From soap opera to romance novels to thriller novels and historical novels, this genre covers an infinite range of writings. The novel is a literary genre, essentially characterized by a fictional narrative. Imagination plays a key role and refers to the extraordinary characters, places, situations or intrigue. The rules to follow and 7 tips to avoid the pitfalls and succeed when you want to write a novel.
The key questions to ask before embarking on the writing of a novel.
1. The motivations
It’s a huge job ahead. Do not underestimate the burden, the time it takes and the gravity that it will create in your life. It’s a child that you’ll wear for weeks, maybe months or even years. Ask yourself first about your project: Is it worth writing? Why are you writing it? To share with your loved ones, to live under the light of the media, to heal, to distract, to make a living?
To write a book is of course to write a story. To write a story is first of all imagination. But it is also to elaborate a narrative structure, to develop a plot, to shape characters.
2. The imagination
It is the innate ability and ability of everyone to invent through the mind. This is done from the perceptions and the existence of each one. It is addressed first to all those who feel the need to build a world of their own to take refuge there. This is often the starting point of the will to write. It can develop but not learn. It is the personality of everyone who decides.
3. Writing techniques
Writing techniques can be learned. These techniques are the syntax, the organization of a story and the organization of a dialogue. The Anglo-Saxons, always pragmatic, put forward principles derived from good practices: relevance of the exposed plan, rules of readability, rigor in the drafting, prioritization of the elements.
To write a novel, it is good to address it in its entirety. Writing workshops are one of the ways to improve your writing rules in a fun way. And especially to benefit from the “critical feedback” of your peers on your writings while forging an opinion on the pitfalls to avoid.
Before writing a novel, ask yourself the question. A first set of rules consists of concentrating the information in an informative sentence on the skeleton of your novel. Are you able to answer the following questions: “Who? What? Or ? When? How? How many ? Why ? “. In no case will it allow you to build a good novel or beautiful pages of literature, but it will force you to consider your work globally. “The big Picture” as they say overseas.
4. Have you read enough?
First, before grabbing your pen or plugging in your computer, you have to read some good books with different writing styles in order to appropriate them, understand them and know that many masterpieces have been written before you . This is important because it creates a level of requirement and leads you to set high standards. The permanence of reading during your writing times is also recommended.
To read is also to force you to be original, to know that many subjects have been treated in a variety of ways and to ask you the question about the originality of your book or the originality of its treatment.
The rules to respect to succeed: the narrative scheme, the characters, the dialogues.
Writing a novel is first and foremost an iron discipline that imposes a precise methodology.
1. A narrative schema: we speak of Romanesque architecture
It may seem academic but it is an indispensable step in the writing process.
The detailed plan
This is the most traditional technique, one that allows you to develop a specific plan. Every scene in your novel must be carefully recorded. It’s sort of a detailed synopsis of all the scenes in your novel.
If the very idea of developing a narrative structure, which makes you think of the first of the class in high school, you bristles, the frame (simplified form of the plan) allows to focus on the main elements: the places where takes place l action, the names of the main characters, a calendar of events that follow each other and a short synopsis of what is happening in each scene. You will have more latitude at the time of writing the novel. But be careful, this leads you to invent, during the writing process all the nodes of the plot and its twists.
This is to write on maps the progress of the plot by stage, characters, objectives of the scene. To mix them and then to examine the relevance of each card in this progression, to check the solidity of the story. You then propose a possible reorganization of the plot, removing the useless and possibly developing some scenes. This presupposes a good mastery of the architecture of his story.
Avoid being original to be original
The structure can be simple or complex, linear or unstructured. Be that as it may, it is legitimized by the narrative itself and not by author’s caprices. Finally, what is his narrative scheme? who tells the story ? The use of the first person is not prohibited but it must make sense. So many questions that a writer must be able to answer.
2. The characters of the novel
Each character exists first in relation to a context.
