A Different Way To Write Your First Novel

A Different Way To Write Your First Novel



If you’ve always wanted to​ write a​ novel, but found the traditional structured process too frightening or​ overwhelming, maybe your imagination works in​ a​ more organic fashion like mine. in​ that case, start with your main character and the idea the character gives you for the plot. Then close your eyes, grab your notebook or​ computer, and watch the main character. Sooner or​ later she or​ he will begin talking and moving around. When that happens, start writing! I guarantee what you hear and see will thoroughly surprise and delight you.

Even though my books are considered literary novels, I’ve always admired the mysteries of​ Tony Hillerman, and the way he laces his novels with information about the Native American tribes in​ his area. I call books like these “info novels,” and they are great fun if​ you’ve never read one. That is​ also a​ goal I try to​ achieve with my Occult novels. With these I’ve been able to​ weave information about contemporary Pagan life, as​ well as​ real spells, chants, or​ rituals throughout every chapter. This series also provides a​ wonderful opportunity to​ add data of​ interest to​ my women readers about holistic healing, feral cat rescue, perimenopause, fibroids, and much more.

Anyone who would like to​ undertake a​ big project like a​ first novel should know the sky is​ the limit. if​ organic structure development, experimental formats, and “info novels” appeal to​ you, go for it! Don’t worry if​ your ideas differ from the traditional novel. And don’t be afraid to​ seed your novel with information. Just make sure it​ occurs naturally within the flow of​ the storyline. For good examples, read the “info novels” written by novelists who excel in​ this form.

Also, don’t let your first draft scare you, because all first drafts tend to​ be utterly frightening. a​ first draft has only one purpose: it’s the place where you put your ideas down on paper. The editing of​ the first draft is​ where the magic happens. When I create the first draft of​ each chapter, it​ is​ an​ exhilarating experience. a​ real adrenaline rush! But I am first and foremost a​ poet, and like most poets I love to​ edit. It’s the polishing of​ each scene, sculpting it​ to​ sail smoothly into the next that gives me the greatest joy.

In fact I am currently working on a​ new novel, which is​ proving to​ be the most organic and intuitive one I’ve ever attempted, making it​ great fun to​ write. All I started with this time was the main character and her cats. She never told me her idea for a​ plot, so I just followed her around, writing down her thoughts, words, and actions as​ she moved from scene to​ scene. Suddenly, other characters appeared, and exciting subplots began to​ emerge.

Now I am six chapters into this novel. The first five chapters have already been published or​ accepted by literary journals, because I always submit each finished chapter as​ a​ short story to​ gain publication credits for the novel. Yet the main character still hasn’t revealed the plot to​ me. No problem. This novel seems to​ be following its own organic, information-rich course, and those who’ve read several of​ these chapters have enjoyed them immensely and can’t wait to​ find out what happens next. Me too!

Don’t let fear stop you from writing the novel that’s been bubbling around in​ your imagination for days, months, or​ years. Most of​ all, don’t let a​ lack of​ money or​ education stop you. I never took a​ writing class, and nineteen years later I’ve published more than thirty poetry books and novels. My poems and short stories have appeared in​ over seven hundred literary journals, magazines, and anthologies worldwide. How did I do it? I used what was available to​ me. I found my high school and college grammar books and studied those. And then I read the poetry books and novels of​ writers I admire, and that’s how I learned to​ write.

Sometimes if​ your mind works in​ an​ organic fashion this may be the best way to​ tackle your first novel. Then all you’ll need to​ do is​ let go, give total control to​ an​ imaginary character who lives in​ your head, listen to​ what she or​ he says, and start writing!




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