Showing posts from January, 2011

How To Write A Novel - Part 2

You have the great idea, you’ve planned the chapter order, you’ve created four-dimensional characters and created the likely ups and downs that will happen in your story. You’ve created a setting. You’ve done the planning and the preparation. You’ve researched background information... Now you need to translate all that to the page. Writing the First Chapter This is quite daunting; in so much as this is the beginning of a journey, not just for your characters, but also for you. It’s the start of a story that will have a beginning, middle and an end. It’s about taking that leap off the edge and jumping into the unknown. It’s not always an easy prospect. Where do I start? How do I start? Should I start with description or action or dialogue?  The simple answer is to not think about it too much, don’t overanalyse things. Just get writing. Remember, this is your first draft of many, so the aesthetics of writing are not important at this stage, because the editing process will do

How To Write A Novel - Part 1

Planning and Preparation “ When once the itch of literature comes over a man, nothing can cure it but the scratching of a pen. But if you have not a pen, I suppose you must scratch any way you can ” - Samuel Lover, Handy Andy , 1842 Sitting down and writing a novel is no easy task. It’s extremely time consuming, it’s daunting, difficult and at times frustrating, but it is always very rewarding because by the end of the process, you have a tangible, finished product that not only entertain and thrills, but you will also have become a better writer for it. But writing a novel isn’t just about sitting down in front of a blank screen and producing words. There is so much more to consider what is, essentially, a mammoth undertaking. If you are starting your first novel, there are lots of things to consider first before you even commit your words to paper or screen – some planning and groundwork is required before you start to lay the foundations of your story, because without it you

Tools for Short Story and Novel Writing

The tools for writing short stories and novels are the instruments that make planning and writing your stories that much easier to manage and organise. They include everything from the old-fashioned pen and paper and notepad to a vast array of novel writing software available online to download. Well-organised writers fair better with their writing than those who are somewhat disorganised, simply because their approach is controlled and ordered and they have all their resources to hand. Every writer will have the basic tools of writing: Computer, word processor or an old-fashioned typewriter, the obligatory pen and paper, dictionary, a generous amount of creativity and a wild imagination. There are, however, other tools that a writer can utilise to help keep organised; especially as writing a novel has a tendency to generate lots of paper, and most of them are already at your disposal. Novel Writing – Planning Tools The basic thing for any writer planning a novel is the develop


I’m often asked by new writers how subplots should evolve. Some writers find subplots difficult to get to grips while others are put off trying to attempt them, but subplots are really simple tools for giving your novel an extra dimension and are quite easy to construct. To understand how to do that, a writer needs to first understand the function of a subplot. The subplot is a secondary, or tertiary, plot to the main thrust of the novel. If you imagine the main storyline as a tree trunk, you can have several branches of connected stories – the subplots. All these connect to the main story, the tree trunk. These connecting stories help to give texture and dimension to a novel; they give the reader something more than a one-dimensional, primary story. Your subplots must always connect and relate to the main story. They are there to lend support and substance to your main plot. They are also there to maintain the reader’s interest. Another thing to consider with subplots is that t

Unblocking Writer's Block

We’ve all suffered from it. You sit there, willing something to happen but...nothing, not even a flicker of brain activity. It arrives with no warning and leaves you stilted. Writer’s block is a bit like lightening: you don’t know when it will strike, or where. It’s a condition which arises when a writer loses the ability to produce work and the causes are numerous, whether that’s psychological, creative or real. Defining writer’s block is difficult because it encompasses so many things. It’s an affliction which writers dread, and the effects are real, but writer’s block is a bit of a misnomer. It’s not an actual block – nothing is stopping the writer from writing. It’s a perceived state of mind. To understand writer’s block you first have to understand that you have the problem, not the blank screen or piece of paper. It’s easy for writers to blame their inability to write on everything and anything, when in fact the underlying cause is usually a creative matter and lies with th