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How To Write a Novel: The Complete 20-Step Guide

Daily I speak to writers who don’t know tips on how to write a novel and worry they don’t have what it takes. Truthfully, they’re proper to fret. Writing a novel is tough, and the desk drawers and arduous drives of many a great writer is full of the skeletons of failed books.

What when you might start your novel without the worry of failing? What when you had a process so foolproof, you knew you’d finish no matter what? The zombie apocalypse might lastly strike and also you’d nonetheless finish writing your novel.

The good news is you’ve found the write place (sorry, dangerous habit).

I’m a #1 Amazon bestselling writer of nine books, and in this full guide, I’m going to share the exact course of that I exploit to ensure I finish my books. I’ve taught this course of to tons of of different writers who have used it to finish their novels, too. Plus, I’ll additionally share the only greatest novel writing ideas from thirty-seven other novelists, not to mention a few life-saving assets that you need to use in your novel writing journey.

One of the first steps is to write down your premise. Click to obtain a free worksheet that may information you thru writing a publishable premise: Obtain the worksheet right here.

Desk of Contents

In search of one thing specific? Leap straight to it right here:

1. Get a nice concept
2. Write your concept as a premise
three. Set a deadline
four. Set smaller deadlines building to the final deadline
5. Create a consequence
6. Attempt for “good enough” and embrace imperfection
7. Work out what kind of story you’re making an attempt to tell
eight. Read novels and watch films which might be just like yours
9. Structure, construction, construction!
10. Find the climactic second in your novel
11. Think about the conventions
12. Set your intention
13. Picture your reader
14. Construct your group
15. Plan the publishing course of
16. Write (with low expectations)
17. Trust the method and don’t give up
18. Hold going, even when it hurts
19. End Draft One . . . then onward to the subsequent
20. Draft 2, 3, four, 5
Writers’ Greatest Recommendations on How to Write a Novel

My Journey to Study How to Write a Novel

I used to fret I might never write a novel. Rising up, I dreamed about turning into a great novelist, writing books like the ones I liked to read. I had even tried writing novels, but I failed repeatedly.

So I decided to review artistic writing in school. I wrote poems and brief stories, but even after getting an costly degree, I nonetheless didn’t know easy methods to write a novel.

After school I started blogging, which led to a few gigs at a native newspaper and then a nationwide journal. I received a probability to ghostwrite a nonfiction e-book (and receives a commission for it!). I turned a full-time, professional author. However even after writing a few books, I still fearful I didn’t have what it takes to put in writing a novel.

Novels simply appeared totally different, more durable one way or the other. Perhaps it was as a result of they have been so valuable to me, however while writing a nonfiction guide not intimidated me, writing a novel terrified me.

I didn’t know methods to do it. I didn’t know how you can write a novel.

But then, one yr, I made a decision it was time. I wanted to stop stalling and eventually take on the method.

So I crafted a plan to complete a novel using the whole lot I’d ever discovered about e-book writing course of, every trick, hack, and method I knew.

And the method worked. I finished my novel in 100 days.

But in case you assume, Properly in fact you completed a novel, you’re a professional writer already, I’ve also taught this process to lots of of different writers, most of whom are working on their first books, they usually’ve used it to finish their novels too.

Should you’ve ever felt discouraged, like I did, afraid that you simply don’t know how one can write a novel and you don’t have what it takes, I’m right here to inform you you can write a novel.

You just have to have the write process (oops, didn’t even imply to do it that point).

How to Write a Novel: The Foolproof, 20-Step Plan

Under, I’m going to share a foolproof course of that anybody can use to put in writing a novel, the same process I used to put in writing my novels and books, and that tons of of different writers have used to finish their novels too.

1. Get a nice concept

Perhaps you’ve gotten a novel concept already. Perhaps you’ve got twenty concepts.

Should you do, that’s superior. Now, do that for me: Pat yourself on the again, after which overlook any feeling of joy or accomplishment you’ve got.

Right here’s the factor: an concept alone, even a great concept, is simply the primary baby step in writing your e-book. There are nineteen extra steps, and virtually all of them are harder than arising together with your initial concept.

I really like what George R.R. Martin stated:

“Ideas are useless. Execution is everything.”

You will have an concept. Now discover ways to execute, starting with step two.

(And when you don’t have a novel concept yet, right here’s a listing of 100 story ideas that may assist. Verify these out, choose an concept or make up one among your personal, and then come back for step two.)

