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So You Want To Write A Book? The Dos And Don’ts Of Writing A Novel

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Think you can go one better than J.K. Rowling? Pretty sure you’ve got what it takes to be the next Hilary Mantel? Not too impressed with David Mitchell’s last attempt? Well, why don’t you give it a go and write your very own book!

Writing a novel is a very rewarding pastime, and it could even lead to you making your first million dollars! But is it as easy as you think? The answer is, unfortunately, probably not.  Getting down to business and writing a brilliant novel isn’t simple. You need to have plenty of inspiration, and the time it takes to write your whole story down. And once you’ve done that, the hard work isn’t over. You will need to do countless edits and eventually try and find a publisher.

Still determined to get to work on your future bestseller? Then the following points can really help you out.

Do Know What Your Book Is Bringing To The Table

Your book will have to bring something new to the publishing world. Otherwise, publishers won’t even consider it. If it is like a number of books that have gone before, you might find it hard to sell. So instead of sticking to a successful formula, it is always best to try and break fro the crowd and do your own thing. That way, you have more chance of a publisher and readers noticing your novel and picking it up. Even if you are writing a similar plot or theme to an already published book, you can still get yours published. You just need to have a unique selling point, such as an enigmatic way with language.

Don’t Copy

Many authors read a lot while they are in the initial stages of writing their book. Reading is a great way to find ideas and inspiration. However, you need to be careful that you don’t take this too far and actually copy the writing in your own manuscript. There is one simple way of ensuring that your work is completely your own, though. And that is by using a plagiarism checker. Simply enter sections of your manuscript into the online checker. And you will be notified if some sentences or paragraphs are too similar to other works. It is much better to find this at this early stage rather than once your book has been published. Wait until then, and you could end up in court!

Create A Proposal

Before you begin writing, you should write a proposal. This needs to include what the book will be about. This proposal is mainly to send to publishers, but you should also do it for yourself as well. When you are writing the book, you should keep on referring back to the proposal. This will help you keep on track and prevent you from going off on a tangent. You should also remember to include a note in the proposal about how you will market the book. This can help show potential publishers that you understand who the target audience will be.

 

Do Make An Outline Before You Write

Don’t just dive straight into all the writing. Take things step by step. Firstly, you need to come up with an outline for the book. This will help you understand how you will tell the story. It can also show you whether it might be worth playing with the chronology of the story. If you already have a publisher at this stage, you may like to work with your editor or agent at the outline stage. They will be able to give you sound advice when it comes to setting up your story. After all, they have plenty of experience in this industry, and will know what sells and what doesn’t.

Don’t Forget About Your Characters

Once you have cracked the outline of the plot, you need to get to know your novel’s characters. You need to know them extremely well. Try and think of them as very close friends. But don’t just think about them within the constraints of the novel. You need to give them backstories and fully developed personalities. This will help you write about them in a very colorful and vibrant way. And the better you can write about them, the more invested the reader will be in them. If you need to, you should also sketch some images of your characters. This can help you really get to know them. Once you have created and developed your characters, you might decide to slightly change your plot to suit the characters better.

Do Write What You Know

This might be slightly obvious, but you’d be surprised to hear how many budding authors try to write about things they aren’t too sure about. It’s best to start off with writing about things that you know. So, for example, rather than writing about far-off foreign lands, stick to writing a novel set in your hometown. This will cut down the amount of research that you need to do for the book. Once you get a bit more confident with your writing, you can start to write about the unknown. But be sure to research fully and lock down all your facts!

 

Do Expect Problems

Writing a novel isn’t all plain sailing. You should expect to hit some bumps in the road as you go on. But even though writing a novel is no easy feat, it sure can be a lot of fun. So it’s worth trying to stick with it! So how do you make such a difficult task easier on yourself? The main way is to be patient and take it slow. Don’t try to rush it. Otherwise, you will only get frustrated. Take a deep breath, and go through the writing process at a very reasonable pace.

Hopefully, all of these dos and don’ts will help you nail your very first book. Even though you will probably run into a few problems along the way, you will find it an extremely rewarding experience. And you may even find that it opens up new doors in your career!

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