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Writing the Novel | What to Know

by Vincent de Paul

Novelists claim that an average person dreams of writing a novel. However true this is, I don’t know, but sounds like they were off the curve some. What about Hollywood heart-throb mania, or becoming a model that has become the bane of the 21st Century lasses.

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Not For Everyone

Well, penning a bestseller may be any Tom, Dick, and Harry’s (or Mary, Jane, and Penny’s) wildest wet dream, soon forgotten once they wake the hell up from their fantasy and the time-consuming of punching the keyboard for hours on end seeming not worth a task for the world, but very simple techniques can help one tell a tale that keeps the reader intrigued and riveted.

Most writers are like a teenager under massive attack of identity crisis. They cannot decide what type of novel they would like to write, which is the first step to producing that million-dollar/pound cliff-hanger thriller. Decide what appeals to you, the stories that you can comfortably tackle (big-screen romance stories, nail-biting thrillers, or chilling horror tales).

Write a novel that fits easily into a well-known genre. This way, publishers would be able to identify and strategize the market. For rookies who don’t know the difference between a novella and a novel or a paperback and hardcover, start with writing a novel of the genre you enjoy writing for pleasure. Going James Patterson all the way when you spend hours on end twisting on your seat reading Nora Roberts or Amanda Quick is a total blow to the epilogue even before the prologue is thought of.

Be Novel

Don’t think you are bringing in something new that we haven’t read, or seen. In actuality, there is no an original idea, nothing you see today has not been done or thought of. Be novel in your approach from a different angle obeying conventions yet bearing in mind that something new, unusual and exciting is what readers would be looking for.

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Once you do this, think of what type of story you want readers to fasten their seatbelts and brace themselves up for. The action/plot based story is pacey, characters hurtle around like pieces on a chessboard and there is no time for tomfoolery as opposed to the reflective novel that creates detailed, sympathetic and multi-layered personalities that grow up like normal people, nurture relationships and sadly break them up.

Think of the style that appeals to you. Not a la Wilbur Smithesque because it seems like the one that is selling. It’s your novel for jove’s sake, write in style that you enjoy. Chances are plenty of people would like it too.

Prepare accordingly, mentally and physically. A novel is a long-term project, not instant coffee or vodka (served James Bond style—straight, not shaken). There are times you would feel like giving up (and this is not writer’s block) thus you should have loads of self-discipline to continue working on the book albeit lackadaisically.

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Th novel may be an ambitious career to debut in the world of writing, but the work involved is more than catches the eye. It requires determination and dedication to reach that final chapter and pack the manuscript up to send it to a publisher.

Nonetheless, the novel is the pinnacle of any writer’s accomplishment. There is nothing mystical or superhuman about writing it though.

The writer is a novelist, flash fiction writer, blogger, and poet.

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