7 Tips on How to Write a Novel
What is a novel? It is nothing else but an invented story of considerable length that deals imaginatively with human experience. Usually through a connected sequence of events. Writing it requires mostly a good imagination.
Here are 7 tips on how to write a novel:
1. Write a story you would love to read. Do not think about it as a future best seller or something that would make your great aunt Mary proud. Try to think about all the books you’ve read. Select those that made you lose yourself in it. If most of them are mysteries then I wouldn’t recommend trying to write a classic literary novel or an historical romance. Start with a list of your obsessions and things that make you gasp every time you think about them. It doesn’t have to be a specific genre though. You might love a book based on a type of story, certain voice, or even favorite characters. The secret is to write what you love.
2. There are no specific rules on how to start a story but I would suggest with creating a character. It doesn’t have to be flawless, make it real. Your main character needs to live. Give it freedom and let it guide you and take your story in different directions. If you make it flat and boring your audience won’t be curious about what’s going to happen next. You need to get to know him or her and the best way to do so is to ask him/her to tell you some secrets. Sit down, relax, and start writing as if you were the character you’ve been trying to create.
3. Give your character an interesting problem. Think of something that is going to challenge it chapter by chapter. It has to be a real struggle because that exact problem is going to define and make your character believable. After all, an interesting dilemma is the heart of good novels.
4. Keep the story going. You can create the best characters in the world and have some unique story structures but if nothing is really happening it’s already a fail. Make sure something important happens in every chapter. And if you see that one chapter stayed flat and irrelevant, cut it! Who cares about a great chapter if nothing vital to your plot happens. There are many articles explaining how to outline a novel that you can read and learn from. My advice? Figure your own way. While editing, go chapter by chapter and give it a one world description on your notes. Then get your notes out and see if the story is moving forward. That way you can also see if there are enough twists and turns to keep it interesting.
5. Make it real. I know, I know if you imagine about a story with vampires and fairies in it you might immediately think of how real and believable can it be. Well, it doesn’t have to be believable in our world, but it has to be real in the universe of the book.
6. Stick with your original project. The art of writing is not easy and you’ll be thinking about giving up a lot. Don’t. Make an effort and finish the story. When you have you story, work even more on improving it. Once you feel it’s ready to be publish send it to an agent. Don’t expect it to be published right away, it will probably be rejected a lot. The key is to keep sending it out and in the meantime write another story.
7. Finally… ignore the rules. Including the ones you’ve just read. Everyone’s got plenty of advices on what to write or what is the best novel format. There are also people who will tell you what parts of a novel you should keep or cut and what your character should look like. Well, don’t listen to them. It is your story so make your own rules and enjoy your time.
Prewriting strategies and its best use
Starting an essay can be challenging for everybody. When it comes to writing we all have the same problem: where to start? Even when you have clear ideas with lots of material on it you still struggle and have no idea on how to put them on a paper. It’s every writer’s dilemma and it’s perfectly normal. Believe it or not, there was a lot of planning behind this article too. It doesn’t matter if you’re a junior, a senior, or even an experienced writer you’ll still start with a blank computer screen. You may even know everything about drafting and editing, and we all know writing and editing go hand in hand, but your main issue right now is how to get to that first draft and what comes in between your blank page and a final paper that will contain your elaborate thoughts in a coherent and nicely articulated essay.
The answer? The best and most successful essays always start with some good planning and prewriting techniques. So keep reading if you are interested in finding out what is prewriting and what techniques are going to be best for you.
Prewriting definition itself is very simple. It is a term that describes all that work that you do before the actual paper writing. And if you think that it basically means to look up some ideas and write it down, you are definitely wrong because it is not completely true… Prewriting doesn’t necessarily include writing. As a matter of fact, it could be just focusing on something you’d like to write about.
Also, before we start, I would like to remind you that there are hundreds of different techniques out there and what might work for someone else won’t necessarily work for you. And only when you find what really works for you, will make your paper successful. Now that we have it clear, let’s explain some writing strategies and different prewriting techniques.
As I said before, there are many different writing techniques that will help you start pretty much everything that includes writing in it. My advice is to pick one and try it out, and if you are not sure about it then pick another and another and another. Once you’ve tried some of them, you will compare and see which one works best for you and suits your writing style.
Here are my personal favorites:
Brainstorming is my absolute favorite. It will help you figure out all the associations and ideas that come to your mind when thinking about a specific topic. Writing them down will make it easier to keep track of your thoughts. Since it’s just a preliminary step it doesn’t have to be formal. In fact, very often, brainstorming looks more like a list, rather than a logical piece of writing. When using this technique, allow yourself to simply follow your thoughts without connecting and articulating your ideas. By doing so, you might come up with an very interesting theme to discuss in your paper.
Freewriting definition is very similar to brainstorming, the main idea is to write down all your thoughts about a specific topic. Yet, if brainstorming will often look like a list of ideas, freewriting is usually shaped in a more formal way. However, it doesn’t mean you have to worry about grammar or punctuation, it simply requires to follow the flow of your thoughts without censuring your ideas. Take in consideration every single idea. Even if you think it’s inappropriate, give it a try, eventually you can always discard it and keep only the best ones.
3. Clustering and Mindmapping.
Just like brainstorming and freewriting, these two techniques allow you to take inventory of your thoughts. The main difference is that both, clustering and mindmapping, focus on a central word that usually represents an important theme or a motif. Using these techniques will help you visualize the ideas in your head, So, if you are an extremely visual person these techniques might be very useful. A lot of diagrams of clustering that you find online embodies the main word in a circle with all the associations connected by lines. Likewise, there are very extensive and elaborate examples of mindmapping you can find online. Remember to be creative, but not at the expense of your ideas.
I consider it the best and most useful approach to get started, especially if you have no idea of what you’re doing. The first step is to write down all the questions that seem to be fit with your argument. These questions should be clear and legitimate. The more questions you have the better your paper will be. Once you have your questions, you are forced to answer them. This technique will get out a lot of ideas and thoughts you have that will possibly be a perfect start for your paper. Besides, a lot of awesome essay topics start with a question so this technique will also allow you to have a perfect framework tor your assignment.
This technique is an on- going process. It completely differs from the ones mentioned above. While brainstorming, freewriting and others can wait until you get your assignment and mostly think about how and where to start, journaling is best throughout the whole writing process. The main idea behind this technique is to write down whatever affects you about the topic in that exact moment. So, instead of concentrating on your first impression about the topic you’ll have to write down what struck you the most about it. Even if, many initial ideas don’t lead to great writings, most of them might become the base of a successful essay.
This technique might be very helpful for some writers and extremely confining for some others. The best way to jump into outlining is to use one of the previous techniques before. Essay outline requires to be excellent at selecting different approaches, organizing your thoughts, have a good sense of your ideas, etc. For this reason, many writers find outlining difficult; if one writer can figure a good sense of the idea before he or she starts writing, another will come to it during the actual writing process. So, if you are one of those who know exactly what they want to write about, you should seriously consider outlining since it will help you organize your ideas about the argument in a logical way.
For outlining, you will mostly use some main points to organize and structure your paper. For instance:
- As always, star with the a powerful introduction and highlight your main ideas about the topic.
- Once you introduced your thesis, start creating different paragraphs: analyze and evidence various opinions in each paragraph and make sure that everything links together, not only your paragraphs but your overall content.
- At last, summarize everything you’ve said in your final conclusion showing the importance of your essay’s declaration.
Also, as you know this technique is not everyone’s favorite but you might still find it very useful even if you are one of those who are more productive if they go straight into the writing process. How? Just reverse it. Luckily, the invention of writing wasn’t made to be the same for everybody. You can still apply this technique once you have your final draft- this step will help you check and see if your statement is focusing on the main topic and make sure that everything flows logically from one idea to another.
Stages of The Writing Process
There are people who need to stare at the blank page for an eternity before getting started and there are others who would start without thinking twice.
