From one beginner to another, I know how hard writing is. It can be extremely difficult to grasp a story idea and fully develop it into a published novel, but with great patience and love, it will happen.. eventually.
But the only way for you to become a great writer is simple: gosh darn it, just WRITE.
Ah, not so simple.
Well, to accomplish this, let’s start at ground zero; the very beginning of the writing process. Come up with a story. Whether it was a fleeting thought in your clever brain, or a prompt that you found while scrolling on the internet, all writers need some sort of inspiration.
Once you find that inspiration, let it grow until it becomes your own original masterpiece.
But be wary, once you stick to that idea, don’t expect to let it go easily. There has been many times where I spent hours on a possible story plot but then decided to throw it out. Usually this is the result of plot holes, blurry details and fuzzy background. Let me show you how to prevent that.
How to develop your story (once you’ve decided it’s the one)
Once you’ve formed your idea, you can’t just stop there. Who’s your main character? What’s the problem? How does the hero solve the problem? Not only do you need a plot to write your novel, but you need all the little details as well. It’s no fun to lose a perfectly good story from plot holes and blank details.
There are a few ways to sort out your thoughts, and if you are a good writer you probably will do all of them.
- Create a Story Board. Story boards are great if you know how to use them. They help you work out your main events and where to put them. By simply using post-it notes you can arrange the events you want in such a way that it balances the whole novel. This is also a fantastic way to sort out any major plot holes. Look up a few tutorials to learn how to make a cheap story board at home.
- Make a timeline. Timelines are kind of a no-brainer, but if you do them right they can save you days of novel-planning. Write down every event chronologically on a piece of paper. Once you have completed it, look it over and self-analyze it. Does it make sense? Is it enough to complete a novel? If you like it, do it again, and change things up a bit. There’s nothing more assuring then that sudden burst of adrenaline when you have sudden realization and clarity .
- Make a map. This one is my favorite. Make a map of your world or setting. draw every detail as if you were a professional cartographer delicately mapping new territory. And don’t just draw what you will share in your novel, draw the entire cake- not just the slice. When you do this you will start to realize things that you left out or forgot to include. For example- the book that I am currently writing is placed in a kingdom that I created. I figured out the kingdom’s resources and defenses. I discovered how water reached the land and how the kingdom was protected from outsiders. I even figured out the distances between cities. These small details turned my flat kingdom into a well rounded setting that will spill into my writing as I go.
Once you feel confident in your novel, move forward and write.
How to press forward without giving up
Once you have formed the background and plot for your novel, then just sit down and start writing. Don’t stop. EVER. Just write.
But there will come a time when you will feel discouraged. You will despise your story and everything about it. Luckily, you will have less of an excuse to throw your novel away. Since you already know all the details and have mended all the holes in your story before you even started you can just continue writing. Yes, you may hate it, but just write. Believe me, just as a weather inversion eventually disappears after time and rain, you will rise above writer’s block and become the next J.K. Rowling.
Speaking of great writers, go read some of your favorite books instead of brooding over your story. The best way to get better at writing is learning through others and their work. Sometimes they will even motivate you to continue in your own novel.
Wannabe writers out there, don’t give up. Take my advice: ponder your story, develop your story, and write it. Don’t edit, don’t reread, just write it and feel that burning sense of approval in your heart.
Never stop dreaming!