2. Write your concept as a premise

Now that you’ve a novel concept, write it out as a single-sentence premise.

What’s a premise, and why do you want one?

A premise distills your novel concept right down to a single sentence. The sentence will guide your complete writing and publishing course of from starting to finish.

It may also be a bit like an elevator pitch on your ebook. If somebody asks you what your novel is about, you’ll be able to share your premise to elucidate your story.

A premise can also be an important a part of a question letter or ebook proposal, and so a good premise can truly enable you to get revealed.

What’s an instance of a novel premise?

Here’s an example premise from The Wizard of Ouncesby L. Frank Baum:

A young woman is swept away to a magical land by a tornado and must embark on a quest to see the wizard who will help her return house.

How do you write a premise?

A premise must include three things:

  1. A protagonist described in two words, e.g. a younger woman or a world-weary witch.
  2. A objective. What does the protagonist need or want?
  3. A state of affairs or crisis the protagonist is dealing with.
Prepared to write down your premise? Click to obtain a free worksheet that may guide you thru writing a publishable premise: Obtain the worksheet right here.

3. Set a Deadline

Earlier than you do anything, you want to set a deadline for whenever you’re going to complete the primary draft of your novel.

Stephen King stated a first draft ought to be written in not more than a season, so ninety days.

In our 100 Day Guide Program, we give individuals a little longer than that, 100 days, which looks like a good length of time for most individuals.

I like to recommend setting your deadline not than 4 months. If it’s longer than that, you’ll procrastinate. A superb size of time to put in writing a e-book is one thing that makes you a little nervous, but not outright terrified.

Mark the deadline date in your calendar, kneel on the ground, shut your eyes, and make a vow to your self and your e-book idea that you’ll write the first draft novel by then, no matter what.

4. Set Smaller Deadlines Building to the Ultimate Deadline

A novel can’t be written in a day. There’s no solution to “cram” for a novel. The key to writing a novel is to make a little progress every single day.

In the event you write a thousand phrases a day, one thing most individuals are capable of doing in an hour or two, for 100 days, by the top you’ll have a 100,000 phrase novel, which is a pretty lengthy novel!

So set smaller, weekly deadlines that break up your guide into pieces. I recommend making an attempt to put in writing 5,000 to 6,000 words per week by every Friday or Sunday, whichever works greatest for you.

When you can hit your whole weekly deadlines, you understand you’ll make your ultimate deadline at the end.

5. Create a Consequence

You may be considering, Setting a deadline is ok, however how do I truly hit my deadline? Right here’s the key I discovered from my pal Tim Grahl.

Create a consequence. Right here’s how:

  1. Set your deadline.
  2. Write a examine to a corporation or nonprofit you hate (Once I did this, it was in the course of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and I wrote a verify to the marketing campaign of the candidate I appreciated least, who shall stay nameless!).
  3. Then think of two different, minor penalties (like giving up your favourite TV present for a month or having to buy ice cream for everybody at work).
  4. Give your examine, plus your listing of two minor penalties, to a pal you belief with agency instructions to hold you to your penalties in case you don’t meet your deadlines.
  5. Should you miss certainly one of your weekly deadline, you get one among your minor consequences (e.g. giving up your favorite TV show).
  6. Should you miss THREE weekly deadlines OR in case you miss the final deadline, your verify will get sent to the organization you hate.
  7. Lastly, write! I promise you, for those who do steps 1–6, you’ll be incredibly targeted!

Once I did this whereas writing my seventh guide, I completed it in just sixty-three days. It was probably the most targeted I’ve ever been in my life!

6. Attempt for “good enough” and embrace imperfection

Solely after you’ve gotten a deadline can you start to think about find out how to truly make your novel good.

The subsequent few points are all about easy methods to write a good story. The purpose we set a deadline before we start to consider the way to make our story good is because we might spend a lifetime making an attempt to discover ways to make our story good and by no means write our story (and it’s within the writing process that you simply truly discover ways to make your story good).

So discover ways to make it good in between writing periods, however only ok for the draft you’re on. When you focus too much on this it is going to break the whole lot and also you’ll never finish.

Writing a good novel, a novel like the one you might have in your imagination, is an exercise in futility.

First drafts are inevitably horrible. Second drafts are a little higher. Third drafts are better nonetheless. However none of them strategy the perfection that you simply had in your head whenever you first thought-about writing a novel.

