Taking one idea and turning it into a full novel can be an overwhelming process. When you think about it, all novels start with just one idea that popped into the author’s head. If they can do it, you can do it too. These steps will help you to slowly turn your idea into the novel you wish it to be.
Make sure your idea is original and fresh
Millions of books are published each year so, most likely, you will not be the first one to write about your topic. However, make sure it hasn’t been overdone and be sure to offer a fresh take to your readers. Also, you need to be sure you are passionate about the idea you have and are willing to squeeze every last detail and possibility out of it.
Figure out what you want your novel’s summary to be like
This does not mean what you want on the back cover of your book. What do you want people to say when they are asked what your story is about? How will you want your readers to remember your book? Deciding this will help you guide your novel as you write.
Create your world
Some novels require a very detailed and unrealistic world that the author needs to not only create from scratch, but also write in such a way that it appears real to readers. Even if you do not have to create an intricate setting because your story is set in our present day society, you will still need to create your characters’ version of the world in which they live. How does your main character see it? How do they want the readers to see it?
Research your details
Research your setting, time period, character personality types, lifestyles, and everything else. It is incredibly important to know your facts when writing a story. Nothing will turn readers away more than a novel that is clearly not well-researched.
What needs to happen by the end of the story? Each and every character within your novel has to have some sort of goal — even if that goal is to help or hurt another character. Readers need something to fight for and your characters’ goal will be that fight that keeps them reading.
What will go wrong?
Figure out what your conflicts will be, from major trials to minor setbacks. How will they happen? Who will they happen to? When will they happen? What or who will cause the setbacks and what will be the consequences of these conflicts?
Plan out your timeline of events. Decide exactly what will happen and when. Write down when each character will be introduced, when conflicts will happen and even when readers will find out certain information. This will help you figure out how to break everything up, when to start a new chapter, and where to build suspense.
Set up your novel. Your outline should be a blueprint of your novel. Lay out your chapters and list what will happen throughout those chapters, who will be involved, where exactly it will take place and when. The more detailed your outline is, the easier the writing process will be.
Editor’s Note: This post was written by Writestream contributor Kristyn Fetterman.
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