When I was in college, the guy who sat next to me said he believed my pencil was magical. Silly, isn’t it? That the words would just flow whenever my pencil hit the paper. Come on… there is no such thing as a magical pencil.
He may have thought I was using magic but in real life, between the two of us, he was a better writer. While I was doodling around, erasing, and rewriting my thoughts, he would just spend his time reflecting on the story he wanted to tell. The result? He would carefully craft his words in his mind and then put it on the paper. Me? I rambled around and went off topic multiple times.
So let’s see what are the main stages of writing.
Prewriting is everything that happens before you start the actual writing. It’s a writing implement that includes brainstorming and outlining. It allows writers to think and scrutinize their ideas before writing them down. There are other prewriting techniques that involve freewriting, journaling, and midmapping.
In my opinion, this is the most important stage out of all the writing process steps.
All the writers need to take inspiration from somewhere: family, other writers, the world around them… they all need to analyze and brainstorm their ideas. Whether it’s a political or musical statement everything around us will inspire and provide the spark we need.
And once the writer found his inspiration he will need to create an outline to his paper. This step is very important, consider it as a map for your story.
What is drafting? It is everything you developed during the prewriting. In the drafting stage you don’t have to worry about spelling, grammar, or punctuation. Instead, focus on writing notes and turning your ideas into logical sentences and paragraphs. The outline you previously created, if followed, will help you at this point.
This stage might take hours or just a few minutes of your time but it’s important to get it done, remember to write as much as you can in your initial draft.
The revision stage is often incorrectly used. Some people think that it has to do something with editing. It’s not. Many changes will happen in this stage. You can delete or even add an entire section to your story. The upholding evidence of your story might be elaborated differently or removed completely, even the focus of the piece can change.
Even though editing is involved, revising is not just about fixing the spelling errors, it’s about fixing the story itself. It’s a very good opportunity for writers to get a second opinion on their work. By having someone else look into your work you allow yourself to see if you took into consideration all your reader’s needs. See if it makes sense to him and consider his suggestions for a more compelling introduction. Make sure it answers all the questions your audience might have.
Once all the heavy work is done and the story got the structure, it’s time to edit. Start to analyze it word by word. Review all the spelling, punctuation, and grammar mistakes.
It takes a lot of practice to become a good editor. It is important to know your weaknesses, so keep a list of things you struggle with. Very often it is difficult to edit your own work. Consider finding someone who will assist you in this writing stage.
- That’s it? Four steps and we’re done? Ha! Not at all.
There are different forms of writing and for large pieces just like novels or reports, a writer might go multiple times through each of these steps. Also, if more people are involved into reviewing your work you will, for sure, get more ideas to elaborate which will also include more than one revision.
The beginners, or those who are less comfortable with writing, will probably spend more time to complete their work. But one thing is sure, the more time you spend into prewriting and drafting your work the easier your revision and editing will become.
So, what is the writing process after all? It is not only the four stages you’ve just read about. It is the proper use and application of them. Keep practicing and try to form a team that will help you succeed… Writing doesn’t necessarily have to include only one person behind it.
7 Simple Steps to Learn How to Write a Perfect Essay
THE GUIDE ON CREATING A BRILLIANT ESSAY
Very often young learners hate making the compositions. They write for various purposes. It may be admission, test, competition etc. One way or another, it becomes a challenge. Fortunately, there are many ways for anyone to learn how to write well, and everyone is able to acquire them if they adhere to the next algorithm and techniques while writing.
1. Choose a subject.
There are two options in this case – whether you have got a certain topic or you are allowed to choose one yourself. When it is the first variant, consider the character and peculiarities of your writing depending on what must be the result, whether it must be specialized and detailed or just an outline in point of fact.
When it’s the second variant, and you have to come up with the topic on your own, there appear some additional nuances. Anyway, it has a bright side in the form of your personal interest. If you want to write on a specific topic, decide what intention you’d like it to contain.
