So let’s put it this way, if you want to write a novel and you absolutely mean to do it, then you will need to forget anything and everything you thought you knew about writing. This isn’t a term paper, it’s not an essay about your summer vacation, and it’s certainly not a short story that you’ve been assigned in English class that will account for a certain percentage of your grade. It’s an expression of you, of what you believe in, who you are, and what you mean to write. This is a trip down the fabled rabbit hole of your own mind that will reveal things that you might not even know exist to this point. Writing is a novel is an act of exploration that you take in order to see the world through your own eyes so that you might create the story as you see fit. So, ready to hop on down?
If you want to succeed then be ready to write, re-write, edit, and then re-write some more.
You won’t get things right on the first draft, few if any people ever do and it’s an inevitability that you need to prepare for. To all you would be, aspiring writers out there that think you’ll be the ones that will write the perfect book, think again. There’s no malice in stating the obvious, that you won’t succeed the first time out. One in a million people ever become an overnight success without putting in the kind of work that will cause your fingers to cramp, your mind to ache, and your eyes to burn from the stress of staying up all day and night to write the most gripping novel of your life. The solution? Get some rest, look at your work with fresh eyes in the morning, and realize that seeking perfection is the best way to miss it.
Don’t tell the story, let it tell itself.
That doesn’t make any sense right? How in the world does the story tell itself when it needs a writer to do the telling? It’s a little difficult to explain, but the story that comes from your mind is one that’s been waiting to be told for quite some time now. It’s been building, stewing, just anticipating when someone like you would come along to finally reveal it to the world. Now all you have to do is let the story unfold and allow it to make clear just why it’s important to others. It might be that some people will think it means next to nothing, while others will see it as the most epic tale they’ve ever heard. Don’t worry about the particulars, let the story out and let it run. Caging a thing of beauty isn’t how a story is made.
Write because you have something to say, not something to sell.
If you’re going into writing because you want to make truckloads of money then keep it as a hobby. This is the wrong industry to think that you’re going to get rich in, especially since the well-established authors that have been in the game for decades are still having to find a way to keep their edge so that newbies like you and so many others don’t unseat them. And guess what? They’ve learned the tricks and know how to simply tell the story without any intent to sell, which puts them a giant step ahead of anyone that is doing this just to make money. If you find a niche that you can push and can make a profit with then good for you, but welcome to the race my friend, because if you want those paychecks to keep rolling in you won’t ever be able to stop. Tell the story and worry about the money later, because without the ability to tell your tale that money will be a fading dream before you know it.
Don’t force the tale.
Your novel won’t write itself obviously, but forcing yourself to write, pushing the tale as it were to become something, anything, is not a wise move. NO BAD WRITING. There is such a thing, and it comes when you can’t wait patiently for the story to reveal itself and decide to force it along a track that it was never meant to go down. Not very often will you luck out and get the story you want, and far too often you’ll get something that resembles what happens when you try to pull a dry sock over a wet foot, a jumbled mess that you have to undo and try all over again. One word at a time, one sentence at a time, and one page at a time is how you need to do this. Don’t be afraid to read over what you’ve written to see if it makes sense. Checking your work as you go is tedious, but it’s worth it when the effort pays off at the end.
In order to write a novel you need to take that leap down the metaphysical rabbit hole and see where the tunnel finally leads you in order to gain any sort of clarification that will help you to push forward with your project. Allowing the tale to lead you will take you to places that you never knew existed and gain a perspective that will leave you wondering just how you missed this for so long. What you find on the other side is up to you.