Resources for Learning How to Write a Novel
Are you dreaming about writing a great story? Do you have a plot in mind, but you’re just not sure how to actually write a novel? Let me be honest: I don’t really write fiction, so I’m not the best person to give you advice on this.
However, I do believe that a good writer is also an excellent researcher, and that MultiTalented Writers do well as professional writers precisely because we’re willing to look for information when we’re not the expert. So here are some great online resources I’ve found on how to write a novel.
1. The Creative Penn
Joanna Penn is a successful self-published author of both fiction and non-fiction books. She’s also an advocate for self-publishing, and she helps many writers get their start. Her entire website is worth a read, but if you’re looking for specifics on writing a novel, this page has plenty of info.
Evernote is an excellent note-taking app, but did you know that it can also help you write a novel (even if you don’t use the app)? This post on their blog has several templates you can use to come up with traits for your characters, details for your setting and storyline, and more. Check it out.
3. New York Book Editors
The folks at New York Book Editors have a great blog where they provide some great insight into what makes a great novel, giving you tips on how to build worlds, how to get un-stuck if you can’t move forward in the middle of your novel, and even providing a worksheet of prompts for building a world in a fantasy novel.
4. Bryn Donovan
Bryn Donovan’s blog is full of helpful resources like a “master list for describing weather,” a master list for describing fear, and more. There’s also information about publishing, too.
5. The Novel Factory
The Novel Factory has a tonne of free worksheets for you to write out your thoughts and start organizing your novel. It’s totally worth checking it out. There are worksheets for the novel premise, for your characters’ basic traits, their voices, and more.
The worksheets are not just useful; they’re really nicely designed as well. I find that when I have pretty worksheets, I’m more inclined to fill them out. If you feel the same way, this is a website you’ll definitely want to bookmark.
6. The Writer’s Digest
I highly recommend that writers of all stripes familiarize themselves with The Writer’s Digest (and their publication, Writer’s Market), which is an excellent resource for finding places to pitch both fiction and nonfiction work, and also offers great information on how you can become a published writer. Here’s a post on their blog from which you can access several worksheets if you’d like to challenge yourself to complete your novel in 30 days.
If you want to give yourself a deadline so that you actually get your novel written, why not do NaNoWriMo this year? NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month, though I feel like that’s a misnomer—NaNoWriMo is a very international event, with people all over the world participating each year. If you decide to take part (and even if you don’t), their website has some tips for creating your work of art. The challenge to write a book in 30 days happens from November 1st to the 30th. If you think you’ll participate, let me know in the comments!
These are just some of the resources you may find helpful when getting started with fiction writing. Once you write your first, second, and third drafts, be sure you do some self-editing, and then be sure you hire an editor, too. If you can’t afford an editor, search out one who is willing to barter.
If you want your novel to be published, you’ll then need to decide if you’d like to go the traditional or self-publishing route. But all that comes after you actually write the story. So get to it.
Don’t get too bogged down with publishing details yet—learn how to write a novel first, and then actually write it. The resources above will help you.
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