You may write down the list of things you are enthusiastic about, any processes or subjects you would like to gain insight on. It is easier to enquire the details if you are passionate about the matter and how it works.
You should make up your mind in favor of the topic according to the aim and target audience, so that it wouldn’t be mere writing about writing, but in order to make your essay achieve its prime objective, whether it is an argumentative, a reflective, an informative or a critical writing.
2. Make up a list of thoughts.
Arranging what comes to your mind is one of the steps which make writing much more effective, although it sounds pretty simple at first sight. The thing is, this process must be recorded, in whatever form you like (illustration, list, scheme etc.), but recorded, because it helps to look at and evaluate your own musings from the outside. In addition, these records will serve as a basis for further stages.
Put down the name of your subject of study to a paper. Run a few lines from it to point out the central statements and arguments. Create a crotch from each of the central statements if possible, to support the latter with explanations, reasons, comments etc.
When it’s more comfortable, don’t bother with diagrams, schemes or something like that. Just make an enumeration of your statements. Under each statement, write all the appropriate thoughts, like in a crotch mentioned above. This way you’ll get almost all the required paragraphs that you’ll further include in your writing.
3. A research objective? Write it now.
After making up your mind on a subject and writing a list of thoughts concerning it, formulate the root point taken as a premise. This is an objective of your writing, something you support or disagree with, comprising all the associations that you’ve revealed at the previous stage.
A good task definition usually includes two elements - the one which claims the subject itself, and the other one which defines your writing objective. Let’s suppose you write on technical methods of improving soil fertility and their effect. Then your statement will sound like this: “Technical methods of improving soil fertility are a controversial practice because of various effects they may have”.
You may also look through the samples of writing the other successful essays and see how the statements are formulated there. Pay attention to how many parts they include, which information they specify, and what techniques are used to excite the reader’s curiosity.
4. Make up the middle part.
This is the part which provides proofs for your point of view. It includes all the thoughts you wrote in your list before creating a thesis statement and gives a full explanation of each of them. Remember – one paragraph for one thought.
The rule stating that all the subparts of a middle part should be of equal structure makes writing process easier a little. Choose the most appropriate idea to start your argumentation with. Let all the other ones follow it consistently. Add sentences from ”the crotch section” to make your central statements more persuasive. Use corresponding words and phrases so that the general structure was coherent and logical.
5. To the beginning again.
An introduction is the part of writing which cannot be omitted. It is the section which is supposed to persuade a person to continue reading an essay. Consequently, it is better to represent the introduction starting it with something that appeals to person’s emotions or the information which sounds good old, for example, some citations, the mentions of some widely known characters etc. It should flow gradually into a thesis statement the first part ends with.
6. The last section.
When you write the conclusion of your essay, try to focus on the most important and essential thoughts you’ve displayed to confirm your viewpoint once again. It doesn’t need to be long. On the contrary, list your arguments with confidence, but clearly and succinctly.
7. Put a cherry on top.
When all the writing work is already done, switch on your perfectionist side. Look through your essay, maybe even a few times, and survey it like a doctor, look attentively, or even better – create a checklist of everything you should take control of in the quality of an after-writing finishing stage. Examine your writing for lexical, grammatical, syntactical mistakes: see whether you’ve used all the words properly, consider the word order, check if the information is laid out consistently and logically. Make even a notice of whether the essay looks good, that is formatted properly. After performing all the required actions, you may be sure about the quality of your work.
So, maybe no fantasy writing tips exist to practically write your essay for you, but the presented steps may surely push you closer to it.
How to Improve Writing Skills Being Pressed for Time
Boost your essay performance
Life moves forward quickly, and this fact doesn’t always work in our favor, especially when we need to perform a written assignment. A lot of various factors may exist for us to find it difficult to cope with the tasks on time, subjective and objective ones, from a strict mentor with high demands to feeling sick or tired. Nonetheless, there is a list of writing strategies for you to be able to get the work done even within a terrifying time limit.