And but, even when you realize that, you’ll still try to write a good novel. I discover that a lot of the work of writing a novel, or any e-book, is reminding your self continually, “This doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be good enough for now.”

And ok for now, if you’re starting your first draft, just means you’ve got phrases on a web page that faintly resemble a story.

Writing is an iterative course of. The objective of your first draft is to have something you’ll be able to enhance in your second draft. Don’t overthink. Just do. (I’ll remind you of this later, in case you overlook, and for those who’re like me, you in all probability will.)

Prepared to take a look at what makes a good story? Let’s bounce into the subsequent few factors — but don’t overlook your aim: to get your entire ebook on the web page, regardless of how messy your first draft is.

7. Work out what kind of story you’re making an attempt to inform

Now that you’ve a deadline, you can start to assume more deeply about what your protagonist actually needs.

An excellent story focuses totally on just one core factor that the protagonist needs or wants, and the place where your protagonist’s want or need meets the reader’s expectations dictates your stories style.

Genre is a massive topic, and for the purposes of this article, we don’t have time to completely discover it (take a look at our novel style overview here). However style is about greater than what shelf your guide sits on on the bookstore.

Style gets to the guts of what your story is about. In accordance with The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne (a resource I highly advocate), there are twelve content genres and seventy-seven or so subgenres. You will discover a full listing and rationalization of every of the Story Grid genres here, but I’ll give an abbreviated model under:

External Genres (what your protagonist needs):

Action: Life vs. Demise (subgenres embrace Adventure, Heist, and Revenge plot)

Crime: Justice vs. Injustice (subgenres embrace Cozy Thriller, Caper, and Police Procedural)

Horror: Life vs. Damnation (i.e. a destiny worse than dying)

Thriller (which Story Grid considers a combination of Thriller, Crime, and Horror): Life vs Damnation

Love: Love vs. Hate (subplots embrace Courtship, Marriage, and Obsession)

Performance: Respect vs. Shame (subplots embrace Sports activities, Arts, and Enterprise)

Conflict: Victory vs. Defeat

Western: Insider vs. Outsider

Society: Riot vs. Conformity

Inner Genres (what your protagonist needs)

Inner genres work slightly totally different than exterior genres. For extra, take a look at Shawn’s publish on Story Grid Inner Genres here.

Worldview: A personality’s understanding of the world modifications. Perhaps they move from naivité to worldliness, or from belief to disillusionment.

Morality: A personality’s moral compass is challenged or modified. Perhaps their moral character is examined they usually fail and make immoral decisions, or perhaps a morally corrupt character redeems themselves by making good decisions.

Standing: A character rises or falls in social status. Maybe an aspirational character has a supportive mentor and rises, or perhaps a character of excessive status makes unlucky selections and falls.

You’ll be able to mix and match these to some extent. In your ebook to be commercially successful, you should have an exterior style. On your ebook to be thought-about extra “character driven,” you must have an inner genre too. It’s also possible to have a subplot. In order that’s three genres you possibly can probably incorporate into your novel.

For instance, you may need an action plot with a love story subplot and a worldview schooling inner genre. Or a horror plot with a love story subplot and a morality inner genre. There’s a lot of room to maneuver.

For greatest outcomes once you go to publish although, be sure to have an external style.

eight. Read novels and watch films which might be just like yours

“The hard truth is that books are made from books,” says Cormac McCarthy.

Now that you simply’ve considered what your novel is actually about, it’s time to see how different great writers have pulled off the unattainable and crafted a great story from the glimmer of an concept.

You may assume, “My story is completely unique. There are no other stories similar to mine.”

If that’s you, then one small word of warning. If there are not any books which might be just like yours, perhaps there’s a cause for that.

Personally, I’ve learn a lot of great books that have been a lot of fun to read that have been comparable in many ways to different books I’ve read. But I’ve also read a lot of dangerous books that have been utterly unique. Even valuable unique snowflakes look kind of like different snowflakes.

In the event you discovered your content material style in Step 3, select three to 5 novels and movies which are in the same style as yours and research them. Don’t learn/watch for pleasure. As an alternative, attempt to determine the conventions, key scenes, and the best way the writer/filmmaker strikes you thru the story.


Those have been the three words my school screenwriting professor, a successful Hollywood TV producer, wrote throughout the blackboard almost each class.

You could be a pantser, someone who writes by the seat of their pants.

