Today I celebrate. But just for a moment. because, as advertised I was committed to completing the first draft of Novel #2 by the end of the year. Guess what? I did! Hurray! Huzzah! and other strange words!
Now, Instead of boring you with what I already wrote, let me share a little advice. This is mostly for any of you who ever thought about writing a novel. Whoever is wondering whether they can. And keep in mind that my advice is not Isaac Asimov’s or Stephen King’s. Just little Ole’ me.
Disclaimer in place, let’s move on.
So you want to write a novel. I got plenty of advice for you. But perhaps, one advice needs more weight in the grand scheme of things.
If you want to write a novel, perhaps try writing a novel first.
Yes, I said that. But what I mean is that perhaps you need to write A novel before you write THE novel. Makes more sense? Let’s wrap our brain around that one.
I’m a true believer in the idea that everyone has a story in him/her to tell.
I’m also a firm believer in that everyone is capable of telling a story.
Another adage I subscribe to is that “If you ever wonder ‘Why isn’t anyone writing a story about____?’ it’s your responsibility to write one.”
But how? How to I write a novel?
Oh, the tools are plenty. Just try google for size. Knowing what I do today, I’d advise you to be very prudent before you put your trust in any of the following search results. I know of at the very least 5 different “methods” or “techniques” or “philosophies”. I read my share of “How to” books, not the least important ones are Stephen King’s ‘On Writing‘ and Larry Brooks’s “Story Engineering“. These two are polarizing examples of really great pool of knowledge and experience. If I was to start from scratch today, I’d say start there.
But that’s just the start. At least for moi.
Working with a writing coach has been the greatest choice for me. Participating in a really honest writer’s group is priceless. If you’re a first timer like I was (and to some extent still am), I wouldn’t underestimate the importance of guidance and brutally honest feedback (Yes, that excludes mom).
So, here’s why I suggest to write A novel first:
It takes time to write. It takes time to write well. The more you write, the gooder you shall be. Well, in most cases.
So why not write A novel? Shave on its figurative beard, Make all the classic mistakes, get lost on the way, find Jesus (or Allah, or Moses…) and get to know the effort and sacrifice that writing a novel takes. Then, when you have A novel written, it’s time to write THE novel.
This time with fewer mistakes. Note – ‘fewer’. not ‘none’. This time getting just a little lost but finding your way quicker.
I can tell you that while writing THE novel was by no means easy, it was far less frustrating than the first time around. If only due to the fact that I was less defensive about it.
Now listen to me. with an impressive track record of 2 drafts unpublished (as of yet). But I’m merely repeating a lesson I learned for myself, which was taught to me by far more experienced and prolific masters of the craft. My current draft will change, and the end product? well, it might not be the peak of my creative magnificence. But it sure as hell is going to be better than the first 🙂 and guess what – the third will be better than this one – provided I don’t slack off.
So write A novel. Then please – write THE novel and let me know. Just finished a really good book.
Questions? Comments? Tips? Write them all down here at the comments section.