Writing my very first novel. Any suggestions?

Joined
Aug 29, 2018
Messages
5
#1
Being a writer has always been a dream of mine. At the age of 10, I started writing poems and stories which involve love and comedy. I even submitted love articles to an international dating blog when I was in junior high already. Just recently, I was inspired by how James Patterson wrote his novels. This inspired me to write novels. And I’m planning to write my very first one. My genre would be about romance-comedy. Any suggestions about it? I badly need your responses here. Thanks!
 

The Judge

Truth. Order. Moderation.
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#2
Hello and Welcome to the Chrons!

We love to see new writers joining, so you'll be made very welcome. We actually have flash fiction Writing Challenges on a regular basis, with a new one starting on September 1st, so I hope you'll join us in one of them.

Anyway, the first and only rule of learning how to write a novel is... write...

There are lots of other things you can be doing. Reading a lot is a start, particularly in the genre you're planning to write for. Read for pleasure but also analyse what you're reading eg how does the novelist achieve a certain effect, or give such atmosphere, or create such believable characters. Some genres -- particularly romance, I think -- have certain expectations and structures which it's a good idea to find out about early on.

If you're the kind of person -- and not everyone is -- who learns from text books, there are many around which go into things like Point of View and Character Arcs, which are important things to learn, but some of us pick them up by reading. It's important to have a good grasp of spelling and word use and grammar -- you seem to be OK on that front from your post, but it's still good to read around and learn a bit more.

Above all, just write and write and write some more. At some point you'll find your "voice" which is what will make your writing yours and no one else's. And when the novel is done, pat yourself on the back, and then set about re-writing it! It will take several drafts and a lot of time, but if you persevere you'll get there in the end!

Good luck with it!
 

The Big Peat

Darth Buddha
Joined
Apr 9, 2016
Messages
1,744
#3
Welcome to the site and to the challenge of writing your first (and hopefully not last) novel.

I think, maybe unhelpfully, that the best suggestion I can give you is not to get too bogged down in suggestions on how to do it. Do you have the story idea? Do you know how to write? Then you're good to go.

That's not to say you've got all the tools you need right now, or that you don't need help.

But its very easy to get bogged down learning all the tools and trying to do everything right. As such, you're probably better off simply writing until you hit a problem.

And when you hit a problem, come ask us and search around for advice, fix that problem, then write some more.

If there is something more specific around starting a novel you want to know about, just let us know :)
 

goldhawk

aurea plectro
Joined
Nov 18, 2008
Messages
694
#4
I agree with The Big Peat. Learning to write is learning what works for you and what doesn't. If you follow some advice and it doesn't work out, don't be discourage. Just tell yourself you're not that type of writer and move on. Try something else; never give up.
 

tinkerdan

candycane shrimp
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#5
Start writing: keep writing: read, especially in the genre you want to write in.

Also read other author's ideas on writing.
Here's a few from my bookshelf.
Stephen King has a great book on writing.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000FC0SIM/?tag=id2100-20
Orson Scott Card has some great advice (despite his political incorrectitude[<made up word]).
https://www.amazon.com/dp/1599632128/?tag=id2100-20
James Scott Bell has some good stuff.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006N4DAZE/?tag=id2100-20
Donald Maass is one of my favorites
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MU7GJ8V/?tag=id2100-20
I love the examples Donald Maass gives because they come directly from authors that you have heard of and many you may even have read and enjoyed.

These authors have more than one book on writing and there are tonnes more. Almost too many books on advice.

I'm not a fan of methods; such as the snowflake--but if they work for you....
 

Joshua Jones

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2017
Messages
841
Location
Maryland, USA
#6
I will join with everyone else and say write. I would also second the notion of joining the writing challenges. In my experience, working on condensing a story to 75 words is some of the best editing practice available, and being able to finish a new story every month is great for developing rapid world building and characterization.

One thing you may also find helpful is writing out scenes from movies and TV shows you like as practice. This is great practice for dialogue, action scenes, and the like, but it also helps in seeing the differences between the media, which is becoming more and more important. Further, it can be a great opportunity to work on areas of weakness. Say, for example, you struggle with dialogue. Writing out a scene where two people are talking allows you to already have the words, so you can practice techniques for conveying emotion in dialogue. Then, when you have that down, you can work on creating their words.

Lastly, don't be afraid of shorter side projects, as long as they don't take you entirely away from your work in progress (often referred to around here as a WiP). Sometimes, just practicing with a scene which would never be in your book helps flesh out what you are doing and give you ideas for something else. I did a romance scene at a waterfall within one of my nations in my WiP, and it helped me explore the class relations, opulence of this particular faction, and so forth without putting something directly into my WiP. And, if you are in the ballpark of as perfectionistic as I am, this itself is a major boon.

All this to say, all writing is good writing, so practice, write, experiment with new things, identify where you most struggle and practice these things, and enter the challenges. That is what I would recommend as someone who is also aspiring.
 

sknox

Member and remember
Joined
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Messages
658
Location
Idaho
#7
I also suggest finding forums that are concerned with writing romance. You are in a science fiction and fantasy forum, a genre not usually associated with rom-com. All are welcome here, of course, but when it comes to particular advice in constructing plots and scenes, the romance community is famously deep in knowledge and generous with help.
 
Joined
Aug 29, 2018
Messages
5
#9
Hello and Welcome to the Chrons!