You may be a plotter, somebody who needs to have a detailed define for each moment in their novel.

You’ll be able to even be someplace in between the two (like me, and most of us, I feel).

It doesn’t matter. You still should know your structure.

Listed here are three essential buildings you’ll find in novels:

5 Key Moments

There are 5 required moments in each scene and each act. Story Grid calls these the 5 commandments. Some story frameworks, like the Snowflake Technique, have six. Others have fewer. Five is sweet although.

They are:

  • Inciting incident. There’s a drawback.
  • Progressive complication. The drawback will get worse.
  • Crisis. The drawback will get so dangerous that the character has no selection however to cope with it. Often this occurs off display.
  • Climax. The character makes his or her selection and the climax is the motion that follows.
  • Decision. The drawback is resolved (for now at the least).

In The Story Grid, Coyne says crises are all the time a selection that your protagonist faces, they usually are available two easy-to-follow formulas:

  • Greatest Dangerous Selection. Think of that recreation “would you rather.” You’re given a selection between two horrible issues. For instance, would you moderately depart the love of your life at a get together with another guy, or let her humiliate you as she flirts with him?
  • Irreconcilable Items. Two values that don’t work collectively. For example, love vs. cash. Both are good, but like oil and water, they don’t mix. Other examples: comfort vs. adventure, personal happiness vs. the happiness of others, and success vs. family.

On your first few scenes, attempt plotting out each of these five moments, focusing especially on the disaster, explicitly spelling out what sort it’s, for example, greatest dangerous selection or irreconcilable items.

Three Act Structure

The basic writing recommendation describes the three act structure nicely:

Within the first act, put your character up a tree. In the second act, throw rocks at them. In the third act, convey them down.

Word that every of those acts ought to have the five key moments, as listed above.

The Disaster

I discussed the crisis above, nevertheless it bears repeating since, for me, it utterly reworked my writing process for the better.

In every act, your protagonist have to be confronted with a selection both between two dangerous issues (greatest dangerous selection) or two good things (irreconcilable goods). THIS is how you create drama in your story. THIS is how your plot moves ahead. For those who don’t have a disaster, in case your character doesn’t select, your scene gained’t work.

In my writing, once I’m engaged on a first draft, I don’t concentrate on figuring out all 5 key moments every time (since I’ve internalized them by now), however I do attempt to figure out the crisis earlier than I start writing. I start with that end in mind, and work out how I can put the protagonist into a state of affairs the place she or he has to make a troublesome selection.

Whenever you do this, your scene works. Once you don’t, it falls flat, the protagonist seems to be like a weak-willed observer of their very own life, and finally your story will really feel boring.


Write out a temporary three-act define with every of the five key moments for every act. It’s okay to go away these moments clean for those who don’t know them. Simply fill in what you do know.

10. Discover the climactic second in your novel

Each nice novel has a climactic second that the whole story is constructing as much as.

In Moby Dick, it’s the ultimate showdown with the white whale.

In Delight and Prejudice, it’s Lizzie lastly accepting Mr. Darcy’s proposal after discovering the lengths he went to with a view to save her family.

In the ultimate Harry Potter novel (spoiler alert!), it’s Harry offering himself up as a sacrifice to Voldemort to destroy the ultimate Horcrux.

To be clear, you don’t need to have your climactic second all deliberate out before you begin writing your guide.

However it IS a good concept to know what novels and films just like yours have completed.

For instance, should you’re writing a performance story about a violinist, as I’m, it is advisable to have some type of huge violin competition on the finish of your guide.

Should you’re writing a police procedural crime novel, you want to have a scene the place the detective unmasks the murderer and explains the rationale behind the homicide.

Take into consideration the climactic second your novel might be constructing up to. This last climactic moment will often happen within the climax of the second or third act. Fill in your outline with the climactic moment. Then write out the 5 key moments of the scene for that climactic moment.

Observe: For those who don’t know them, simply depart them clean. It’s okay to not know at this level.

11. Contemplate the conventions

Readers are refined. They’ve been taking in tales for years, since they have been youngsters, they usually have deep expectations for what must be in your story.

Meaning if you’d like readers to like your story you’ll want to meet and even exceed a few of these expectations.

Tales do this continually. We call them conventions, or tropes, they usually’re patterns that storytellers throughout historical past have discovered make for a good story.

Within the romantic comedy genre, for example, there’s virtually all the time the sidekick greatest pal, some sort of love triangle, and a meet cute moment the place the two potential lovers meet.

