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10 Steps You Can’t Miss!

Maybe you have a great idea for a story that you’d love to see on the

This article will give you a step-by-step guide to help you start writing your first novel

You might already have a compelling idea developing in your head

It’s okay if you don’t know all the details of your idea at this stage

Once you have a list of possible story ideas, it’s time to choose the one you’

After all, there’s nothing less exciting than a book about someone waking up, having breakfast, and

So before you commit to writing the idea you’ve chosen, make sure there’s a central

Give the protagonist a really convincing reason for wanting to achieve their goal

If they’re in this story for no apparent reason, it will be easy for readers to

Once you know the protagonist’s goal, figure out what’s getting in their way

It might be an evil villain, a force of nature, or even the protagonist’s own fears

If you want some ideas for what’s stopping your protagonist from achieving their goal, check out

The protagonist’s goal is to win the Hunger Games because she promised her little sister that

This is a great example of a story with a high-stakes central conflict

Are they talkative or quiet? What kind of slang do they use? What is their sense of

Do they have any defining gestures? What’s the first thing people notice about them?

What are their flaws? What are their values? What are they afraid of? How will they change

For example, if your protagonist’s primary flaw is that she’s afraid to trust anyone, the

That way, for better or for worse, she’ll have a different relationship with trust by the

Once you have the protagonist planned out, it’s time to think about the antagonist and major

Many authors write new characters into their novels as they go

Once you have your characters down, it’s time to decide where and when your story will

You might want to set your story in a fictional world of your own making

Maybe your story works best in a big city, or in a small village, or in a

Is it a single night, like in A Christmas Carol, or a year, like each book in

The time and place of your story will really affect its mood and atmosphere, and might even

At this point, it’s time to do the step that some authors love and some authors

Outlining the important plot points of your story in advance will help ensure you don’t run

Some, such as three-act structure, give you as few as three beats to work with

If you’re a pantser rather than a plotter, meaning that you prefer to discover the story

However, you should still plan out the key plot points to give yourself a sense of direction

At the very least, plan out the inciting incident, the midpoint turn, and the climax

Before you start drafting, you need to decide the point of view you’ll be writing in

For example, first person will feel more intimate than third person omniscient, but third person omniscient gives

Point of view is also closely intertwined with form and structure

For example, if your story takes the form of a confession from one person to another, first

Now that you have the basics of your book planned out, it’s time to plan your

If you don’t have hours of time to write, you can find smaller moments

Every time you’re about to open a social media app, open the Notes app instead and

Depending on the genre you’re writing, a typical novel is between 60,000 and 100,000 words

Then, figure out how many words you need to write each day in order to accomplish that

Using daily or weekly word counts will give you more manageable, bite-sized goals

You can track your word counts in a calendar, journal, or spreadsheet to keep yourself motivated

Remember that first drafts are meant to be messy! It won’t be perfect

If you get writer’s block, remember that it’s okay to jump forward to a later

You could make a mood board or playlist to get yourself into the mood of your book

Don’t be too hard on yourself if you can’t hit your word count

Once you’ve finished your first draft, give yourself some distance from your book so you can

That way, you’ll be able to see its strengths and flaws more clearly when it’s

For now, resist the urge to start making line-level edits, such as adding commas or rephrasing sentences

Chances are, you might not even need those paragraphs after your developmental edit

Instead, focus on fixing plot problems, strengthening your character arcs, and adding or deleting scenes if necessary

Once you feel you’ve revised your book as much as you can alone, it’s time

Novel writing is a daunting task, but anyone can do it if they take the time to

Do you have any favorite tips for writing a novel? Share them in the comments