How Do I Write A Novel Anyway?

15 Dec

WARNING: Alex is pulling out her soap box!


So as I’ve been browsing the internet for writing sites for the last while I’ve noticed one recurring theme.  Everyone always asks the most bogus question that I’ve ever heard any writer ask. How do I write my novel/book? My friends this is no paradox, no mystical mantra that has been lost in the sands of time. You Write a Novel by WRITING IT!

 You sit your but down in that chair and stare at the freaking cursor for an hour and then you type, you pour your blood, sweat ,tears, and life into those pages and you do that all by making yourself sit in that chair and write the thing.

                You can walk around for weeks with a story in your head building up what you think  is a “way to start” when in reality the only way to start is to START.

                I don’t really understand why people ask this. I mean I’ve asked it before, sure, but I never really meant it. I was always just procrastinating, and using this question as an excuse not to sit down and write the thing that I was meant to.  I honestly think that’s what every single one of us is doing when we sit down and say this to ourselves.  Whether we want to admit it or not.

                But if you quite honestly want to know how to “write a novel” here are my commandments on writing:

1.       Sit down and write the thing! NOW! Not later. Now.

                I just yelled at you about this…. Sorry about that by the way.

2.       Don’t bore the reader with things you don’t need

This means we do not want to hear about what Bob had for lunch, or read a long inner monologue about Jenny’s new hair, and how ugly it was, and believe this or not friends we also don’t want to read a three page long description of the dress Lisa wore to the party. Crisp concise detail is key.


3.       Show not Tell

  Okay before you push me off the soap box and hit me over the head with your keyboards.  Please just let me say that I KNOW you have heard this about a bazillion times in your lives, and you probably will her it a trillion more but this is so important.  By telling the reader things you instantly displace them from the story, but when you show them things they are thrown into the  live action.  Not to say that inner monologue and simple telling sentences don’t have their place, they do. But it’s better to be on the safe side of showing then on the boring side of telling.

4.       Everything Means Something in a story

You can’t just make things happen to “make something happen” everything that occurs must move the plot forward or reveal something about some one or something in the book.  That means that sadly we can not have a scene with carnivorous purple unicorns in it because we like carnivorous purple unicorns.  This also means you can’t just kill people off because you hate them or because you’re tired of them… (Okay guilty here, I have killed of my protagonist in a separate word document in several of my novels it’s a great stress reliever and quite fun… sorry this is getting awkward… but seriously try it some time when you are about to give up on a project. Then come back to your senses and return to the novel) In a nut shell don’t kill or create without giving due thought to what you are doing.

Sorry for this lovely little rant but i saw this question on yahoo answers AGAIN today and i had to say something, anyone listening? LOL . I am also sorry for yet again standing on you soap box *looks down at feet*.  All of this is just my opinion and it’s probably not worth much, but this is just what I have learned from writing and critiquing manuscripts. What do you think about this question?


2 Responses to “How Do I Write A Novel Anyway?”

  1. alberg137 December 15, 2010 at 2:56 am #

    Indeed. A friend of mine quoted a statisitic once that 90% of people want to write a novel. To which I replied, 90% of people want to get rich too. What they don’t want to do is work 90 hours a week for years on end to get there. And there is no lottery you can win to end up with a finished novel.

    • nkeda14 January 2, 2011 at 5:11 pm #

      Yeah thank you for putting all of that rant into a coherent manner! *Laughs* and that is totally true.

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