How to Write a Novel or Short Story in Ten Easy Steps
As a reader, it might be hard to think that Jane Austen or Sally Rooney started out with nothing but a blank piece of paper (or screen).
The Hunback of Notre Dame was written by Victor Hugo using just a pen and a piece of paper.
You might also say that JK Rowling had no clue that the words she typed onto her laptop in a little café in Scotland would go on to become a worldwide children’s franchise.
To create a book, there is no right or wrong approach, and to write a novel, there is no right or wrong person. Everything you need is time, passion, and conviction to make your concept into a completely realized work of writing.
After his first novel, Richard Osman was experiencing first-time writer’s block. It is meant to be this tough, she said him as she turned to face him. Nothing excellent has ever been achieved without a little hard effort, and writing a book is no exception.
The following are ten steps to writing a book or short fiction that you should follow. Using them is a terrific method to organize your thoughts and get your creative juices flowing! However, as previously said, there is no right or wrong approach to writing a novel.
Beginner’s Guide to Writing a Book
1. Identify a regular time and location.
We all have a lot on our plates! You must set aside a certain amount of time each day to devote to the project.
Discover when you’re most productive by experimenting at first. When do you get the most creative? Is it after a cup of coffee in the morning? Or about an hour before you’re about to nod off? Make a note of the time and stick to it every single day.
Determine where you are most productive. What kind of coffeehouse is it? Is this the room where you sleep? It’s hidden away in your favorite reading spot, right? You should write at the spot where you are most focused at all times.
Your book becomes an integral part of your everyday routine if you include writing time into your daily calendar.
2. Continue reading other novels.
Even if your goal is to write, reading is crucial! Inspiration, ideas, words, and drive come from other writers.
When learning a language, it’s impossible to learn without hearing it said by someone else. Don’t remove your teaching resources throughout the writing process. You may learn a lot from what you enjoy and what you don’t like.
3. Generate ideas.
When you were in school, do you recall creating mind maps? The highlighter pens may once again be found on the desk.
The greatest method to begin writing is to write out all of your thoughts at once. It’s time to put anything you’ve been thinking about out into the world.
Approaching this step this way is what I would recommend:
A – Make a massive ‘idea dump’
- A time restriction of around an hour should be set up.
- In the midst of a large mind map, write the word “Story Idea.”
- Make a list of everything you’d want to include in the tale, no matter how dumb or insignificant it seems.
- There are five alternative endings, so don’t worry if your ideas don’t mesh.
- It’s best to write everything down on paper.
B – Make six additional mind maps with the titles of:
- In terms of the subject matter (for exploring the themes of your novel)
- Preparation: (for exploring the world of your story)
- Story (for exploring your story development)
- Symbolism Theme (for exploring the internal and external details of your characters)
- In-depth study of your fictional characters’ backstories and arcs
- Friendships (for exploring your character relationships)
These six mind maps can help you organize your ‘thought dump’ and make it more concrete. You should spend at least an hour on each mind map to make sure you’re going into adequate depth with each one of them.
4. The fourth step is to flesh out your story.
Storytelling is divided into five sections: setting up the conflict, moving toward and finally resolving it.
No matter how complicated a book is, it can typically be reduced to the essential parts listed above. Writers must use language, character, and suspense to thread these parts together to create a cohesive novel.
An excellent overview of the many components may be found in this post from Self-Publishing School.
With this phase, you may see whether the present structure of your story can support a full-length book by breaking it down into more precise portions. As a result of this clarity, you will be able to break down your thoughts into manageable chunks.
Play around with various ideas for each of the five areas.
5. Condense your thoughts into a single statement.
There’s a lot more to this process than meets the eye. Now that you’ve gathered all of your thoughts into a single statement, it’s time to summarize them.
Your novel’s essence should be encapsulated in around 25 words. It should be simple to return to if you go off track while you’re writing.
Rachelle Gardner’s blog has some excellent advice on how to go about this.
6. A summary should be written as the sixth step in writing a novel.
A synopsis may now be generated from your one-sentence summary. Finalize your thoughts on storyline, pacing, and organization in this section.
To get the most out of your synopsis, you should think of it as the skeleton of your work, which you will soon fill up.
7 Divide your manuscript into chapters.
It’s a good idea to break down your five-act framework and synopsis into smaller, more manageable portions. If your tale is short or long, there are a variety of ways to break it up.
To complete the five divisions, figure out what each chapter needs to include. It’s okay if your divisions alter while you write, but it’s helpful to have a general idea before you begin.
8. It’s time to get into the flow of things in Step
Let the writing begin! Just a lot of writing, no editing, no structure.
Characters’ thoughts and emotions are put out in a stream of consciousness style so that the reader may follow along with the narrator or character’s thoughts and feelings. (www.masterclass.com)
Forget about the blank page syndrome and any doubts you may have about beginning your book using the stream of consciousness approach.
In order to use this method, here are the steps:
• Select a person from your story (usually starting with the protagonist).
• Choose a topic or event from the chapter to focus on.
• Set a two-minute timer.
• Write about how the character feels about this incident or issue from their point of view.
• Don’t stop writing and don’t edit. Write the previous line over and again until you come up with a fresh idea.
This should be done for every character and every event or topic in your chapter.
With the aid of this method, you may get to know your characters better and learn how they behave, talk, and think. Use it to get a lot of words down on paper so that you can later include them into your chapters.
We’ve finally arrived. Time to get started!
In the portion you’re most excited about (you don’t have to start from the beginning, although it can be simpler if you work in a linear fashion), begin with a chapter.
Don’t make any changes to the text until you’ve finished the chapter. Do your best work in a “mindless” manner. When writing, it’s easy to get caught up in the want to polish and modify each line as you go.
10 – Editing
You may update a section or a chapter after you’ve completed it. Once you’ve finished the manuscript, don’t spend too much time on editing. You can’t edit a book if you haven’t written a first draft, remember?
It’s a terrific idea to keep going through this process while you work on your manuscript. After you’ve completed your book, check out the blogs below for further resources or guidance!
All the best! You’re welcome to contact me if you’re writing a book or short story and would want to discuss your process or ask questions. Please contact me at any time.
Thanks to Reedsy, we have an excellent source of book publishers currently excepting submissions from authors! Fair Winds
How to Write a Novel or Short Story in Ten Easy Steps As a reader, it might be