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Thoughts About How to Write a Novel
I can’t remember how many times people have told me they would write a novel if they had time. Serious authors, published or unpublished, find time. It is important to establish a routine. I recommend an achievable schedule, fifteen minutes or more a day, a fixed period at the weekends, or writing a set number of words every day.
If you have an idea, don’t dream about writing. Begin with the first sentence and continue to the end. Then revise and edit the drafts until the final one, in the correct format, is ready to submit to an agent or publisher. If your novel is rejected, don’t be discouraged, either polish your novel or begin a new one.
I wrote eight novels before one was accepted. By then, I knew more about how to write. I revised five of my earlier novels. Each year, I submitted one to the Romantic Novelists Association for a reader’s report. Subsequently, each novel was accepted for publication.
Whatever you write requires self-discipline and determination. Suppose you aim to write a novel which is 75,000 words. If you write 1,000 words a day you will finish the first draft in 75 days. If you write 500 words a day you will finish it in 150 days.
No matter how good our ideas are, we need to master the art of writing. Showing the reader what happens instead of telling is important.
For example, the following tells the reader what happened, but it is not interesting.
‘Zoe was crying because she fell over and scraped her knees.’
The revised sentence shows what happened.
‘Zoe raced down the hill after her ball. She ran faster, slipped, and scraped her knees on the pavement. Blood poured down her legs. She burst into tears.”
Our first drafts require revision in which we show instead of telling. Also, we must check the spelling and grammar, and, to avoid repetition, Use the following words, which tell instead of showing, with caution. As, as if, has, has been, had, had been, very, was, said, was and were.
Check to make sure words or phrases are not frequently repeated. For example, when editing a final draft, I realised my characters cleared their throats too often before they spoke, that I frequently described the expressions in their eyes, and the hero and heroine smiled repeatedly.
Research is important. We shouldn’t take anything for granted. If we get a fact wrong a reader might lose faith in us. If we write fantasy or science fiction, the world we create must be believable.
Books on How to Write, Writing Magazines, Courses and Workshops for Writers, a Writer’s Circle, which meets regularly and offers constructive criticism, and an online critique group can helpful.
It isn’t enough for us to have a good idea for an article, non-fiction book, a poem, a short story, novella, or a novel, we must write to the best of our ability.
To read my classical historical romances with twists in the tale, set in Edward II’s reign, Queen Anne Stuart’s reign, and the Regency era, please visit my website to read the first three chapters
Rosemary’s novels are available from Amazon and Books We Love Publishers: