7 Tips For Writing Your First Novel

7 Tips For Writing Your First Novel, guest post by William R. Leibowitz. Includes giveaway!

7 Tips For Writing Your First Novel, guest post by William R. Leibowitz. Includes giveaway!
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1.   Prepare as highly detailed an outline as possible.  This will save you a great deal of time in the long-run because you’ll cut-down on the wasted effort of writing portions of the book which land-up being discarded because they don’t fit in structurally.  The more detail that’s contained in the outline—the better.  It’s easier to fine-tune, revise and develop an outline than the full-fledged prose of the novel.   If the outline isn’t compelling –the novel won’t be either.  This is the method that television writers use when teams of writers on a show “brain storm” each episode of a TV show; they map out all of the salient details of plot, action development and character development and once they’re satisfied, they sit down and write the script—this same process is valid for writing a novel.  This doesn’t mean that your novel won’t deviate from the outline as you go through the process of actually writing the book; it’s natural for the novel to change and evolve as you write, but having a detailed outline as a start gives you the “good bones” to build upon.

2. Once you have the final outline in hand, it’s time to start writing the book.  The hardest thing to do is to write that very first sentence.  Just do it.   The sentences to follow will get easier as you immerse yourself in the process.  And soon, you’ll find that you are getting into “the rhythm of writing.” 

3.   Take your time—writing a novel isn’t a race.  What counts is the quality—not the speed.

4.  Let people whom you respect among your family and friends, edit your “work in progress” once you are happy with it.  Do this on a regular basis –i.e., every seven or eight chapters, rather than waiting until you finish the novel. Take their comments and criticisms seriously because they are a gauge of what the public will think—except the public will likely be less sympathetic.  Remember that you are writing a novel to connect with many people –so it does you no good to take a “superior attitude” and assume that you’re right and your “ordinary reader critics” are wrong.  You don’t have to pander to public tastes, but unless you’re writing the book just for yourself – you need to be cognizant of what others think of your efforts.

5. When you read portions of your writing out loud –do they sound really good to you?  If they don’t —then your re-writing efforts are not over.  You need to be impressed with your writing.  If you’re not –then no one else will be.

6.  When you read the emotional parts of your novel to yourself –do they really move you and connect with you viscerally?  If not –then your re-writing efforts are not over.

7.  Remember that the words you write and publish, won’t go away.  They are not ephemeral like talking.  These words will live on---somewhere –whether in print or on the internet.  So ask yourself the question—and answer it honestly:  “Are you truly satisfied with what you have written?”  You’re not finished until you’re proud of what you’ve written and believe that it is the best you can do.  Your work represents who you are or who you want to be.

7 Tips For Writing Your First Novel, guest post by William R. Leibowitz. Includes giveaway!
William R. Leibowitz practices law internationally and prefers not spending too much time in any one place. He is a graduate of New York University and Columbia University Law School.

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