5 Things I’ve Learned (So Far) While Writing My First Novel

1. Freewriting is fun but when you’re creating a long, complex novel, outlining is your bestfriend. I started writing this novel with just a few basic plot points and as I wrote, I sort of just winged it. The story has since revealed itself to be more complex and longer than I anticipated. I thought it’d be just a novella but this baby is well over 30,000 words and I’m not even halfway done and I’ve taken down notes of more stuff I want to add during the revision process. I believe my writing process wouldn’t be as tedious if I’d created a well thought out outline before hand.

2. It’s best to have more than just a few characters. I’ve fallen in love with my main characters but my main characters need some help conveying the whole story. Since the start of my rough draft, I’ve added about ten new characters to my story. Not every one has a huge role but they are extremely important because they help populate my fictional world, one that I am trying to make as vivid as possible. Not only that, they help with the cohesion of my scenes.

3. Research your supernatural elements. Magic is a prominent theme in my story yet I only knew a few things about the metaphysical details I wanted to apply. If your magic system is closely related to real world practices, do yourself a favor and research as much as you can. Watch Youtube videos, read some books and talk to people. We want our work to be as authentic as necessary.

4. Find a well-seasoned author of your chosen genre and analyze the crap out of their writing. Pay attention to how they set up their fictional world, how they set tone and which literary devices they utilize. I suggest your author of choice be especially inspiring to you.

5. Know your literary conventions. And to know your conventions, you have to identify what genre(s) you’re work best fits into. Romance novels have different attributes than horror or crime novels. These attributes are what define romance and readers buy them expecting some romantic stuff to pop off. My readers will have certain expectations of my supernatural thriller so I have to make sure I deliver (just have to make sure it’s not too predictable or cliche).

I hope these tips have helped. Thank you for reading 🙂

– B. Brown

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