Within the thriller genre, the story all the time begins with a homicide, there are one or more purple herrings, and on the end there’s a remaining unveiling of the homicide.

Assume by means of the three to five novels and movies you read/watched. What conventions and tropes did they’ve in widespread?

12. Set Your Intention

You’re virtually ready to start out writing. However before you do, set your intention.

Researchers have found that if you’re making an attempt to create a new habit, for those who think about the place and when you’ll take part in that behavior, you’re much more more likely to comply with via.

On your writing, imagine the place, when, and the way a lot you’ll write every day. For example, you might imagine that you’ll write 1,000 phrases at your favorite espresso shop every afternoon throughout your lunch break.

As you think about, image your location clearly in your thoughts. Watch yourself sitting right down to work, typing in your laptop computer. Think about your word rely tracker going from 999 to 1,002 phrases.

When it’s time to put in writing, you’ll be ready to go do it!

13. Picture Your Reader

The definition of a story is a narrative meant to entertain, amuse, or instruct. That suggests there’s someone being entertained, amused, or instructed!

I feel it’s useful to picture one individual in your mind as you write. Then, as you write, you’ll be able to better perceive what would curiosity, amuse, or instruct them. And by picturing them, you’ll end up writing better stories.

Create a reader avatar. Choose someone you recognize, or make up somebody who would love your story. Describe them when it comes to demographics and interests. Contemplate the question, “Why would this reader love my novel?”

14. Construct Your Group

Most individuals assume they will write a novel on their very own, that they need to stick themselves in some cabin in upstate New York or an attic condominium in Paris and just concentrate on writing their novel for a few months or many years.

And that’s why most individuals fail to finish writing a guide.

As I’ve studied the lives of great writers, I’ve discovered that all of them had a group. None of them did all of it on their very own. They all had individuals who supported and inspired them as they wrote.

A group can appear to be:

  • An editor with a publishing home
  • A writing group
  • An writer mentor or coach
  • A web-based writing course or group

No matter you find, if you wish to end your novel, don’t make the error of believing you are able to do all of it by yourself (or that you need to do it all by yourself).

Find a writing group. Take a web-based writing class. Or hire a developmental editor. Whatever you do, don’t maintain making an attempt to do it by yourself.

15. Plan the Publishing Course of

One factor I’ve discovered is that when profitable individuals take on a process, they assume via every a part of the method from beginning to finish. They create a plan. Their plan may change, however starting with a plan provides them clear focus for what they’re setting out to accomplish.

A lot of the steps we’ve been speaking about on this publish contain planning (writing is arising subsequent, don’t fear!), but in your plan, it’s essential to assume by means of things all the best way to the top, the publishing and advertising course of.

So spend ten or twenty minutes dreaming about the way you’ll publish this novel (self-publish vs. conventional publish) and how you’ll market it (to your e-mail record, on social media, by way of Amazon advertisements?).

By considering issues by way of to the top, you’ll make it more likely to truly get there.

16. Write (With Low Expectations)

You’ve created a plan. You realize what you’re going to put in writing, if you’re going to write down it, and how you’re going to put in writing.

Now it’s time to truly write it.

Don’t overlook, your first draft is supposed to be dangerous. Write anyway.

17. Trust the process and don’t give up

As I’ve educated writers by means of the novel writing process in our 100 Day Ebook Program, inevitably round day sixty, they tell me how exhausting the method is, how drained they’re of their story, how they have a new concept for a novel they usually need to work on that as an alternative.

Don’t give up, I inform them. Belief the process. You’re a lot closer than you assume.

Then, miraculously two or three weeks later they’re emailing me to say they’re about to finish their books they usually’re so grateful they didn’t give up.

This is the process. This is how it all the time goes. Just whenever you assume you’re not going to make it, you’re virtually there. Just once you most need to give up, that’s if you’re closest to a break by means of.

Trust the process. Don’t give up. You’re going to make it. Just hold displaying up and doing the work (and keep in mind: doing the work means writing imperfectly!).

18. Hold Going, Even When It Hurts

Appliances all the time break if you’re writing a e-book.

Someone all the time gets sick making writing almost unattainable (either you or your partner or all of your youngsters or all the above).

One writer advised us just lately a high-speed automotive chase ended with the automotive crashing into a constructing near her home.

I’m not superstitious, however stuff like this all the time occurs if you’re writing a guide.

Anticipate it. Things won’t go in accordance with plan. Major life problems will occur. It is going to be really exhausting to stay targeted for weeks on finish.

This is where it’s so necessary to have a staff (step 14). When life happens, you’ll need somebody to vent to, to encourage you, and to help you.

No matter what, write anyway. That is what separates you from all of the aspiring writers out there. You do the work even when it’s onerous. Hold going.

19. End Draft 1… Then Onward to the Subsequent

After which, at some point, I noticed I’d written the second to last scene. After which the subsequent day, my novel was completed.

It felt sort of anticlimactic. I had needed to put in writing a novel for years, greater than a decade. And I had just accomplished it. And it wasn’t as massive of a deal as I assumed.

Superb, undoubtedly. But in addition just regular. I had been doing this, writing each day, for 99 days in any case. Finishing was just one other day.

However the journey itself? 100 days for writing a novel? That was superb. That was value it.

And perhaps will probably be like that for you. You may finish your e-book and really feel superb and proud and relieved. And in addition just type of normal. It’s the difference between being an aspiring author and being a real writer. Actual writers understand the joy is in the work, not in having a finished guide.

Once you get thus far, I simply need to say. Congratulations. You probably did it. You completed a guide. I’m so excited for you!

But in addition, as you’ll know if you get so far, this is actually just the start of your journey. Your ebook isn’t almost able to publish yet.

So have fun. Throw a social gathering for your self. Say thank you to all your workforce members. You finished. You ought to be proud!

20. Draft 2… three… four… 5

That is a novel writing information, not a novel revising guide (that is coming soon!). But I’ll offer you a few tips about what to do after you write your novel:

    1. Rest. Take a break. You earned it. Resting additionally permits you to get distance on your ebook which you want right now.
    2. Read without revising. Most individuals bounce right into the proofreading and line modifying course of. That is the worst factor you possibly can do. As an alternative, read your novel from beginning to end with out making revisions. You possibly can take notes, but the objective for this is to create a plan on your subsequent draft, not repair all of your typos and misplaced commas.
    3. Get suggestions. Then, share your guide together with your group: with editors and fellow writers (not family and friends but). Ask for suggestions, especially structural feedback, not on typos for now.
    4. Then, rewrite for construction. Your second draft is all about fixing the structure of your novel. Revisit steps 7 via 11 for assist.
    5. Final, polish your prose. Your third draft is for fixing typos, line modifying, and making your sentences sound good. Save this for the top, because in the event you polish too soon, you may need to delete a entire scene that you simply spent hours rewriting.

Writers’ Greatest Recommendations on How to Write a Novel

I’ve also asked the writers I’ve coached for his or her single recommendations on learn how to write a novel. These are from writers in our group who’ve adopted this process and completed novels of their own. Listed here are their greatest novel writing ideas:

“Get it out of your head and onto the page, because you can’t improve what’s not been written.” Imogen Mann

“What gets scheduled, gets done. Block time in your day to write. Set a time of day, place and duration that you will write 4-7 days/week until it becomes habit. It’s most effective if it’s the same time of day, in the same place. Then set your duration to a number of minutes or a number of words: 60 minutes, 500 words, whatever. Slowly but surely, those words string together into a piece of work!” Stacey Watkins

“Honestly? And nobody paid me for this one—enroll in the 100-day book challenge at The Write Practice. I had been writing around in my novel for years and it wasn’t until I took the challenge did I actually write it chapter by chapter from beginning to end in 80,000 words. Of course I now have to revise, revise, revise.” Madeline Slovenz

“I try to write for at least an hour every day. Some days I feel like the creativity flows out of me and others it’s awkward and slow. But yes, my advice is to write for at least one hour every day. It really helps.” Kurt Paulsen

“Be patient, be humble, be forgiving. Patient, because writing a novel well will take longer than you ever imagined. Humble, because being awake to your strengths and your weaknesses is the only way to grow as a writer. And forgiveness, for the days when nothing seems to work. Stay the course, and the reward at the end — whenever that comes — will be priceless. Because it will be all yours.” Erin Halden

