Along with submissions (and sadly, copyright trolls), we receive many questions on how best to write a novel—more in November because it’s the famed National Writing Month. There is no one best answer. However, we surveyed the room and compiled responses. Here are five tips that may help you in your mythical question to slay the dragon that hides on the blank page:
1. Develop your own writing style. This is a cliche, Might as well be yourself because everyone else is taken. Still, this is solid advice. Don’t try to become Stephen King. Or Murakami. Or J. Scott. Be you. This process might take months or years. And one should always be learning.
2. Write about what you know and are passionate about. Statistics show the average novel comes in close to 90,000 words. Even 50,000 words is a beast of a work to manage. Writing a tome is challenging, and a block, or stone wall, will come hard and fast. If you’re not writing what you love, well, giving up will happen.
3. Create believable and relatable characters. More importantly, they need to change. How will they evolve throughout the novel? Refuse to cut corners.
4. Plan your novel before you start writing. Outline! And yes, the direction can always change. Do you have the same job you imagined doing at age five?
5. Revise your work before publishing. And then, do it again. Most importantly, start the process. Put pen together. One word. And then another.