Novel Writing: How to Start Your Book
The idea of starting a novel can be both exhilarating and terrifying. It’s a huge undertaking: you need a story, you need the proper motivation, and if you’re writing in the fantasy world, you need to know how to build that world.
Sometimes the very idea of sitting down and writing out a novel can so frightening that some people never even start. However, you don’t want to be one of those people. If you have a story you want to tell, only you can tell it. So how do you get started?
Brainstorming Your Novel
The first step to writing any book is to brainstorm what your story is going to be about. What genre are you writing for? Do you have an idea for a romance novel? Are you planning on writing a fantasy book? Is the book going to be horror, post-apocalyptic, young-adult, coming of age, or several other plot genres?
Who is your main protagonist? It’s important to know who your main character is going to be. Will they be female or male? Young or old? Are there several main characters or one specific character that the story follows? Take Harry Potter for example: Harry is the main protagonist, but there are important supporting characters like Ron and Hermione.
You want to figure out what world your story takes places in next. Is it modern day? Are you planning to set it in the future? In an alternative world? Take the time to figure out what kind of world your novel belongs to.
Setting Up an Outline
Another important part of writing a novel is to make sure that you create an outline. You want to have a beginning, a middle, and an end. There needs to be conflict in any story, and you need to figure out what that conflict is, how it affects your characters, when it will take place, and how it will be resolved.
Your outline can be as detailed or as non-descript as you’d like. If you want to plot out every scene, that’s perfectly acceptable. In fact, it can help you when you’re writing and you get stuck on a section. You can jump ahead to another section and come back to your problem child later.
On the flip side, you can leave your outline vague, and fill in as you go. If you don’t know exactly how your novel is going to happen word-for-word, this might be a good idea for you. Let your intuition take over as you write and let characters evolve and act according to their evolution. You might be surprised at the twists and turns your novel takes that you were never planning!
Write, Write, Write
The absolute most important thing you can do when starting your novel is to write. The words won’t come if you’re not typing them. Don’t worry about making mistakes: this is your first draft, and you can always edit later. You want to get the keys clicking and the words filling up your page. If you have decided to follow an outline, check in once in a while to make sure your story is staying on track.
Just remember that this is your story. Nobody can tell it just like you, and would you really want them to?