Is there one correct way to write a novel? I say no…….there isn’t. Are there elements of a novel that must be used? Yes…….there is. How do these two entities go together? It’s simple. You take the required elements and use them in a way that suits you and your writing style. Everybody is different, so the way in which we go about writing our book will be different. If you don’t know how you yourself would write a novel, then learn the different methods that have worked for other writers, try them out and go with what suits you. It’s a learning process and might take you a while to figure out what works for you. But it might not take you long at all.
A very important aspect to know is whether or not you are a “pantser” (you make the story up as you go along with no planning) or an out-liner/planner. Now, I’ve come to discover that you can be a little of both. I’m a little of both. I didn’t know this of course until I tried each style and found it difficult to use just one. The one I use at the time I’m writing depends on the part of the story I’m writing. When I get stuck, then I go to planning and thinking, which gets the wheels turning again. Then I’m back to pantsing.
Another important part to note is setting. People like pictures. When we were little, we started out reading picture books and many of our children’s books have pictures. Gradually as we get older, the pictures in the books become less and less. Eventually, all we have are words and it’s up to us to create the pictures in our minds as we’re reading. BUT the author plays a huge role in this part because they are the ones who are creating the pictures for us to see. They’re just not doing it with pictures, instead they’re doing it with words. HOW they do this is up to them. It’s their style of creating that contributes to creating the settings depicted in their novels. You will figure this out as well. I can’t tell you how, but I can give you ideas about how I go about do it. But that’s for another blog post.
Lastly, I wanted to touch on the creation of characters. I know how I do it, but I only figured out how to do this by reading how others did it, and used what worked for me. I combined that with a few of my own ideas. So much goes into the creating of a character. We are complex individuals and so are your characters. They have to be complex if they’re going to be believable. In my mind: who a character is on the inside + who a character is on the outside (actions and what they say) = a believable and complex character. See my earlier blog post from May 12 entitled Character Building for more information on this topic.
In the end, it’s YOUR story. Make it yours. Write it YOUR way, but by all means learn from others. Through it all, you will find your style and what works for you.
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