I have always dreamed of being a published writer. The idea of seeing my book in the store shelves with all the other top-selling literary pieces and knowing that my name is embossed across every book gives me chills. (I’m talking about the right kind of chills — not the type that’s caused by hallucinations and makes you need psychologists.) This inspires me to work harder in achieving my dream.
“The sensation of pressure doesn’t have to be negative—it can be a positive challenge and motivating.” –Alicia H. Clark, Psy.D.
Nevertheless, I know that I will not be able to make any progress if I always daydream. I need to write more; I need to create my writing style that readers can appreciate. If you are a regular citizen like me who aspires to be known for his/her outstanding novel, I am going to share some of the tips that I have learned about from various professors and novelists that I have come to know. Read them, breathe them, and flourish to become the best writer that I’m sure you can be.
Know What You Want To Write
Writers are said to be very mysterious people because, really, where do they get the plots that they write about? However, the truth is that they have no secret whatsoever — they happen to know what they want to write about.
As a neophyte in the world of novel writing, ideas will come more natural to you if you are genuinely interested in what you are writing about. Even if it is fiction, it will seem realistic — and not forced — if your heart and mind are both agreeing on the words that effortlessly come out of you.
Learn From The Other Writers
Great writers are avid readers too. Some of the newly published novelists we have just gotten creativeness after reading other writers’ works. Look at E. L. James’ success from her Fifty Shades of Grey book series that continues to gain a lot of popularity worldwide. Probably if not for Twilight series (yes, the one that gave us Edward and Jacob!), she may not have thought of creating Mr. Grey.
I am not telling you to copy what others have done because that will be plagiarism. However, I am telling you to study their writing techniques and then come up with your unique style. If you can do that, you will be one step closer to having a great novel.
Develop Your Characters
You should know the characters in your book more than anyone. It should take place even before you write the actual plot. This way, you will know how to attack the story. As a writer, you are the director, the casting agent, and the screenwriter of this movie-in-paper, so you need to think of all aspects of the book. Nevertheless, I believe that it should be the characters that you spend some time on.
The characters must have a unique personality and problem. Tattooed, brokenhearted men and damsels in distress are already overrated, so the characters in your novel should be different than them.
One thing that I have realized is that you should treat the characters as if they are fascinating people that you have just met. If you are interested to know them, you will want to know more about them, and so you can build their personalities from there. That’s only when you can create a plot around those characters.
“Intellectual wellness is when you recognize your unique talents to be creative and you seek out ways to use your knowledge and skills. When you foster your intellectual wellness, you participate in activities that cultivate mental growth.” –Marjie L. Roddick, MA, NCC, LMHC
Accept Constructive Criticisms
The last thing that may help you immensely on your journey to getting published is to let different people read your manuscript and let them criticize your book. I know how difficult it is to accept others talking negatively about your work. It is comparable to a stranger saying your kid is ugly — totally uncalled for and unacceptable. Despite that, the book is luckily not a living thing, so you can allow other folks to pick it apart and tell you what’s good or bad about it.
Taking constructive criticisms, no matter how hard it is, is essential if you want to improve your skills as a novelist. Your family and friends may become biased, but you can trust strangers to tell you the truth about your book. And you have to let them do that because that’s the only for you to end up with a best-selling one later.
“Acknowledging our own capacity for violence—toward ourselves and others—is the beginning of change for all.” –Karla Helbert, LPC, E-RYT, C-IAYT
I can tell you many things about how you can make your plot, but there is no exact formula for having a successful novel. Originality is the key, and these four tips are what you need to jumpstart your career. Good luck!