I can’t remember how many times people have told me they would write a novel if they had time.
Serious authors, published or unpublished, find time.
It is important to establish a routine. I recommend an achievable schedule, fifteen minutes or more a day, a fixed period at the weekends, or writing a set number of words every day.
If you have an idea, don’t dream about writing. Begin with the first sentence and continue to the end. After you reach it, revise and edit the drafts until the final one, in the correct format, is ready to submit to an agent or publisher. If it is rejected, don’t be discouraged, either polish your novel or begin a new one.
I wrote eight novels before Tangled Love was accepted. By then, I knew more about how to write. I revised five of my earlier novels, each of which were accepted for publication.
Whatever you write requires self-discipline and determination. Suppose you want to write a 75,000 word novel. If you write 1,000 words a day you will finish the first draft in 75 days. If you write 500 words a day you will finish it in 150 days.
No matter how good our ideas are, we need to master the art of writing.
For example, in the following sentence, I tell the reader what happened.
‘Zoe was crying because she fell over and scraped her knees.’
In the revised sentence, I show the reader what happened.
‘Zoe, raced down the hill after her ball. She ran faster, slipped and scraped her knees on the pavement. Blood poured down her legs. She burst into tears.”
Our first drafts require revision in which we show instead of telling. I also check the spelling and grammar, and, to avoid repetition, use the following words with caution. As, as if, has, has been, had, had been, very, was, said, was and were. I highlight them throughout the novel, click onto each one, and then decide whether or not to rewrite a phrase or a sentence. Next, I make sure I am not repeating words or phrases. For example, when editing a final a draft, I realised my characters cleared their throats too often before they spoke, that I frequently described the expressions in their eyes, and the hero and heroine smiled repeatedly.
Whether you write literary fiction or genre fiction research is important. We shouldn’t take anything for granted. If I get a fact wrong a reader might lose faith in me.
With regard to fantasy fiction, the world we create must be believable.
Books on How To Write, Writing Magazines, Courses and Workshops for Writers, a Writer’s Circle, which meets regularly and offers constructive criticism, and or an online critique group are helpful.
It isn’t enough for us to have a good idea for an article, a poem, a short story, novella or novel, we need to write to the best of our ability.
I belong to Watford Writers, in Hertfordshire, which meets on Monday evenings, and am grateful to members, who give me encouragement and make helpful suggestions
Finally, enjoy writing.