write a novel

Write a Novel Easily with These 9 Tips

Salmaan Ahmad

Salmaan Ahmad

June 12, 2024

You’ve decided to write a novel. That’s an exciting challenge, and you probably can’t wait to sit down, get scribbling, and start the story that’s living in your imagination. Before you start, look over these novel-writing tips that have worked for many successful, published authors. These writing tips will work for a short story, novelette, or novel, and they’re applicable to every genre.

1. Set Yourself Up for Success to Write a Novel

Where are you going to write? Will you use a word processor, typewriter, or pen and paper? You don’t need a lot of equipment to write a novel, but you do need a dedicated space. Select a desk or table where you’ll do most of your writing, and make sure it’s comfortable and has good lighting. You may choose to write at a library, coffee shop, or other public space. Choose the place that most inspires you.

Establish a daily writing routine that gets you mentally ready to write. It may be a brief session of meditation, a freshly brewed cup of coffee, a pretty view from the window or all three. Follow your routine every time you write. You’ll develop a habit of writing that will carry you through those days when you don’t want to write a novel.

2. Develop a Pitch to Write a Novel

If you’ve heard the term “elevator pitch,” you know that it means a scenario where you have only the ride in an elevator (about 10 seconds) to make a case for your idea or project. For writers, it means a one-sentence summary of your book. Before you start to write a novel, you should have a pitch you can use whenever someone asks, “What is your book about?”

Forcing yourself to answer the question forces you to think about the themes, major plot points, and genre of your book. What is its core conflict? What are your characters struggling with? How will you resolve those issues?

If you can condense your story into a pitch of one or two sentences, you’ll have a goal you can reach for to write a novel. Knowing your endpoint gives you a goal to reach, and keeps you from wandering aimlessly when you sit down to write. You can also use it in your marketing materials and as a book blurb.

3. Start with a Synopsis to Write a Novel

You have strong ideas for your plot, characters, and setting. What you need to do now is condense all these random thoughts into a simple, streamlined summary that covers all the major plot points. Writing a synopsis is important for these reasons:

  • It keeps you on track and organized.
  • You don’t have to interrupt your daily writing to figure out what to write next.
  • A plan will keep you focused and help you cut out extraneous stuff.
  • It allows you to see any weak plot points, unresolved conflicts, or unnecessary departures from the plot line.
  • If you want to publish your book commercially, you must have a synopsis for editors to read.

Tips for Writing a Synopsis

A synopsis is a condensed version of your book that includes the main plot while leaving out dialogue, settings, and lengthy descriptions. It’s a stripped-down edition that gives a reader the full story.

A synopsis typically runs 5 to 10 printed pages. Be sure your synopsis includes:

  • Brief description of each main character and secondary character.
  • Climax and resolution.
  • Chapter divisions showing where each one starts and ends.
  • Opening scene, each plot turn, and final scene.

4. Make Sure Your Story Works to Write a Novel

Like your elevator pitch, your synopsis gives you a clear goal. It allows you to see your book as a whole and make sure it works as a complete story.

Ask yourself: Does this story hold together? Does it engage the reader’s interest from beginning to end? You may have had a long word count in mind when you started your book. Doing a synopsis may make it clear that your story can be told in fewer, more concise words.

Take this opportunity to look at novel’s strengths and weaknesses. If it needs tweaking, this is the time to get to work making those final changes. If it’s fine as it is, go ahead and start writing.

5. Set Writing Goals to Write a Novel

People often wonder how long it takes to write a novel. While the answer depends on many factors, you can figure out a rough timeline by calculating how many words a day you think you can write.

Most first-time writers can manage 1,000 words a day with focus and commitment. That is equivalent to about 2 printed, single-spaced pages or 4 double-spaced pages.

How Long Will It Take to Write a Novel?

If your book is 40,000 words long—which is about the average length for most genres—and you can write 1,000 words a day, you could have your first draft in under two months. Some genres, like romance novels, come in at a smaller word count of 30,000, which means you could finish it in about a month. A novelette of 10,000 to 15,000 words could be done in under a month.

That assumes 1,000 every single day, and realistically, you won’t hit that every day that you sit down to write. You may also want to take days off here and there, and sometimes, life gets in the way.

6. Make Your Goals Realistic

For some writers, 500 words a day is a more attainable goal. That’s just over a page of printed, single-spaced text. Even at this slower rate, you can write a novel in two to three months.

In short, most authors can realistically finish a book in three to six months. That’s why choosing a daily writing goal is the first thing you must do when you write a novel. The time will fly by, and you’ll have a finished draft before you know it.

7. Keep It Moving

When you start writing, block out that inner voice that tells you, “This is garbage, you need to write this passage over.” Spending too much time on these early paragraphs wastes time and will make writing a long, difficult, and dreary task. Too many writers spend hours on their book’s opening paragraphs, only to wind up too exhausted and discouraged to keep going.

Don’t let that happen. When you write, just write. Your synopsis has given you a guide to follow. Stick with it, and get everything down on paper before you start working over the text. Remember, as you write, those passages you’re sweating over may end up being moved to another section—or cut entirely—as your book develops.

8. Give Yourself a Speed Challenge

While it’s important to stick to your daily writing goal as much as possible, it’s fun to mix it up with an occasional speed challenge. There are two ways to do this. Either one will give your writing a push and move you closer to completion.

The first is to set a high word goal and a brief time to complete it. For instance, what about 10,000 words—can you write that much in a week? What about three days? Choose a goal that pushes you past your limits.

The second is to set an extra high word goal for one day. Pick a day when you have some spare time, and see if you can crank out 3,000 or 5,000 words on that day. These occasional sprints can be fun, and even if you miss your goal, you’ll get a lot of writing done.

9. Know That You Can Write a Novel

This may be the most important tip of all. Drafting a novel should be a joyous event. It’s a way to celebrate your creativity and tell your unique story. Don’t let doubts about your writing creep in and keep you from fulfilling your dream. Have faith in your story and yourself. Write every day.

Talk to Us When You’re Ready to Publish

If your book is ready to be published, congratulations. At Publishing Xpress, we specialize in working with first-time, self-published authors. We’ll be happy to walk you through the process of printing your first book.

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