by Melinda Dawika
Do you have an idea that you feel you could turn into a novel? I personally believe that each one of us has the ability to write a great story if we put our minds to it. We are all born with creativity and untapped talent that is waiting to burst forth. Most of us have to deal with similar situations in life, which ultimately gives us the inspiration that we need to write a great novel. The most important aspects of a novel are the plot, characters, location, genre and structure. The plot is more significant, and drives the story along.
Firstly, start with a summary or synopsis of the story. This will enable you to build your story step by step and give you a structure. Consider the beginning of your story as well as the middle and the end. Your story needs to flow and make sense as the plot develops.
Deciding early on whether your story will be written in the first or the third person will greatly influence your story. Writing in the third person as opposed to first person will give you more control over your story, as the viewpoint will be from many different characters and not just one character, as in the case of the first person.
The best way to decide which genre you want to write about is to evaluate the type of books that you normally like to read. You don't have to stick to this pattern, but it will be easier for you to get started writing your novel if you already have an interest in the subject matter. This will also help you to determine the types of characters you want to create in your story. If you are writing a Mills and Boon romance, for example, your hero and heroine might be a young care-free couple who are only concerned about their desires and their relationship with one another. The same couple would certainly not fit into a children's novel. The genre, characters and plot should go hand in hand. There are different types of genres to choose from: crime, romance, short stories, children's, women's, mysteries, thrillers, science fiction, and so on...
One of the keys to writing a novel successfully is understanding and knowing your main characters and how they fit into your plot. Writing down a little background information about each of them will enable you to figure out what drives each character and what prompts them to do the things they do throughout the novel. Writing down information such as: names, race, eye and hair colour, gender, where they live, their occupation, their age, their hobbies, their relationship towards each other, including dilemmas in their past and present, will help you shape the novel. Gathering information like this early on will help you to bring your story and characters to life. Sometimes authors find that their characters take on a life of their own completely changing the original plot!
When constructing your chapters, perhaps you could start out with an introduction to your main character and give some background information about any problems they may have that need to be solved. Make your first page exciting or else your readers will lose interest.
The location or setting of your story is very important to capture the imagination. Try and visit the place you are writing about, if that is not possible then do some research on the area. Also take into account as to whether your novel is based on the past, the present or the future.
When coming to the end of your story, make sure that all the loose ends are tied up and that you have left yourself and the reader with a satisfying ending.
Writing a novel takes time, effort and patience. The best thing to do before you start is to read as many of your favourite novels as you can. This will help you to analyse the novels and break them down into sections, so that you can get a proper understanding of how novels are structured. Choose your favourite novel and scrutinize each chapter. Look for the climax in the story. Create your own climax in your own novel and see how it works.
There will be days when you get writer's block, and you just don't feel like writing anything - keep pushing yourself. Even if you can't think of anything to write and find yourself just staring blankly at your computer - have a rest and start again later. If you are persistent, you'll get there. Be realistic, and don't set your goals too high. If you have made a commitment to write five pages a day, then try your best to stick to that. But remember writing should be fun and not a burden. Keep going and you'll have your novel finished in no time.
Melinda is an author and blogger from England who is passionate about fiction and internet marketing, specializing in women's health.