How To Write a Novel: Episode 2

Have you started yet? 2016 is not waiting for anyone so if you’ve been hanging back, thinking that novel is going to write itself – don’t!

A person gave me some very plain and solid advice this week. They said:

‘If you need something to change, something’s got to change.’

I know it seems simple but this statement came at me at just the right time and it was like an epiphany. Of course! If we want our lives to change, we have to change something. Wishing and willing are not going to cut it. So if you’ve been putting off getting that novel started, now’s the time to make that change in your life and get going.

Once you’ve got some ideas down and have begun the exciting process of developing your story (see previous post here), you might want to choose how you tell your story. A lot of writers reach straight for a first person narrative (e.g. I threw the book, I wrote the book) in the first instance. This skin might feel more comfortable but there are certain traps that can suck your story down before it’s started. Namely, too much introspection and not enough action. One of the safe options is to choose a third person narrative (He said, She said) and let your story trickle through the mouth of your narrator, who will manage all that the reader hears, sees and importantly, believes. If you’re nuts, write your novel in 2nd person (You walk, you talk). It can be done and very beautifully, so if you feel up to the task don’t hold back. One of the most enjoyable books I read last year, was written in 2nd person: The Gift of Looking Closely by A L Brookes. So anything is possible.

My feeling is, that if you’re starting out, indulge yourself and reach for what feels natural to you. This is often the best way to explore your unique writing voice. This ‘journey’ is a long, learning process and creativity shouldn’t be hemmed in by rules. Besides, you’ll pick up enough rules along the way without imposing them on your writing from the get-go. Revel in the newness of your novel and let that energy onto the page.

Have you already written a novel? If you are further down your writing path you might like these posts: 

Straight Talking Tips on Writing Dialogue

Show, don’t tell. Is this the worst advice given to writers?

What is Writer’s Voice? And How can a Writer Develop Theirs?

On Twitter: @LivKiernan

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