“Single best tip I can recommend is the development of a plan. My early writing, historical stories for my world, was done as a pantser. But, when I took the 100 Day Book Challenge, one of the steps was to produce an outline. Mine started as the briefest list of chapters. But, as I thought about it, the outline expanded to cover what was happening and who was in it. That lead to a pattern for the chapters, a timeline, and greater detail in the outline. I had always hated outlines, but like Patrick Rothfuss said in one of his interviews, that hatred may have been because of the way it was taught when I was in school (long ago.) I know I will use one for the second book (if I decide to go forward with it.) Just remember the plan is there for your needs. It doesn’t need to be a formal I. A. 1. a. format. It can simply be a set of notecards with general ideas you want to include in your story.” Patrick Macy

“Everybody who writes does so on faith and guts and determination. Just write one line. Just write one scene. Just write one page. And if you write more that day consider yourself fortunate. The more you do, the stronger the writing muscle gets. But don’t do a project; just break things down into small manageable bits.” Joe Hanzlik

“When you’re sending your novel out to beta readers, keep in mind some people‘s feedback may not resonate or be true for your vision of the work. Also, just because you’ve handed off a copy for beta reading doesn’t mean you don’t have control over how people give you feedback. For instance, if you don’t want line editing, ask them not to give paragraph and sentence corrections. Instead, ask for more general feedback on the character arcs, particular scenes in the story, the genre, ideal reader, etc. Be proactive about getting the kind of response you want and need.” B.E. Jackson

“Become your main character. Begin to think and act the way they would.” Valda Dracopoulos

“I write for minimum 3 hours starting 4 a.m. Mind is uncluttered and fresh with ideas. Daily issues and commitment can wait. Make a plan and stick to the basic plan.” R.B. Smith

“Stick to the plan (which includes writing an outline, puttin your butt in the chair and shipping). I’m trying to keep it simple!” Carole Wolf

“Have a spot where you write, get some bum glue, sit and write. I usually have a starting point, a flexible endpoint and the middle works itself out.” Vuyo Ngcakani

“Before I begin, I write down the ten key scenes that must be in the novel. What is the thing that must happen, who is there when it happens, where does it take place. Once I have those key scenes, I begin.” Cathy Ryan

In my English courses, I was advised to “show, don’t tell,” which is probably the most obscure rule I’ve ever heard with regards to writing. Until I saw a submit that expanded upon this concept saying to ‘show emotion, tell feelings…’. Displaying emotion will convey the reader closer to the characters, to know their actions better. However I don’t have to examine how sluggish she was shifting because of tiredness.” Bryan Coulter

“For me, it’s the interaction between all of the characters. It drives almost all of my novels no matter how good or bad the plot may be.” Jonathan Srock

“Rules don’t apply in the first draft; they only apply when you begin to play with it in the second draft.” Victor Paul Scerri

“My best advice to you is: Just Write. No matter if you are not inspired, maybe you are writing how you can’t think of something to write or wrote something that sucks. But just having words written down gets you going and soon you’ll find yourself inspired. You just have to write.” Mony Martinez

“As Joseph Campbell said, “find your bliss.” Tap into a vein of no matter it is that “fills your glass” and take a experience on a stream of pleased, joyful verbiage.” Jarrett Wilson

“Show don’t tell is the most cited rule in the history of fiction writing, but if you only show, you won’t get past ch. 1. Learn to master the other forms of narration as well.” Rebecka Jäger

“We’ve all been trained jump when the phone rings, or worse, to continually check in with social media. Good work requires focus, but I’ve had to adopt some hacks to achieve it. 1) Get up an hour before the rest of the household and start writing. Don’t check email, Facebook, Instagram, anything – just start working. 2) Use a timer app, to help keep you honest. I set it for 30 minutes, then it gives me a 5-minute break (when things are really humming, I ignore the breaks altogether). During that time, I don’t allow anything to interrupt me if I can help it. 3) Finally, set a 3-tiered word count goal: Good, Great, Amazing. Good is the number of words you need to generate in order to feel like you’ve accomplished something (1000 words, for example). Great would be a higher number, (say, 2000 words). 3000 words could be Amazing. What I love about this strategy is that it’s forgiving and inspiring at the same time.” Dave Strand

“My advice comes in two parts. First, I think it’s important to breathe life into characters, to give them emotions and personalities and quirks. Make them flawed so that they have plenty of room to grow. Make them feel real to the reader, so when they overcome the obstacles you throw in their way, or they don’t overcome them, the reader feels all the more connected and invested in their journey. Second, I think there’s just something so magical about a scene that transports me, as a reader, to the characters’ world; that allows me to see, feel, smell, and touch what the characters are experiencing. So, the second part of my advice is to describe the character’s experience of their surroundings keeping all of their senses in mind. Don’t stop simply with what they see.” Jennifer Baker

