Many people encounter writer’s block as soon as they start writing a short story or the first chapter in their novel. Writing an entire novel is even more challenging. A novel must have an interesting, dynamic, and well-written story.
When it is already difficult to just put words on the page, writing an interesting story seems completely impossible. To make sure you can create an interesting, engaging story, try out some of the following tips when you start your next novel.
Use a Mind Map to Connect Ideas:
A mind map is a convenient way to brainstorm and organize your thoughts. It shows you how each thought is connected to other thoughts in a hierarchy. Unlike a basic list, a mind map allows you to see how each thought in your novel links to other parts of your story.
This helps you build a cohesive, interwoven story that really enthralls the reader. It is also a useful way to get your creative juices flowing when it seems impossible to focus on actually writing your story.
Get to Know the Characters
Character depth is not just important for making your story interesting. It also helps you actually write the story. When you really understand your characters and know them as people, you know how they would react in any specific situation.
In addition to making your story more believable, this also helps you drive the plot along naturally. You do not have to brainstorm what happens next because your characters are in control of the narrative.
To create believable characters, start by creating entire backstories for each person. Spend some time determining what their interests are, what they want to do in life and where they are from. If you are really struggling to create a backstory, try getting some inspiration from people you know in real life.
If you meet an interesting, unusual person, spend some time talking to them so that you can use some of their details in your story. You may not use all or even most of these details in your story, but each detail helps you flesh out the character in your own mind.
Technology is an incredibly useful tool for writers. If you struggle to stay organized, online platforms can help you plan milestones, events, and deadlines. Some of the best novel writing software programs allow you to take notes and categorize all of your notes in different sections.
Then, you can search through your notes for specific thoughts later on. This is significantly easier than pen-and-paper notes because it simplifies your research, brainstorming process, keyword searches and more. You can also look for different editing platforms like Grammarly, note-taking programs, and word processors.
No Editing: Let the Creativity Flow
The last thing you should do is edit as you write. If you start debating your word choice, you will end up losing focus. You cannot rethink every comma choice if you ever want to finish your novel. Once you get the creative juices flowing, focus on getting your thoughts onto the paper.
You can always edit and rewrite different sections of your work – but later, when you’ve got plenty of words down already.
Editing is one of the biggest reasons why people struggle with writer’s block. A budding novelist can become so concerned about finding the perfect introduction that they never actually move on to the next paragraph. Instead of killing your creativity, let your thoughts flow uninhibited onto the paper.
Make the Dialogue Compelling and Necessary
Dialogue can help or hinder your story. If the dialogue is poorly written, it will distract from the rest of your narrative. You also want to avoid over-using your dialogue because this can lead to too much telling the reader about the story and not enough showing the story.
If a piece of dialogue does not drive the story forward, get rid of it. Try to use actions and the plot line to drive the story forward instead. In addition, avoid using the thesaurus and stick to words like “said” for the most part. Most readers do not even notice the word “said” or “asked” as they are reading, so using anything else will just distract them from your compelling dialogue.
Don’t Be Afraid of Conflict
When it comes to learning how to write a novel, conflict is important. Conflict helps to drive your plot along. It shows what your characters care about and what they are willing to fight for. If you do not have any conflict in your story, then you do not actually have a story.
Always Move the Plot Forward
No one wants to read a book about a loving couple who sat happily at home for their entire lives. Even if all your characters want is to get a glass of water, make them want something. Then, throw obstacles in their path.
If your characters don’t do anything, you will have an incredibly boring book. Instead, make sure to do something in each scene that serves to advance your plot.
By bringing action into your scenes, you make readers interested in what happens next. Then, your readers will continue reading your story just because they want to know how the problem or obstacle is resolved.
Practice Makes Perfect
The best tip for novelists is to keep practicing. Remembering how to do all of these steps can be challenging at first, but it will get easier. Find a mentor, a friend, or a teacher to help guide you along your journey. With practice and a little help, you can successfully complete your novel.