In honor of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), I want to share ten tips for aspiring writers. Writing a novel is a significant challenge, but I’ve written five books so I know that it can be done.
Ten Things Every Aspiring Writer Should Know
1. If you want to be a writer, start writing. Don’t waste precious years of your life with the vague intention of writing “someday.” Make it happen.
2. If you want to write but don’t know where to begin, start a journal. Learning how to sort through your real-life experiences will help you learn how to write meaningful fiction. It’s also a great way to develop your writing style.
3. Be original. Don’t try to copy another writer’s style or voice. If you want your work to stand out, it has to stand apart. Your writing style should be as unique as your personality.
4. Start small. You don’t have to know how the novel will end when you write the first line. Just start writing whatever bit or piece has come to you. It will unfold if you let it.
5. Keep an “idea book.” Chances are that once the creative juices begin to flow you’ll start developing several ideas at once. It’s a great way to keep track of ideas that come more quickly than you can write them into full-length books.
6. Make your characters unforgettable. The truth is, all plots are relatively similar. Great characters can become part of the culture. For example, consider characters like Frankenstein’s Monster, Sherlock Holmes, Jo March, Ebenezer Scrooge, Willy Wonka, and the Wizard of Oz.
7. Use symbolism. It’s the difference between a good novel and a great novel. Having a good understanding of the Bible is a tremendous asset. Greek myths have also been used a lot in English language literature.
8. Read great books. Pay attention to structure, style, and the characters. There’s a reason that books remain in print for years and years. It’s one thing to know that Uncle Tom’s Cabin sparked The Civil War. It’s another thing to immerse yourself in the novel and experience the power of it. If you’re serious about becoming a writer, make sure you read Uncle Tom’s Cabin, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Little Prince, A Farewell to Arms, 1984, Moby Dick, and The Chronicles of Narnia.
9. Don’t use profanity. Nothing will build your creative use of language when you are forced to vent your rage in other ways. This is also helpful in developing your style. Besides, the creative phrases you utter could be worked into a book.
10. Keep writing. If you write a few pages and walk away from it, your dream of becoming a writer will never materialize. You are the only one that can make your dream happen. So get started and don’t stop until you’re satisfied with your manuscript.