Today I have my first ever guest post! To celebrate the end of NaNoWriMo last month the lovely author Louise Dean offers her top ten tips for novel writing. Hopefully this will inspire you to continue writing next year!
- Slow and steady wins the race. Don’t over-indulge in binge writing. You’ll upset your system. A solid hour a day will see you right. Keep faith with your novel. Don’t miss a day.
- Make sure you write every day, same time, same place. You need to read every day too. If you do those two things, then your day job will leaven your bread and bring a healthy reality check to you and your writing, and your writing will flourish thanks to the tidbits you bring home from your labours and time in goodly society.
- Keep your notebook with you all day every day for 90 days to catch novel thoughts and insights gleaned from daily life.
- Don’t fret the plot, think character and problem; think ‘what does he or she want?’ Don’t worry about word count. The daily habit of writing is what matters.
- Write into a notebook, type up for a very first early doors edit
- Creating material freely is what this first draft is all about and heading back to the notebook of your childhood, the secret diary, the handwriting of your first scribblings is very freeing.
- Don’t be tempted to go back over the work and tweak it. You need to get the story down before you know what to include and what to leave out.
- You have two pedals. One is writing, the other is reading. When one runs out of juice, use the other to take the pressure off and hey presto you’ll be moving again!
- Journal your writing process. All the evidence shows this works a treat. Keep an eye on yourself during the write. You will find this very valuable throughout your write to see that yes, you suffered and worried and yes you found a solution and got through it. Many great writers found this a necessity. Try it.
- If I were to leave you with one ‘prose tip’, it would be this:
Write a terribly good sentence that no one has written before, that is true for you and you alone, beautiful, sad and funny, perhaps controversial or contentious, and also understated. Write the next sentence.
Delete the second sentence. I can be almost completely certain that in the second you went too far, exaggerated, and spoilt the effect of the first. I see it all the time, in my work and in my writers’. It’s the most common error. Catch it sooner rather than later and your work will improve rapidly as you learn to train the wayward growth of your prose by tying it to a strong trellis.
And here’s one just for luck – Your novel is a jealous God. Put it first for 90 days. That’s just 0.3% of your life. Only children or emergencies come before.
Louise Dean is an award-winning author published by Penguin and Simon & Schuster and nominated for The Dublin International Literary Award, The Guardian First Book Prize, and the Man Booker Prize. She is the founder of Kritikme.com, an online creative writing course which teaches people how to write a novel in ninety days. You can get a 10% discount on this course by using the code MYNOVEL10 at the check-out.
Go check her out now, and Happy Writing!!
Until next time,