We love to see new writers joining, so you'll be made very welcome. We actually have flash fiction Writing Challenges on a regular basis, with a new one starting on September 1st, so I hope you'll join us in one of them.

Anyway, the first and only rule of learning how to write a novel is... write...

There are lots of other things you can be doing. Reading a lot is a start, particularly in the genre you're planning to write for. Read for pleasure but also analyse what you're reading eg how does the novelist achieve a certain effect, or give such atmosphere, or create such believable characters. Some genres -- particularly romance, I think -- have certain expectations and structures which it's a good idea to find out about early on.

If you're the kind of person -- and not everyone is -- who learns from text books, there are many around which go into things like Point of View and Character Arcs, which are important things to learn, but some of us pick them up by reading. It's important to have a good grasp of spelling and word use and grammar -- you seem to be OK on that front from your post, but it's still good to read around and learn a bit more.

Above all, just write and write and write some more. At some point you'll find your "voice" which is what will make your writing yours and no one else's. And when the novel is done, pat yourself on the back, and then set about re-writing it! It will take several drafts and a lot of time, but if you persevere you'll get there in the end!

Good luck with it!

Hi, thank you for your advises. Gonna keep these in mind!
 
Joined
Aug 29, 2018
Messages
5
#10
I also suggest finding forums that are concerned with writing romance. You are in a science fiction and fantasy forum, a genre not usually associated with rom-com. All are welcome here, of course, but when it comes to particular advice in constructing plots and scenes, the romance community is famously deep in knowledge and generous with help.
Yeah, that would be great too. Thank you!
 
Joined
Aug 29, 2018
Messages
5
#11
Welcome to the site and to the challenge of writing your first (and hopefully not last) novel.

I think, maybe unhelpfully, that the best suggestion I can give you is not to get too bogged down in suggestions on how to do it. Do you have the story idea? Do you know how to write? Then you're good to go.

That's not to say you've got all the tools you need right now, or that you don't need help.

But its very easy to get bogged down learning all the tools and trying to do everything right. As such, you're probably better off simply writing until you hit a problem.

And when you hit a problem, come ask us and search around for advice, fix that problem, then write some more.

If there is something more specific around starting a novel you want to know about, just let us know :)
Thank you for the comment. Yeah, I have something in mind but I'm not really sure about this. I'll still give it a try, though. Gonna keep in touch. Thanks!
 
Joined
Aug 29, 2018
Messages
5
#12
I will join with everyone else and say write. I would also second the notion of joining the writing challenges. In my experience, working on condensing a story to 75 words is some of the best editing practice available, and being able to finish a new story every month is great for developing rapid world building and characterization.

One thing you may also find helpful is writing out scenes from movies and TV shows you like as practice. This is great practice for dialogue, action scenes, and the like, but it also helps in seeing the differences between the media, which is becoming more and more important. Further, it can be a great opportunity to work on areas of weakness. Say, for example, you struggle with dialogue. Writing out a scene where two people are talking allows you to already have the words, so you can practice techniques for conveying emotion in dialogue. Then, when you have that down, you can work on creating their words.

Lastly, don't be afraid of shorter side projects, as long as they don't take you entirely away from your work in progress (often referred to around here as a WiP). Sometimes, just practicing with a scene which would never be in your book helps flesh out what you are doing and give you ideas for something else. I did a romance scene at a waterfall within one of my nations in my WiP, and it helped me explore the class relations, opulence of this particular faction, and so forth without putting something directly into my WiP. And, if you are in the ballpark of as perfectionistic as I am, this itself is a major boon.

All this to say, all writing is good writing, so practice, write, experiment with new things, identify where you most struggle and practice these things, and enter the challenges. That is what I would recommend as someone who is also aspiring.
Thanks for spending time to help me. I'll try it out!
 

K.S. Crooks

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 26, 2014
Messages
101
#13
Try to discover what helps ideas flow for you. It could be a person, place or activity that sparks new characters or plots for you to write. Keep the writing process enjoyable. It's like finger painting vs painting-by-numbers. Keep it messy, fun and don't be scared to let others see your work. Hope everything goes great for you.
 

Robert Zwilling

Well-Known Member
Supporter
Joined
Jun 12, 2018
Messages
143
#14
One easy thing you can do is to read out loud what you have written. Sometimes it is easier to hear a better way to add to your writing than silently reading the material over and over again. One drawback is that what sounds good to you because of the rhythm might actually be just too much repetition. You can also record what you are writing and play it back.
 
Joined
Nov 6, 2015
Messages
335
Location
The Frozen North
#15
One drawback is that what sounds good to you because of the rhythm might actually be just too much repetition.
I haven't done it in a while, but a couple of years ago I'd do this:

1. Create an ebook.
2. Side-load into Kindle.
3. Play back with flat robotic kindle speech synthesis voice.

That made editing easier as a lot of problems I'd miss in a read-through were obvious when Kindle robot was speaking the words instead.
 

sknox

Member and remember
Joined
Mar 25, 2013
Messages
658
Location
Idaho
#16
It can be done even more simply than what Edward has said. You can have the computer read back directly from the manuscript. Both the Windows and the Mac OS can do this natively.
 

zmunkz

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 15, 2015
Messages
370
Location
USA
#17
Welcome! Judge is right, the only trick is to keep writing :)

It is like playing an instrument, the more you do, the more characters you create, the more plots you develop, the better your storytelling will be.

If you are looking for a great way to procrastinate source for learning the craft of storytelling, I always recommend Brandon Sanderson's YouTube lectures.
 

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