Posted in Fiction, Writing

How to Finish Your First Novel

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Everybody has a novel in him or her. What happens when an idea strikes you that makes you want to finally start typing words on the page? Writing your first novel is an ambitious undertaking that might seem a little scary at first. But if you have a really good idea and feel in your heart and soul that this is something you must do, then you simply have to write it.

Here are five steps to complete your first novel…

1. Go with the Idea, and the Genre, that You’re Most Passionate About.

Odds are you have more than one idea in your head. You might have five or six in a multitude of genres. Go with the one that really excites you, and the one that you feel most qualified to write about. If you’ve worked in law for the last five years and have a great idea about a law thriller, that might be the better idea to go with than a science fiction saga about martian politics.

2. Read, Read, Read, Read, Read.

Quentin Tarantino didn’t go to film school to train himself to make movies; the man watched lots and lots of movies. It’s the same with writing fiction. Your passion and determination may get you through writing your first novel, but if you don’t find time to read books, it’s going to show in your writing. You don’t want to copy what other authors are doing, but you want to learn from what styles and ways that published authors write. Feel free to read only in the genre you’re looking to write in, or a mix of many. Just read!

3. Pick a Time and Write At Least 5 Days A Week.

Even if you’re feeling writer’s block, you still need to get your butt in the chair and write. Even if what you write for the next hour is crap, it will get your brain working, and you will start creating better work. Most first-time writers don’t have the luxury of time. You might have to get up two hours earlier in the morning, or stay up three hours past your bedtime. If you really want to write, you’re going to have to make some sacrifices, and the main one just might be your hours of sleep.

4. Stick to a Word Count.

Feel free to write 2,000 words a day. Or 200. The great thing about writing is re-writing. Just get those words down, get from chapter 1 to chapter 27, and finish the book. There will be good days and bad days. Don’t freak out those first few days. You might feel like you’re climbing Mount Everest. Don’t look too far in the future. Just focus on today. Just focus on the words. Before you’ll know it, you’ll be writing your last sentence.

5. Print Out Your Manuscript and Put it in a Drawer.

Congratulations! It took a few weeks or a few months, but you finished your novel! Celebrate and print out your manuscript. Whether it’s 50,000 words or 125,000 words, you’ve accomplished a huge feat. Now the last step in this part of your journey is to put your book in a drawer and don’t pull it back out for at least four to six weeks. Rewriting will be your next step, but you want to approach the book as a reader, not a writer. Let the book breathe out of sight for a few weeks. And then rewriting will begin.

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