Stuck in the middle of your novel? You’ve got at least an idea of how the novel will end, but the middle is all wobbly? Focus on the goals of your characters, and the goals of the scenes in your novel.
It’s common for writers or aspiring writers to think they need to find a completely original idea for their novel. I talk to a lot of people who tell me they feel disappointed because they had a great idea for a novel they wanted to write, but then they discovered the book had already ‘been done’.
Writing sprints are all the rage with writers and authors. It doesn’t matter whether you write fiction or non-fiction. They work whatever genre or sub-genre you write. A writing sprint is a closely focused period of time spent writing. Some writers do twenty-
minute sprints. Others prefer half an hour or forty minutes. Most authors find that their words start running dry after this time period, but some keep going for an hour. There’s no right or wrong in this. Writers are human too (honestly!) and we are all different.
You’re always thinking about how to make your novel better. You might be writing the first draft of your novel, making your first editing pass at your manuscript or fine tuning your story ready for publishing. Wherever you are in the process, you’re striving to improve your writing and your chance of success.
Publishers in the traditional publishing industry want books they can publish with as little extra work as possible. Literary agents want books they can easily pitch to their publishing contacts. No traditional publisher or literary agent wants to take on a book or a writer who hasn’t already come a long way on the road to being a polished author.
Whether you’re writing fiction, children’s fiction, non-fiction, memoir… if you want anyone to be interested in reading your book you need to go through editing.
Claire Fayers will be joining me on Clubhouse for a discussion and Q&A on 23rd September 2021 at 8pm (UK time). This is an exciting opportunity to listen to a traditionally published author give her experiences of being a writer of children’s books – and maybe even ask your own question!
Whether you’re a new writer or writing your third novel, a community to share ideas and receive encouragement is something special.
Follow my Club (Writers’ Pool) on Clubhouse to get this benefit. A community for writers to discuss, collaborate and support each other. It’s a non-judgemental, non-stuffy space which welcomes writers of all experience levels. It’s about helping each other up rather than knocking each other down.
Deciding whether to create a plot or a character first can be a challenge. Writing fiction can feel like going around in circles, constantly changing your mind about which element to focus on – plot or character.
There’s a short answer and a long answer.
Writers find it hard to put their story ideas onto paper for various reasons. It can be an unhealthy degree of perfectionism. It can be a lack of confidence in their skill or originality. It can be the lack of a writing habit – that is, a lack of consistent practice. A new writer often meets a stumbling block early on when they realise that writing a novel (or any other book) is not as simple as they first thought.
Perfectionism is a common trait amongst writers. It is especially true of fiction writers, who often spend hours worrying over their exact word choices and word order. They might lose half an hour deliberating over a comma. Does this sound like you?
If you recognise yourself in this, then know this. Perfectionism is not serving you.
You want to write a novel. You’ve got some story ideas bouncing around your head, but you don’t know how to even begin. Every novel you read makes you want to write your own book too, yet it also scares you.
Those novels you read are just so… good. They’re polished and clever and well written. It makes you feel that you could never write something good enough so you maybe shouldn’t bother.