Starting To Write A Book

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It’s through these meandering jottings that ideas will take shape. Ask yourself ‘what if’ questions When you feel you’ve come up with a character who intrigues you, or a striking opening scenario or the vague shape of a story, interrogate your ideas with ‘what if’ questions.

For instance: There’s a woman sitting alone in a restaurant looking sad – what if a man comes up to her and asks if he can join her at her table?

You might like to put together character fact files, create character ‘mood boards’ full of images which relate to them; throw your main characters into difficult difficult situations to see how they’ll react; write some dialogue so you can feel their voices shaping up … Characters in a novel need to be so much more than chess pieces to be moved about the board according to your strategy. Alternate between plotting and writing While you’re in the early pages of your novel, I’d advise you do a combination of working out the plot of your story writing.

Figuring out your plot will help to give focus and purpose to your writing – but conversely, feeling your way into the writing itself will help you to understand your story in a different and more visceral way.

Explore your ideas Write down everything you know about what you want your novel to be.

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Jot down little half-formed thoughts and ideas and see where they take you.

But my tip is to regularise those writing hours as far as you can – stick to the schedule and make sure that others around you understand that it’s important for you to be able to do this. Don’t expect your words to come out perfectly straight away Lots of people start off enthusiastically writing a first draft, but then when they read over their material, they find it’s not as good as they want it to be, and they just delete it all. If your internal editor gets too dominant, you’ll spend your whole time deleting the material you’ve just written and you’ll never get beyond the first page or two.

It’s better to just keep going and not look back too much for a good while.

If the very idea that you’re writing a novel is choking you up so the words won’t come out, try to limber up with some free writing.

By this, I mean just set yourself five minutes, or ten, to write down everything that comes into your head – do it without stopping at all.


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