Listen to the Podcast
Listen to the PodcastIf you’re thinking about writing a novel, or maybe you have started the venture and are struggling a bit, there are some basics that you need to know about in order to achieve success. Writing a novel is not just sitting at a word processor with a good story in your head and tapping it out on the keys. A lot goes in to the writing of a novel. Like any worthy project, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Remember that entire books have been written about this subject. I don ‘t proclaim to have all of the answers, but I hope this series will answer some of your questions, and maybe whet your appetite for more information.
- Genre – You should make the decision early on about which genre is best suited to your idea. Genre is just a fancy writing word for category. Most authors are loathe to put their idea into a slot, but as a first time novelist, if you can’t succinctly define a single genre then you may never get out of the slush pile. So, work on whittling down your horror/fantasy/romantic self help book to just a single arena. It’s not a bad thing, really. It forces you to keep the project tight and focused.
- Protagonist – The hero or heroine of the story. Your main character. He or she should be richly defined. Make them human, make them flawed. Give them a bad habit or two. Your reader needs to relate to them so don’t make them a saint. Make them someone the reader wants to root for, someone whom the reader will miss when they turn the final page.
- Plot – Plot is story. More accurately, it is the events and action that is the framework through which the story is told. It’s that simple. Lots and lots have been written about plot, the best advice is to worry about it not. If you have a good story, and every word moves that story forward, then you are plotting along and life is good.
- Length – Here are some industry norms to help you determine what your project is, based on word count:
- Up to 1000 words: flash fiction, short story
- 1000 to 6000 words: Short Story
- 6000 to 15000 words: long story or novelette
- 15000 to 45000 words: novella
- 45000 to 120,000 words: novel
In the next part of this series, I’ll tackle the all important point of view along with foreshadowing techniques and dialogue.