The Realities Of Writing A Novel

If you’re like me, you can probably recall a time that you made up a person in your head that you couldn’t stop thinking about. Then, you created an entire life for them and just felt an urge to write it all down on paper. 

 

That’s what it’s like to write a story. 

 

For those who love to write, you may have considered writing a short story or even a novel. It is a very big venture to take on. You are literally creating a world for a person you completely made up (unless it’s nonfiction). In fact, it might be a bigger venture than you think. There is a lot that goes into to writing novel that you’ll be proud of. Once you put in the necessary work, it will be a finished project worth waiting for. Here are a few things to consider before you start your big project.

  1. 1. You’re going to have to plan out your characters before you can start your story -- and that could take months

    You’re not going to have your storyline and characters figured out overnight. In fact, you really shouldn’t start your story before you have planned out your characters. Think of it like this: if you don’t completely know your character well, then how will you how they’ll react to the situations in your novel? Sometimes, I’ll just be laying in bed and a new character trait for my character will just pop up in my head. In a novel I’m working on now, I’ve been spending months writing down the names of each character I’ve thought of so far and described them. It helps me to understand better what’s going on in my head.

  2. 2. You’re not going to get each chapter right on the first try

    Take your time. Rome wasn’t built in a day (sorry for the cliche). When you finish a chapter, put it away for a few days. When you come back to it, there are elements of the chapter that you’re going to want to rewrite. You’re going to want to do this a few times, actually. As you keep writing the story, you’ll perhaps take it in a different direction and want to make changes to earlier chapters. Don’t hesitate to make changes if you really want to. You’re absolutely not going to have the same, consistent ideas because your story is going to evolve as you go on.

  3. 3. Don’t force symbols, motifs, or even the title of the story

    If you have a symbol or two in mind before your start your novel, great! However, don’t go into it thinking you have to plan things like that out. The best symbols come about naturally. I promise, you’ll be writing one day and a symbol will just come to you. To add to that, many times the title of the story has a symbolic meaning. It absolutely doesn’t have to, but either way the title of the story shouldn’t be forced. You’re better off thinking of a title once you’re finished with the story.

  4. 4. You’re gonna have to become best friends with your characters

    I mean it. You’re gonna have to get to know your characters, especially your main character, really well. One of my best friends who is also working on a novel went as far as to practice her characters’ signatures. It’s not ridiculous; it’s what you have to do. If you don’t get to know your character, then your readers won’t fully understand your character either. One fun I like to do is as I’m carrying on with my day, I look at my surroundings and picture what my main character would do if she were in my shoes. How would she interact with my friends? What snacks would she buy at the convenience store I work at? How would she order her food at Chick-fil-a in the HUB? Once you’ve got small things like that down to a tea, you’re officially besties with your character.

  5. 5. Writer's block is too real

    Writer’s block has got to be one of the most frustrating things, but it is absolutely real. You’ll reach a point in a chapter, and your brain will cancel itself. You won’t know where to take the story next, and you may get so frustrated that you want to give up. This may come from working too much on your novel, so I would suggest putting it away for a few days. Maybe if you lay in bed and listen to some music you will find inspiration that way.

  6. 6. It might take a few years to finish it

    Again, Rome wasn’t built in a day (again, sorry for the cliche). Since you’ll most likely go back and rewrite most of your chapters, your story is not going to be finished in just a few months. There is a lot of planning that goes into it. Even if that sounds like forever, think about how long it takes to get to know a person. It’s a lot easier to write a story about a person you’ve known for a few years rather than someone you’ve only known for a few months. You’ll also immerse yourself in the story much better if you take a longer time to work on it.

But, even after all of this, there's nothing more fulfilling than writing that last page...I think. I don't know, mine isn't done yet.