writing style and processes, but as a guide, we have compiled a general method on how to teach yourself to write a novel.
Step 1: Broaden your knowledge.
The juxtaposition is that reading is a writer’s best friend. To prepare yourself to write a novel, you must first, be acquainted with the waves and the silent innuendos of writing. When you constantly read books, particularly in a theme or genre that you are interested in, you would subconsciously pick up another writer’s tips of mastery in their writing. Not only that, when you read books about writing especially from authors who inspire you, you will find avenues to continuously learn.
Step 2: Collect inspirations.
Inspirations for writing can present themselves in unpredictable and unprecedented times and spaces. The most articulate virtuoso of writing finds sparks of creativity at the nook of the most mundane place. Start carrying a pen and a notepad with you or use a digital alternative to capture the essences in life that could direct the path of your novel. Furthermore, these bits of imaginativeness will not just approach you externally, but can also emerge internally. So, in the event, a splurge of ideas and plots arises, be ready to write them down.
Step 3: Brainstorm the seed of your novel.
When you are finally committed to writing a novel, you need to delve into further aspects of writing. Set aside a regular time for writing and respect the commitment you have made even when you face a difficult slog. To begin with, you should entertain the development of the core of your book. If you have come this far to write a novel, you may have encountered events or developed messages you want to put forth. Focus on the ‘Why’s’ behind your desire to write and explore the theme that will underscore the whole story.
Step 4: Determine novel’s point of view.
Writing a novel is essentially a form of storytelling. From that perspective, it is vital to decide on elements such as the novel’s point of view and how you wish to communicate with your audiences as an author. Plots and storylines evolve with bias, thoughts, and standpoints and the development of a story will similarly be altered from your novel’s point of view.
Here are the options of points of view you can use in your novel:
• First Person:
The story is presented from the writer’s standpoint, making frequent use of the pronoun “I”.
• Second Person:
The story is presented from the perspective of the reader. • Third Person Limited: The story is presented from somebody else’s point of view with limited access to other characters’ thoughts.
• Third Person, Omniscient:
The story is presented from somebody else’s point of view with full access to other characters’ thoughts.
Step 5: Establish setting and genre.
The setting and genre of your novel will work in conjunction with the theme you have assigned. Ask yourselves, what world would your creativity and imagination thrive in while having symbolic police to bring your message alive. Similarly, you would need to decide on the genre of your novel. Here is a list of genres you can opt for :
- Historical fiction
- Young adult fiction
- Mystery fiction
- Fantasy fiction
- Science Fiction
Step 6: Create characters to orchestrate your ideas and setting.
You may have the most engaging theme to put forth, but a novel requires purposeful characters to act on the premises of the novel. Decide on a strong main character with a detailed origin and backstory that will effectively bring your story to life. Allocate who you design as a protagonist or antagonist of the novel.
As a writer, it is a good practice to compile a character fact file or a mood board to learn about their reactions and voices. Put yourselves in these characters’ shoes instead of vice versa so they will be more than passive chess pieces on a board.
Step 7: Choose plot structure.
Every novel is different. A typical plot structure of any writing comprises an introduction, body, and a conclusion. A typical plot story comprises the 5 following elements:
• Exposition • Rising action • Climax • Falling action • Resolution
Step 8: Choose how you write.
When you begin your first draft, you will realize what makes your writing style unique. Are you a writer who expresses their mind on pen and paper or Google Docs? Will you look at supportive features of a novel-writing software or a formatting tool to create a novel design you like best? You will also confront your limitations as a writer, including how much you can write in a week. Irrespective of which route you choose, you should think of a timeframe and tools that would make you an efficient writer.
Step 9: Prepare drafts and editing.
There will be drafts after drafts. Plus, a series of editing. Be rest assured that this is a normal step in writing a novel. You may experiment with a target audience to acquire the best genuine feedback for your written drafts before deciding on further recruiting it again. These readers could be friends or fellow novelists.
Step 10: Consider professionally editing.
You may want to consider having your book professionally appraised and edited, especially if you consider publishing it. A trained person at the task would be more sensitive to necessary adjustments in a novel. If you choose to publish your craft, you can either have it self-published or via an agent.
And there you have it, a 10 step-by-step guide to help you to become the novelist you aspire to be. Get inspired and start writing the novel of your dreams today.
If you want to go beyond being just a beginner at this or any other skill, and work toward developing a real mastery, then you are going to need a deeper and more powerful strategy. What you need is a way to hack your brain so you can develop a winning mindset.
A winning mindset is a state of mind that allows you to enter a flow state at will. You do this by programming your subconscious mind.
Believe it or not, most of what you do throughout an average day is NOT freely chosen by your normal waking consciousness even though it may seem that way. The truth is that most of what you do on a day-to-day basis is done on autopilot. An example of this would be when you’re driving your car and as you do so you get bored and begin daydreaming. Before you know it, you find yourself several miles further down the road with absolutely NO memory of having driven those last several miles.
So, who exactly was driving while your waking consciousness was in la-la land, and how exactly did you manage to avoid an accident? Your subconscious mind was in control. You already spent years programming your subconscious with how to deal with a broad range of possible driving scenarios and thus it had no trouble taking the wheel while your waking consciousness took a little break. In other words, you were able to take effective actions without having to THINK about them.
The same way you programmed your subconscious to drive, you can also program it to automatically take successful actions toward mastering any other skill you decide that you want to learn.