|How NOT to Write a Novel
First, you will need to have an idea what you want to write about. A true tale morphed into fiction? A vampire romance? That edgy thriller that takes place in Africa? or maybe something Science Fiction? For me coming up with ideas is always easiest when I start with a character or a setting and let them take control. But you could also use brainstorming for this step.
Write down every idea you’ve ever thought of writing about on a post it note and hang them all on one wall. Give yourself some room around each of them to add in extra ideas related to it. You can be neat and orderly about this step and put them in rows and columns or you can be more free form and arrange them like giant thought bubbles covering the walls of your room.
The more ideas you come up with, the easier it will be to
Second, you either need to outline it so that you know everything that will happen from beginning to end or you need to face facts that you are indeed a “pantser”. There’s nothing wrong with being a pantser no matter how many derogatory things you’ve heard before. As a matter of fact it will help you in your journey to
Third, now that you have that great idea and have decided on an approach, you need to set up a Facebook and Twitter account for the novel so that you can keep your eager fans notified of the progress you are making on it. This step is very important in
Fourth, create a daily schedule to follow. Spend almost as much time on this step as you did on the initial idea phase so that you are certain you can get this novel done. Make sure you use fifteen minute time slots or less so that you can schedule in potty breaks and pencil sharpening and that next text to Twitter. You wouldn’t want to miss out on the opportunity to promote your
Fifth, set up your writing space. You will want a dedicated area for this to happen. If possible, build on another room to your house so that you will have complete control over any interruptions to your daily writing schedule that you spent so much time creating. This can be as simple as a discarded refrigerator box with a large floor pillow. (I would resist the urge to cut out a window flap. The cat will just find it and play with it all day long.) Or, if you are planning to be a full time novelist like Stephen King or Agatha Christie you could build an entire writing studio at the back of your property. The choices are endless so spend as much time as you can getting it right.
The most important part about it is that you have all of your essentials arranged just so on or near your desk. Go on a special shopping trip (or two or three) to make sure the pencil holder (that you don’t use because you actually type everything into your computer) matches the decor of your room perfectly. You will need a coffee mug or two as well. These should have quotes from your favorite authors on them and should give you inspiration for the novel you’re
Sixth, speaking of coffee, you will need to have as much as possible of this nectar of the gods at your disposal twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. You will
Seventh, now that you have an idea, a method of working, a schedule, a place to work, and all the essential coffee you will need, sit down and open your word processor on your computer. Type the title and chapter at the top of the page. Then you will need to check your schedule. It will probably be time to check in with facebook by now and give an update. So take care of that. And while you’re on social media, you might as well check your notifications and reply to anyone who’s replied to you or made comments. I’m certain by now your cat or dog or two year old has done something cute as well, so you might as well post that too. Your fans will think that you are human by posting those kind of details and so relate to your writing even more.
Eighth, refill your coffee mug and while you’re up you might as well take a pee break even thought it isn’t scheduled for another half hour. Your bladder can’t read a schedule after all.
Ninth, fix yourself something to munch on while writing. This might be a bowl of nuts or chips or maybe a hot pocket. Better still, a warm gooey cinnamon roll sounds perfect with your hot mug of coffee. So a trip to the store is in order. While you’re there you can get the grocery shopping done for the week. It’s not scheduled until tomorrow but you’ll be ahead if you go ahead and do it now.
Continue this pattern for the next ten or twelve years and you will