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Do’s and Don’ts to Start Writing Your First Novel



Many novice writers claim to have amazing story ideas or have always dreamed about writing a novel, but they don’t know how and where to start. If you can relate and you are struggling with getting started, then you are in the right place.

Without ado, let us jump into the list of efficient tips on how to get started with writing.

Choose the Idea That Excites You the Most

The first step is all about your story idea. Anything and everything, especially in the world of books, starts with the spark of inspiration. But many aspiring writers have a billion different ideas, so how do you narrow down your ideas and select the one that you want to pursue for your novel?

One of the smoothest answers to this particular question is to stick to the idea that excites you the most in the present moment. Here is what happens: if you choose an idea that you aren’t really excited about, your readers will always be able to tell, and why would your readers want to read a book that you weren’t excited to write about in the first place?

While working on your novel, there is also a great chance that you might get distracted by another potential idea – but the number one thing that will help you stay on track the most is to choose and stick to that one idea that you are just the most excited about from the very beginning.

At this point, you might wonder how you can tell whether that one particular idea is worth pursuing. The answer is that with proper planning, outlining, and detailing, any idea can become worth pursuing.

Of course, some ideas might need more work than others, but if you are willing to put in that work, you can transform any idea into a great story that will mesmerize your readers. So, you will want to grab that one idea that excites you the most, draft an outline, and complete your first draft, as you can do all the editing later.

Speaking of editing, you can immensely benefit from hiring one of the great novel editors in the UK, that is, if you reside in the UK, and want to ensure that your copy is in the perfect condition and ready to impress any potential literary agent who might demand to the first chapters of your copy – or – the entire manuscript.

Use One Document to Brainstorm the Important Sections

To start writing a novel, you can also brainstorm several elements of your book, such as the world-building elements that are about the place where the story takes place. You might as well want to explore the character elements, such as the number of characters that will be part of your story.

While you are at it, you might want to define your main character and what their goals and motivations are. You will also want to determine the character’s internal and external journeys, regarding the change that the characters will undergo by the end of the novel.

As a starting point, you might want to use a mind map or one Google Doc to sump all of your brainstorming aspects onto that one document. Subsequently, after you have everything out on paper, you can organize everything by category so that despite being in one place, everything is still organized in a way that you can make sense of it.

When it comes to effective brainstorming, you need at least three sections to start working with, such as the plot selection, the category selection, and the general section of the place and world where the story takes place.

Don’t Skip the Outline

If you want to see your novel transform from a fantasy into a reality, you will never want to skimp on the outline of your story. Now, there are people who skip the outline and start working straight on the novel.

Now, if you are not fascinated by the idea of outlining, we encourage you to experiment a bit and see where it takes you. The point is that you should outline as much as you need to. You don’t necessarily have to go overboard because if you do so, you might lose your excitement in writing the first draft, as you will have most of it jotted down in the form of an outline.

As a starting point, you can confine yourself to quick bullets of the basic number of scenes in your novel, especially if you feel like outlining might kill your excitement and creativity, which happens to most novice writers. However, you can also outline deliberately and outline every single scene of your novel – if this is what you feel like doing.

A detailed outline can be useful if you are easily distracted or when you need to know where things are going in your novel. The outline can ensure that you stay on track.

Don’t Stare at the Blank Page

Once you have completed the outline, it is time to move to the practical step of writing your novel. Now, the blank page can stare right back at you, and it can also be the scariest part for many people. This aspect is also the part where most aspiring writers experience something known as writer’s block.

Nonetheless, the point is to get started and write while simultaneously letting go of your inner critic and perfectionist. You can take care of perfecting the draft later after you have everything out on paper. You also need to embrace the thought that your first draft will be your worst, which is completely okay, as you cannot expect to start off your writing career the right way from the very start.

Editing and proofreading will solve whatever issues you have later, which is why, for now, you simply have to focus on filling up that blank page with words. You might want to set a daily word limit for yourself and ensure to write as well as you currently can.