It is by defining its environment, the environment in which it evolves that one will define its credibility. He must be unique. Some writers like Katherine Pancol or Marc Lévy draw up fact sheets of each character, physical and moral. They know how they will behave in the face of a situation and how they will react emotionally.
Starting from an archetype can also be a way to proceed.
It is then necessary to create incidents, accidents in the plot. The hero of the novel should not blend harmoniously in this environment without which there is no story. It must have a purpose (by the story or the protagonists) that is not expected.
The hero of the story also takes flesh through dialogues.
A way of speaking, a silence, a recurring expression, a tic … All these elements give flesh to the characters and build it. Finally a novel character must keep its shadows to stimulate the curiosity of the reader. Place a few “laconic spaces” that will drive readers to question or conjecture about the deeper personality of your hero.
The secondary characters are essential.
They are the ones who will give consistency and thickness to your main hero. Beyond their own existence, they help shape it.
First, have a great freedom of writing. To let go. This is how interesting spontaneous ideas can come to your mind. It will always be time to rework. The first throw plays a crucial role. No censorship.
How to install a dialog. Ask yourself the right questions: who is talking and how? First person, second person, no rules. It is up to you author to find the rhythm and the tone that “feels” the true, and above all that will create a style in which you will evolve with ease.
Put your dialogues on the stage. A dialogue is a conversation between two or more people. Have fun replicating your main dialogues. You will see if it sounds “real”. Make readjustments as and when. A dialogue is above all theater.
Delete the useless. -It is raining ! -Oh yes it’s true ! -what awful weather ! Empty dialogues can last a long time and bring nothing to the plot or the construction of the characters. Think of the reader. On the other hand, silence sometimes gives weight and meaning to dialogue.
The replicas must be reflected, polished like a diamond while remaining natural. With a novel dialogue, you have the freedom to re-chisel it during the writing process and come back to it often. Work, take breaks, and return to your dialogues. Again and again.
How to write a novel ? 7 tips to avoid the pitfalls
# Tip # 1. You’re struggling to find your narrative schema …
Find out how the story ends. “What happens at the end of this book that makes it worth reading this book? “. It’s a trick given by John Irving. By knowing the end of your future novel, go back in the opposite direction, up to the first chapter, to the attacking phrase.
# Tip # 2. You are in full white page syndrome …
Review your last chapter. Take a break by letting your mind wander or get some fresh air. Often, the result can be imposed naturally.
# Tip # 3. You say too much, it’s convoluted, it’s not you …
Cut the sentences! Simplify! Avoid bombastic formulas, express only one idea per sentence. Too many nuances in a sentence often complicate reading. Simplify your style, titrate your chapters didactically, it will prevent you from going in all directions.
# Tip # 4. You have trouble appropriating places …
A novel is also a climate, an atmosphere. We only realize that by reviving places, those in which evolve your characters: countries, cities, planes, station, offices … Talk about places that you control, or that you know in sufficient detail. The places are more than a decoration, they contribute to the truth of your novel.
# Tip # 5. Let’s swim in a medium!
The same goes for the environments your characters frequent. The novel is one of the spaces where you can change your environment. If you know or frequent the world of film, politics or advertising, all the better, it’s a strength, let the reader know!
# Tip # 6. Tap into the richness of the language.
Some will tell you that form must take precedence over substance, that what matters is not the story but the way it is told. It is true, it is necessary to care the language if only to make it forget. Flaubert embodies that. The style is so direct, so pure, so transparent that one forgets the work, as each word is in its place, each sentence finds its space in the puzzle of a chapter. The miracle of writing is to forget writing, when one speaks of literature of course!
# Tip # 7. Adapt the pace to your words.
When you write, the length and pace of your text must match the climate you want to generate, the emotions you want to spark. A description lends itself more to rich phrases, metaphors are welcome, physical sensations for example to “give life” to readers the feelings of the author. On the contrary, if you are talking about an accident or an incident, use short sentences and words. It is necessary in this case to create a rhythm, to cut the reader’s breath, to heckle him.
Writing a first novel is a crucial step in an author’s life.
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