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Writing That First Novel

Don’t Hold Tightly to Your Expectations

When I started writing my first novel, I imagined that it would be a linear process.  I would get a notebook and a pen, write a few short character sketches and a synopsis, and then write the story from start to finish.  Hahahaha… What grand delusions.  If only fiction writing was that simple and straight forward.

Looking back at the journey to complete my first novel, the road is a winding mass of moving forward and circling back over and over again.  It is littered with abandoned ideas, unfinished characters, and mountains of research.  There are words everywhere.  Forgotten, passed over, or left behind because they were attached to partial drafts that got pushed to the side (because you should never throw any of your ideas away).

Writing a fiction novel is not pretty, and it is not for the faint of heart.

Learn From Others

Before you go out and buy books and software to start you on your path, go to Google.  There are online writing communities and blogs that you can access for free.  It is important to keep in mind that the benefits of writing communities and blogs complement each other.  A writing community can be your greatest asset, so choose wisely.  It connects you to other writers for feedback and support, but you will only get out of it what you put into it.  Before you join, look around and make sure you pick one that works best for you. I like Wattpad, but there are many others like FictionPress and FanFiction.

Blogs are great resources for digging deep into the craft of writing.  A few of my favorites are Alicia RasleyWriter’s Digest, and Ink and Quills. There are links at the top of Alicia Rasley’s site that will take you a couple of posts on writing, including the current Article of the Month.  The posts are filled with solid advice but don’t overlook the archive for Article of the Month.  It will be linked further down the page in the left-hand navigation.  It takes a little effort, but it is worth it.

Also, don’t overlook your local library.  The place is filled with books you can check out for free.  Many libraries even offer a way to access ebooks and audiobooks from home.

Don’t Give Up

In fiction writing, does the protagonist give up on what they want when it seems there is no hope?  No.  That would be a terrible story.  They assess their reality, reframe their perspective, and move forward with fresh insight and renewed determination.  They don’t give up and neither should you.  Learn what you write.

Be open.  Be fearless.  Be persistent.

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