So you want to write a novel?

They say that everyone has a book in them.

Is this true?  In my case, yes.  I had an idea for a story rattling around in my brain for years.  The original idea was for it to be a movie.  My idea was for a supernatural thriller that I would love to see on the big screen.  For years I kept the idea to myself.  Not for fear of ridicule.  But because it just never really occured to me to tell anyone.  Until, one night in Barnes and Noble, I came across a magazine called Script.  An article there changed my life. In the article in question, the writer stated that everyone has a story in them.  That resonated with me in a big way.  It prompted me to tell my wife of the story idea that had been rattling in my brain.  She replied, “why don’t you write the novel, then?”  It was like a firework went off in my brain.  Why hadn’t I thought of that myself?  Because it seemed too hard, came the response from my brain.  I doubted I had the ability to write.  I doubted I had the patience to write.  But you don’t know until you try, right?  So I went home and brainstormed the whole story.  And that’s how Psychic Witness was born.

So what does it take to write a novel?

It takes dedication, for one thing.  Writing a novel is a long process.  It’s taken me four years so far to go from concept to editing, which is where I am now.  To be honest, it wouldn’t have taken me half this time if I’d been more dedicated all along.  Sometimes weeks would go by without me writing a single word.  Then I’d get a ‘writer’s kick’ and write several days in a row.  It took me about two and a half years to write the first draft.  How long will it take you?  Well, that depends on you.  You might write your novel in six months or less.  Or you might take a few years, too.  How much time can you dedicate to writing?   You also have to have a rudimentary knowledge of the rules of grammar.  If you’re a bit rusty on that, there are plenty of websites that can refresh your memory.  In my case, it had been many years since I’d been to school.  I caught up pretty quickly, though.

Does writing have to be lonely?

 The life of a writer can seem to be a lonely business.  After all, only you can write your story.  But you don’t necessarily have to be alone all the time. There is a thriving writers’ community on the internet.   There are so many websites, blogs, groups and associations out there dedicated to writing that you don’t need to ever feel alone.  One of the first websites I came across was www.absolutewrite.com.  This site is huge.  Not only that, it has threads on every writerly subject you could ever want.  Don’t want to write a whole novel?  That’s okay.  There are sections on short stories, poetry, games, music.  You name it, it’s there.  Also, Facebook and Twitter have loads of writers on them.  You just have to know where to look for them.  You can always look me up on Twitter.  @PsychicWitness.  I’ll happily talk to any fellow writers.

Where do you get your ideas from?

Look around you.  Ideas are everywhere.  Watch the news.  Read newspapers.  Read books.  Watch television.  Everywhere you turn, you are presented with ‘what if’ ideas.  You just have to let your imagination run wild.  Every story you hear, or see, has the potential to go down different paths.  What would you like to see happen?  What interests you?  There’s your story.

So if you’ve ever had the thought ‘I could write a novel’, or if you have that idea that would make a great novel or movie, sit down and decide what you want to write.  And just do it.  Don’t be afraid, or feel it would be too much for you.  You never know until you try.

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2 thoughts on “So you want to write a novel?

  1. I started my novel in 2008 and, like you, went periods of time without touching it…I regret that because I believe it would be complete by now. It’s a challenge for me because I’m so used to writing non-fiction. Sometimes I feel like I need two brains!

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