You’ve decided to take the plunge and get into writing a book. You’ve got your laptop ready, your favourite music playing, and you’re raring to go, but how you can you be sure that your novel will be a hit? Here are five tips to writing your first novel.
1. Enroll in a creative writing course
If you’ve never actively studied writing before, a creative writing course might be of benefit to you. Creative writing courses are offered by most universities, often at post-graduate level or in conjunction with Literature degrees, but less academic creative writing classes are also available for budding writers looking to hone their talents and take inspiration from established writers. Enrolling in a course will also give you the opportunity to regularly meet with like-minded writers and discuss tried and tested methods of boosting creativity, avoiding writer’s block (the torturous curse that plagues even the best writers) and making sure your writing packs a punch.
2. Invest in a thesaurus
Want to spice up your sentences? Add some heat to your syntax by bagging yourself a trusty thesaurus and swapping your worn-out words for some new and exotic nouns, verbs and adjectives. If you think you’re falling into the trap of repeating words or using words that aren’t as powerful as they need to be to truly convey your meaning, consult your thesaurus to find something a tad more dashing. Regularly using a thesaurus is a great way to expand your vocabulary and add flavour to your writing.
3. Read, read, and read some more
Take inspiration from the authors that have written before you. Familiarising yourself with other writers’ use of language, form and structure will help you to develop your own personal writing style. If you’re having a particularly non-productive day, it can be uplifting (in a morbid kind of way) to read about the trials and tribulations that dogged your favourite writers and remind yourself that if they can do it, so can you!
4. Write as though your eyes are closed (or, if you’re an awesome touch-typer, actually close your eyes!)
The basic point behind this tip is that reading and re-reading your work-in-progress can stunt your writing and actually reduce your productivity. Save editing your work until you have penned your first draft and you’re happy with what you’ve written. You could even go one step further by enlisting a friend to read your material before you do and give you their honest opinion of your raw draft. Before you read your work back to yourself, take a deep breath, and try not to be too unnecessarily self-deprecating.
5. Write naturally
One of the pitfalls that many writers fall into is the trap of thinking that their writing has to be of a Pulitzer standard. Your adjectives need to be crisp and cool, and your sentences complex and packed with wow-factor. In reality, though, even the simplest of sentences can have a massive impact, even with only monosyllabic words chucked into the mix. Writing that’s natural, that flows well, and that conveys your ideas as a writer is always best.