How to write a novel
A friend of mine spent years writing a novel but I managed to knock out my first novel only two months after I started. This isn't bragging as it was still bloody hard work. I found writing very soothing so the more stressed I was the more I wrote. I finished three books this year and will probably finish four or five by next year. I thought about how I could do this. So here are some of the tricks I used.
I recently read a book about writing fast and they speak about how you should know your plot inside out. She recommends scrivener. I am a word fan myself but that is only because that is what I know the best. But one of the things she likes with that particular program is that you can jump around easily. Here is my version of the same thing. But I would recommend you read the book.
I set up each chapter. After writing a few novels I now know how many chapters are most likely. I then start with the start. The parts I have been dreaming about for a while. I just start writing. once I have a chapter or two I know where the story is going. I have fallen in love with characters and I know them inside and out. So, I go to each chapter and I put in two scenes. I write a paragraph each about the scene and I put a couple of hashtags at the front. Trust me there is a reason for this.
Then I use the find button on word and place in the hashtag and it shows me all the plotting paragraphs. I pick the interesting ones near the start of the story and I start writing that.
If you have more than one POV or you have flashbacks use asterisks or another symbol. This way you can keep them all straight.
Day dreaming, I can get most of the novel done like this. If there are bits that you keep avoiding because you aren't excited by it then there is something wrong with those scenes. So, what I do is I sit by the fish pond or the fish tank or I go for a drive or I lie in bed in the morning. I daydream the scene. I pull out the bits that are exciting and I add in humour and all the other things I like about it. Then I can write the scenes. These are the scenes you can write in your stolen moments as they really don't take long to write.
The first time you write a scene don't get bogged down with flowery prose and the perfect sentence. Just write it out and go back and revise. Read through your chapters. It doesn't matter if you go in order or not. I usually go back a few chapters from wherever I am and do three or four chapters together. I fix up little things and add in details that make it easier for the reader to figure out what is happening. If there are big things that I have left out I put in the hashtags again.
But don't go over board with the revising while you are actually writing a scene.
This should be looked at throughout the writing process. Once before you start writing. Again once you have written the main plot because I can tell you some things might have changed. Then again near the end. Go through and think, "What is the message you want to get across?" Do I want someone to think a character is particularly wise. If that is true then have I communicated that? If I haven't then I need to put in a scene and every scene should have more than one purpose.
There is no right or wrong when it comes to writing and everyone has their own rituals. I could say writing your novel is the hardest part but for some (like me) it can be the easiest. But above anything enjoy your writing regardless of how many words or pages you can do in one sitting.