David Louis Edelman David Louis Edelman

On DeepGenre: How to Write a Novel (Part 1)

Illustration of monk chained to desk writingThis morning on DeepGenre, I’ve posted a step-by-step guide to writing a novel. Or, at least, it’s a step-by-step guide to how I write a novel. Because every novelist who also blogs has to write at least one of these posts in their lifetime. Really, it’s in the union regulations.


Step 2: Noodle around and figure out if your idea is novel-worthy.… Your first real challenge is to explore that idea to see if it’s worthy of spending a year or two of your life on. This is not a light decision to make. These characters are going to set up camp in your dreams, they’re going to pop out at you from the side of the road while you’re driving. You’re going to find yourself standing in a 7-11 wondering which flavor of Slurpee your protagonist would choose and how they would pay for it (corporate credit card? cash from wad in pocket? five finger discount?). You need to know if you can live with these people….

Step 5: Structure as you go. Some writers can zip through a draft of a novel by the seat of their pants. Others diligently outline every step their character’s going to take over the next hundred thousand words. It’s likely your process will fall somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. Regardless, you need to have some idea of structure if you expect your novel to work. You might not know what that structure is when you start, and you might change it drastically as you go, but you can’t just expect Frodo and Sam to wander to Mount Doom by themselves. Either they’ll wander around aimlessly or they’ll wind up at the Cracks of Doom at the end of chapter 3, and then your novel will be in big trouble.

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  1. […] which I quite liked.  One of the contributors  David Louis Edelman, a literary sci fi writer http://www.davidlouisedelman.com/writing/how-to-write-a-novel-part-1/ has written  a couple of great articles on “How to Write a Novel”, parts 1 & 2.  […]

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