Tips and Advice for Preparing and...

Tips and Advice for Preparing and Actually Writing Your Novel

by Susan Huebert
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

Reading a story can be fun. However, writing a novel has certain challenges. During the pandemic, you might have decided to write a book of fiction. Preparing for and writing a novel can be difficult. However, following tips from established writers can help people find the best way to do the planning and work of writing a novel.

A novel is a long story about a particular time or theme. Some of the novels you have read might be about historical events like the American Revolution or the life of Queen Elizabeth. These types of books normally have some characters who were real people, but also other characters who are fictional. Other novels might be science fiction, about spaceships and other technology that people imagine for the future, or they might be fantasy books about talking animals, fairies, or other imaginary characters. Some novels are more like real life, with characters and situations much like the ones that you could encounter any day.

The first step in writing a novel is to read what other people have written. Each author has a different style and a different message, and each one can teach writers something. Some writers use long descriptions to create an atmosphere, but others prefer to concentrate on the action. Each style might appeal to different readers and suit the skills of the writer better than other techniques.

Your purpose in writing is important. You might want to make a point about climate change. In that case, a futuristic novel with a ruined environment might be the best choice. For a book about bullying and relationships with classmates in school, a modern setting with realistic human characters would likely be best. A funny novel about something humorous in society could have any setting that highlights the point you are trying to make. The main message of your novel will help determine the rest of your choices.

Once you know the main point of your story, you can move on to other decisions. You will need to choose characters and decide on the world where they live. You might decide to write about teenagers living in Vancouver in the twenty-first century or German children immigrating to Halifax in the 1800s. These setting and character choices will affect everything else in the novel.

Many novels are written using “he” and “she,” which is called the “third person.” Others are written from the narrator’s viewpoint, using “I” and “we,” called “first person.” They may be written as if everything happened in the past, using the past tense, or as if they are happening right now, using the present tense. Deciding on the point of view will help you choose what to do with other aspects of your novel.

Unlike short stories which contain only a few actions, novels can be very long and involve many different happenings. Novels can be fifty-thousand words or more, depending on the age of readers they are intended to reach. Writing an outline of your novel can help you keep your writing clear and logical. Once you have written the outline, you can write the first page to set the mood and tone of your novel.

Novels normally lead towards a crisis or special event. One exception is the kind of novel that deals with character development or analysis of a society. Usually, however, you will need to have a series of events that lead to your main point. With a good beginning, middle, and end, your novel is likely to interest many readers.

Writing a novel is a big project. However, thinking through the steps before you start can help.  Then you can have a book that you can be proud to show your family and friends.



Leonard, Elmore, et al. “Ten Rules for Writing Fiction: Part One.” The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2010/feb/20/ten-rules-for-writing-fiction-part-one.

MasterClass. “Writing Tips for Fiction Writers.” https://www.masterclass.com/articles/writing-tips-for-fiction-writers.

Reading Eggs. “A Step‑by‑Step Guide to Helping Your Child Write a Story.” https://readingeggs.ca/articles/2015/06/19/story-writing-for-kids/.

Self-Publishing School. “How to Write a Novel in 11 Must-Do Steps.” https://self-publishingschool.com/how-to-write-a-novel/.

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