Sometimes writing a book can be overwhelming. There are so many elements to a story that you have to think about, it can almost be too much to think about at once. If you were of the mindset some might think that naps are the way forward but honestly that will get you further and further into the hole that is a writers grave. Let me show you five steps you getting to to the end of your first draft.
1. Carve out some writing time
Making a routine is key to achieving your writing dreams. Even if you fall off the wagon, take an afternoon, or evening depending on free time, and re-evaluate your time, is there something you can do to get 15 extra more minutes. Just because it takes you two years to write a novel compared to someone's three months DOES NOT mean you shouldn't be proud. Remember; slow and steady wins the race. Ten hours or ten minutes, it all counts towards your goal.
2. Get the idea
There are hundreds of places to get ideas from, thats why a writer should always carry a notebook. I, myself, have had random bursts of ideas at work, at the pub, so I jot these little gems away for future use. Sure, they might not be relevant to the story you're creating now, but that doesn't mean you can't combine them to create their own story.
Another place to find ideas is pinterest, there are so many writing prompts to develop and mould into your own story, you'll probably be overwhelmed with ideas. Not sure how to catch them all? Sign up to the Novelista Collective and download the plot bunny catcher now!
The NaNoWriMo adoption society is also a good place to find inspiration. Writers who have come up with ideas that they don't know how to write leave them as suggestions free for the taking.
Or take my course Kickstart Your Novel and I'll show you how to generate and expand your ideas into a fully fledged story. Want a free option? Grab the generating novel ideas workbook!
3. Plotters Plan, Pansters Write Rough
Whether you're a plotter or a panster you still need some place to go. It doesn't matter which kind of writer you are, just that you own it. So here's a few ways that each form of writer can do that;
5 Point Outline: If you just want your basics down before you go full steam ahead this method is for you. Simply write down your hook/inciting incident, first plot point, mid-point, third plot point, and your climax then you're ready to go.
Index Cards: Need something a little more? Grab a set of index cards, write out the above sections then start thinking of scenes. that go with them or in-between. Faye, over at Writerology, has a pretty good post about this flexible outline!
Pre-Writing: This is where you go totally in depth, you have characters mapped out, settings have come alive and you know everything there is to know about your story. Nothing will change dramatically as you write your novel. Kristen, from She's Novel, actually had an entire workbook dedicated to pre-writing, and before you ask no this is not an affiliate, just a link to the information page!
Chapter by Chapter: If you've taken James Patterson's Masterclass, you'll know that he does his outlines in this way. He writes down exactly whats going to happen in as much detail as he can before he starts writing. This method is insane and if you've ever seen one of this outlines before you'll see why. I've tried this myself and I get about 4 chapters in and I'm like, where are they going next? It's hard but sometimes it can be a great way to get started with your novel.
4. Perfect The Opening Lines
Opening lines have so much weight on whether a reader will continue to read the story. Crafting the perfect inciting incident is tough on it's own but when you throw in the face the first line just has to be that good too. It's almost enough to send anyone off the deep end! Thankfully we are here to help. I say we because first I want you to stay here and read this little snippet, and then I'm going to send you over to my friend Kaitlin's blog where she breaks down starting your story.
So while your first line isn't going to be THE INCITING INCIDENT, I mean it can be but most, if not all, stories I've read have the inciting incident in the first chapter, not right at the beginning. You want to pull the reader in to make them want to find out what it is, for example here's two from my favourite novels of all time;
Ho Chi Minh City in the summer. Sweltering by anyone’s standards. Needless to say, Artemis Fowl would not have been willing to put up with such discomfort if something extremely important had not been at stake. Important to the plan.
Tell me you don'y want to read more of that? Artemis Fowl will always be my favourite childhood read, closely followed as there is no gap, by Harry Potter.
Then we have this from my current favourite series, Throne of Glass;
After a year of slavery in the Salt Mines of Endovier, Celaena Sardothien was accustomed to being escorted everywhere in shackles and at sword-point. Most of the thousands of slaves in Endovier received similar treatment—though an extra half-dozen guards always walked Celaena to and from the mines. That was expected by Adarlan’s most notorious assassin. What she did not usually expect, however, was a hooded man in black at her side—as there was now.
These provide mystery, and a need for the reader to want more. You can craft the perfect opening too, even if it takes you SEVEN attempts like it did for one of my WIP's. To learn more go to Kaitlin's blog and see more opening lines!
Writing is probably THE most important thing to a writer, that's how the book gets finished of course. Make sure you carve out your writing time effectively for when you're most creative, even if that's just for five minutes of the day.
The write your heart out until the story has been told. You can do this and you will feel so amazing once you can say - I wrote this book.
Do you have any extra steps to add to this list? Write them in the comments below!