1. Think in the right direction
Preparing your mind to the task properly is one of the most important things while working with paper-and-pencil assignments. The sense of anxiety and unrest comes right before you start doing the job. As the clock ticks, it gets harder to pull yourself together and stop worrying. Changing your view of the situation is the only way out of this state. Try to vector your energy into a constructive direction and assure yourself that you are capable of more than you imagine. You really are – the potential of the brain is great enough for us to perform the tasks of very high difficulty, and it’s just the matter of our self-efficacy whether we choose to make a fast writing process possible or not. So, get involved into a fight against your lack of self-trust and become a champion in it.
2. Don’t get distracted
If you are constantly interrupted by endless mobile notifications, emails and calls, there’s a good chance you won’t manage to do even the half of the deal. All these things are like time-consuming monsters that speed up the flow of time and leave you back at the bottom of the ladder. Switch on the discipline mode, roll up your sleeves and get directly to the writing process. Bring in all your willpower and don’t let anything disturb you. If it’s a tough thing for you to do, don’t make it a reason to postpone the assignment anyway, as there are a plenty of useful resources such as specialized anti-social-network applications and extensions that will assist you at arranging your work-friendly atmosphere. Take care of installing them in advance.
3. Make use of writing tools
It is rather painless for anyone to use their computer keyboard to do the written assignments. So, if you aren’t really interested in how to improve your handwriting, typing is much more efficient thing to do while working at your composition. If your mentor doesn’t mind a printed text (which is more comfortable to examine, by the way), typing is a good option to choose for you to cover all the bases, that is to take control of what you’ve already written and make up further paragraphs that will logically follow the previous ones.
4. Focus on the given topic
Sometimes we don’t get what we are called for at first sight. We see a topic and start writing what comes to our head, and, considering the fact that our mind is programmed to look for recognizable information, we may misinterpret the whole idea, especially when we are tired and stressed. That is why – stop, take a deep breath, and pay attention to the task given in a headline. Think about the topic for a while, about what can be implicated in it. Moreover, repeat it to yourself from time to time while writing so that you kept the question in your head all the time and followed the task exactly. Flow of consciousness is not an option in this case, as it may blur the correct answer.
5. Create a simple ergonomics
Before you start working directly at your assignment, it is better to arrange all the resources properly. Switch on your organizing skills and get prepared the material you’ve selected to assist you – make bookmarks, underline useful paragraphs etc., so you won’t need to do it in the process, when it may slow it down or interrupt the thought.
6. Describe the main idea
Check up whether you are able to distinguish and point out the one essential thing to derive all your statement from. In case you’re not, it is a bad start as you’ll only beat about the bush. You need to formulate a precise view you’re going to support to not turn the process into things to write about when you’re bored. This is a crucial thing to do to sound persuasive and bring the concept to its logical interpretation. There’s no need to focus on that very much though, so that going in this process didn’t become the only thing you’d manage to cope with. Just prepare a single thought and work on it.
7. Make the plan and the essay the same record
Don’t bother to create a separate list with the statements you’ll further fulfill into your essay. Make a draft to be the basis of your writing by filling it with the main points, proofs, examples etc. You can make your sketches short or long, it is up to you to decide. This will help you to arrange the information according to the required parts and add the corresponding material to it then. This way you’ll also be able to place the sentences wherever you need in your document and edit all the structure.
8. Make a whole expository writing piece from the sketches
Now, that the most of the work has been done, gather all the pieces together into a complete well-structured writing so that it was logical, detailed and consisted of everything which makes it correct and appropriate.
9. Start with the middle section first
There exists a kind of optional but effective rule, when we are asked to tell about something. It presupposes starting it from the middle - from the essence. That is why reveal the main idea first, the one which supports your statement, and finish writing by making up the rest of the essay parts, as they will probably formulate in your head during the process of writing the middle part.
10. Don’t save the list of cited material for last
In case you need to provide the list of source materials in your work, do it in the process of writing, add them to your list at once as you cite the source. This way you won’t need to spend time on looking through all the work again for consolidating the required sources. Moreover, you’ll get most of the job done if you’ll write and fill in your bibliography simultaneously.