“Start with an outline (it can always be changed), set writing goals and stick to them, write every day, know that your first draft is going to suck and embrace that knowledge, and seek honest feedback. Oh, and celebrate milestones, especially when you type ‘The End’. Take a break from your novel (but don’t stop writing something — short stories, blog posts, articles, etc.) and then dive head-first into draft 2!” Jen Horgan O’Rourke

“I write in fits and spurts of inspiration and insights. Much of my ‘writing’ occurs when I am trying to fall asleep at night or weeding in the garden. I carry my stories and essays in my head, and when I sit down to start writing, I don’t like to ‘turn off the tap.’ My most important principle is that when I write a draft, I put it out of my mind for a few days before coming back to see what it sounds like when I read it aloud.” Gayle Woodson

“My stories almost always start from a single image… someone in a situation, a setting, with or without other people… there is a problem to be solved, a decision to make, some action being taken. Often that first image becomes the central point of the story but sometimes it is simply the kick-off point for something else. Once I’ve ‘seen’ my image clearly I sit down at the computer and start writing. More images appear as I write and the story evolves. Once the rough sketch has developed through a few chapters I may go back and fill in holes and round things out. Sometimes I even sketch a rough map of my setting or the ‘world’ I’m building. With first drafts I never worry about the grammatical and other writing ‘rules.’ Those things get ironed out in the second round.” Karin Weiss

“What it took to get my first novel drafted: the outline of a story idea, sitting in chair, DEADLINES, helpful feedback from the beginning so I could learn along the way.” Joan Cory

“I write a chapter in longhand and then later that day or the next morning type it and revise. The ideas seem to flow from mind to finger to pen to paper.” Al Rutgers

“Getting up early and write for a couple of hours from 6 am is my preferred choice as my mind is uncluttered with daily issues. Stick to the basic plan and learning to ‘show’ and ‘not tell’ has been hard but very beneficial.” Abe Tse

That’s It! The Foolproof Guide on How to Write a Novel

Writing a novel isn’t straightforward. However IS attainable with the write course of (sorry, I had to do it one last time). And for those who comply with each step above, you will end a novel.

Your novel is probably not good, however it is going to be good.

Good luck and completely happy writing!

Ceaselessly Asked Questions

How lengthy should a novel be?

First, novel manuscripts are measured in words, not pages. An ordinary size for a novel is 85,000 words. Science fiction and fantasy are typically longer, within the 100,000 phrase vary. And thriller and YA are typically shorter, within the 65,000 phrase vary.

Over 120,000 words is a bit long, particularly for conventional publishing. And underneath 60,000 phrases is a bit brief.

However these are tips, not rules. They exist for a purpose, but that doesn’t mean you must comply with them if in case you have a good cause. For a extra complete guide to greatest phrase rely for novels, take a look at my information here.

How long does it take to put in writing a novel?

Each draft can take about the identical period of time as the first draft, or about 100 days, and I like to recommend writing at the very least three drafts. With a few breaks in between drafts, meaning, you’ll be able to have a finished, revealed novel in a little lower than a yr using this process.

Many people have completed novels quicker. My pal bestselling writer Carlos Cooper finishes four novels a yr, and another bestselling writer good friend, Stacy Claflin, is engaged on her 62nd ebook (trace: she’s not close to being 62 years previous). So you’ll be able to write quicker.

For those who take longer breaks between drafts or write more drafts, it’d take longer. But I don’t advocate taking much longer than 100 days to finish a draft. After that, you’ll be able to lose your momentum and it turns into a lot more durable to finish.

Don’t overlook your premise worksheet! Click on to download a free worksheet that may guide you thru writing a publishable premise: Download the worksheet here.


Writing your novel concept in the form of a single-sentence premise is step one to ending your novel. So let’s do this at the moment!

Download our premise worksheet. Comply with it to construct your single sentence premise.

Then publish your premise in the comments under. And in the event you publish, please remember to depart suggestions on premises by at the very least three other writers.

Comfortable writing!

Joe Bunting

Joe Bunting
Joe Bunting is an writer and the founding father of The Write Apply. He is the writer of the #1 Amazon Bestseller Let’s Write a Brief Story! You’ll be able to comply with him on Instagram (@jhbunting).