Chapter One: Write the Novel, Yes, or No?

Writing a novel is very different from writing a nonfiction book.

Novels are all about EMOTION.

That being the case, how do you decide whether writing a particular novel is worth the trouble?

Here’s what I’ve been doing, and it works. By “works” I mean I’m writing material which is fun to write, and which my beta readers love. Whether the books will sell, is another thing again. 🙂

Warning: this process may not work for you. If you’ve never written a novel before, please complete at least one novel before you try this process. Often new writers start book after book, without completing a single one. I don’t want you to get this particular bad habit.

So, if you’ve written a novel before, and want to discover whether you should write THIS book, the one you’re breaking your brain over, just write chapter one.

Here’s a little inspiration, First Chapters—What to Include | Mystery Writing is Murder:

“The character names have got to be the same in both the teaser and the actual finished book.  This means I need to have more of a handle on these characters than I frequently do when I’m writing a first draft (since I usually make it up as I go along and  change character names when I get to know the characters better.)”

Elizabeth S. Craig makes a good point when she says, “I need to have more of a handle on these characters than I frequently do when I’m writing a first draft”.

To use this “chapter one” yes, or no, process, plan your novel as usual. Get the characters, the story question, your settings, and your plot outline done. Of course, write your blurb. (We covered all that in our 30 Day Novel-Writing Challenge.)

Once all that’s done, and you’re ready to write your first draft, don’t.

Write Chapter One. Do a first draft of the chapter, then write it again. You’ll need to review and update your outline, and some of your character sheets too.

After you’ve completed Chapter One, give it to a beta reader, someone who reads in the genre in which you’re writing.

By the time you get feedback, your own instincts will kick in. What EMOTIONS are you arousing, in yourself, and your readers?

If the emotion is there, you’ll write a book which will get readers.

You’ll answer your Yes, or No, question.

If the answer is YES, write with confidence.

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Angela Booth is a top copywriter, multi-published author, and writing teacher. She offers many guides, courses and classes to help writers to enhance their skills on her websites. She also provides inspiration and motivation for writers on her writing blogs. Angela has been writing successfully since the late 1970s, and was online in the 1980s, long before the birth of the Web. Her business books have been widely published.