Monday, June 6, 2011

Let's Get Going

So, you want to write a novel and feel you have a good story to tell. That's great. Now, let's make sure you're ready to start writing it.

As you know, all stories must have a beginning, a middle, and an end. The story must also have a climax. Throughout the novel, you must enclose conflict and action. Throw in some suspense and you pretty much have it, right? Maybe.

Why not be sure? What if you make beginning your novel a bit more structured by creating an outline. If you have an outline to follow chances are you won't get side-tracked from your main point or forget to make use of all the important aspects your novel needs to be a well-rounded successful story.

As you begin to write your outline, you'll want to keep several essential tips in mind. Author Sol Stein, in How To Grow A Novel, lists them:

1 What does your protagonist want?
2 Is it a desire that readers will be able to understand or identify with?
3 Who or what is in your protagonist's way? (Who will be more dramatic.)
4 Write a character sketch of each of the main players that has much more detail than you are likely to use.
5 Get into the skin of characters who are different from you.
6 Why would you want to spend a lot of time in the company of the person you are choosing as your protagonist?
7 How do your characters view each other? Write a short paragraph about each character's view of the virtues, faults, and follies of the other important characters. Save these paragraphs for referral and guidance.
8 Which character's point of view will dominate?
9 How are you planning to hook the reader's attention on page one?
10 Consider starting with a scene that is already underway.
11 What are the dramatic conflicts you intend to let the reader see in each chapter?

When you've completed your outline and Mr. Stein's checklist, you're on your way to creating a well-rounded successful story. Having the outline and tips handy, you should be able to remain focused on the main points you want to tell and make use of the significant facets your novel needs.

How do you begin your novels? Do you follow an outline or begin writing and structure later?

1 comment:

  1. Great list of questions to look at during the early stages of a novel (because if you wait til later, you have to revise LOL). I usually have a general outline when I start, because I like to have the structure in place; it allows me to be more free as I write. :)