11. The same thing with error analysis
It is more time-saving if you perform so-called run-time editing and error analysis. It appears often that being short of time doesn’t give you a chance to check your work in the end. That is why do it sentence by sentence or at least every few sentences so that you were sure about the quality of your work even if you’ll need to give it away right after you put a period.
12. Stay original
It may sound like a terrible writing advice, when you have such a stress-provoking lack of time and looking for means to make the work done as quickly as possible. Anyway, try to write the entire essay relying on your own efforts and knowledge. If students were allowed to use the information from the world web as their own, there would be no need in writing essays at all. The thing is, you need to perform an original piece which will reflect your real thoughts and views. If you don’t do that, you’ll have a bunch of further things to worry about, including your teacher’s evaluation of your work, your performance within this very topic afterwards (which will probably be poor if you only cut and paste the material), less essay quality compared to what you could write yourself etc. So, as you may see yourself, there are more disadvantages than benefits. That is why take your time and make an original essay which is plagiarism-free, and then no matter what – you’ll feel certain it is one of a kind.
13. What about relying on other people’s words?
Making the work excessively citation-oriented is a widespread strategy among those who strive to get a quality essay fast. It is almost the same as copying and pasting the information in fact, because it doesn’t give way to your opinion, you only make up the work based on someone else’s views. The context of such an approach is understandable – it enlarges the text itself and speeds up the process considerably. Obviously, this kind of writing won’t be appreciated well as it will lack the crucial thing – you. Of course, an appropriate selection of good quotes that support your proofs and ideas (not vice versa), has a professional side in it, and such writing sounds competently, but only if these sayings are rare and not making the whole essay.
14. Don’t engage in empty talk
They say, brevity is the soul of wit. Consequently, writing long complex sentences is not the best option under all circumstances, but it is particularly true in a given case, considering the amount of time you have, and the fact that your writing must be clear and comprehensible. Don’t break your head over twisted sentence structure and fancy terminology. You only need to uncover the whole idea and support it in a proper way, not write a novel.
15. Find your place
It is a common knowledge that people tend to work more efficiently under stressful conditions. When you have to or choose voluntarily another place to work at, it is one of the stressful conditions as well. Try it out, go to the park, or to the bank of the river. Maybe the places you like will stimulate your imagination. Pay attention to the interferences that may occur, such as overcrowding or roar.
16. Develop the regime and listen to your body
You have probably noticed that the concentration decreases with every hour of intellectual work. It makes the process ineffective, and the result less satisfactory, that is why don’t ignore the work-and-rest balance. You won’t do any better if you exhaust yourself, so as soon as you feel tired or cannot focus on work at all, give yourself a few minutes to take the mind off it. You’ll accumulate more useful energy this way. On the other side, you may not do that if you don’t feel the need to, it is okay as well.
17. Outwit the teacher? No way.
There’s no need in using the tools of text editor to make your writing look larger than it really is. It is such an obvious method which cannot be unnoticed, that it is insistently recommended to not waste time on this, and come up with another good sentence instead.
18. There’s a time for search engines
It can happen to anyone that they don’t manage to work at all the required resources beforehand. So, we are where we are. You shouldn’t use external services to copy your essay from, but you surely can reach them for some guidance on the learned material. It won’t do any harm, if you search for appropriate creative writing tips, or some basic facts that may assist you in writing.
19. Eat and drink to your heart’s content
Consuming enough of liquid is one of the fundamental rules to keep your brain’s proper functioning. Hydration improves mental processes, and as a result, you work productively. The similar thing is with having a little nosh, it charges your cells with nutritional substances.
20. Give yourself a treat
Knowing that you will get a prize afterwards in a shape of any thing that makes you happy is one of the most powerful encouragements to effective activity. Think of your target – all that great stuff you’ll get, or see, or eat, when you’re done with the assignment. You’ve totally earned it. At least it.