In our fiction authors’ class, we discussed when you should start writing your novel. How much preparation do you need? Prepping a novel can take forever. You need character bios, an outline, and research too.
If you spend too much time on preparation however, there’s a good chance that you’ll give up on your novel. You lose your inspiration, and tell yourself that you’ll develop a “better” idea.
Several of the authors admitted that they’ve done this. One author said that she’d spent two years researching a novel, and had given up on it. She couldn’t face writing the book.
Short-cut your preparation for writing your novel
Let’s look at how you can eliminate procrastination, and build your motivation, by starting your novel quickly. More and better ideas will come to you while you’re writing.
Here are some strategies you can try.
1. Start writing immediately: no prep necessary
If you wish, you can start writing your novel immediately, without any preparation at all. Just start writing.
Bestselling authors Stephen King and Dean Koontz both use this “just start” strategy. Yes, your first few chapters will go slowly, because you’re developing your characters, and your story question, but you’ll be writing.
2. “This novel is about…”
With this strategy, you write yourself a letter about your novel. Start with the phrase: “this novel is about…”
The benefit of this strategy is that it gives you the impetus you need to write your blurb.
Essentially, your blurb becomes a mini outline. The benefit of this strategy is that you can look at the bones of your story. It’s easy to see if you’re missing an essential element, such as an antagonist, for example.
3. Start with a genre trope
Every fiction genre has its tropes. That is, devices, or themes.
To see how this works, visit the Mystery, Thriller & Suspense genre on Amazon, and select the Mystery sub-genre. You’ll see that Amazon obligingly lists sub-genres of Mystery. They include: Cozy, Historical, Women Sleuths…
Scroll down the sidebar, and you’ll see Moods: Action-Packed, Fun, Romantic, and more. Further down in the sidebar, you’ll see Characters and Settings for the Mystery genre too.
In the Mystery genre, forensic investigation has become a trope.
The romance genre has dozens of tropes. Amazon lists them for you: Amnesia, Beaches, International, and so on.
When you start writing your novel with a trope, you save time. Not only do you use a device which is popular in your genre, you’ll find yourself with more ideas than you can handle.
4. Start with an image: day dream about it — “what if?”
This is my favorite method of writing your novel, FAST.
I start with an image — any image which captures my imagination. I look at the image, musing about the person, or people in the image. If the image is a setting: a gorgeous beach on a tropical island, or a high mountain pass in the Swiss Alps, I imagine someone walking, or running in the image.
Try this strategy yourself.
You can find images anywhere: in art galleries, in magazines, or even on Pinterest.
Have fun with writing your novel.
Starting your novel super-fast ensures that you’ll maintain your inspiration.
You want to write a novel. Perhaps you can't get started. Or maybe you got started, and then you stopped.You need a plan, broken down into easy steps. This program began as a 30-day challenge which I organized for readers in 2010. Hundreds of writers joined the challenge and completed it. They wrote novels.More info →
I developed the tactics and strategies in this book to help myself. My students have found them essential to producing both fiction and nonfiction almost effortlessly.More info →
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