writing a novel for the first time

How To Start Writing A Novel For Beginners: 8 Step Process


A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people. Don’t be shocked when I say this. “For his words did not come in a rush; they came with such pathetic slowness, considering the man was a writer by trade, you would have drawn the conclusion, watching him, that a writer is one to whom writing comes harder than to anybody else”. These words were written by the Nobel Prize Winning German Novelist ‘Thomas Mann’ in his novel ‘Tristan’. Mann revealed that the statement applied to the writers generally.

You may already have an idea but struggling on how to start writing a novel. Well, that’s the problem with most writers and we will try to address it in this article. There is no doubt that writing is the hardest thing and one needs to have great discipline, persistence and commitment to write.To be clear, there are no shortcuts or formulas which makes your writing easy. Whether you are writing a novel for the first time or even 100th time, you still have to go through the struggle.

So you might be thinking, what can I learn from here? You can go through the fundamental steps on how to start writing a novel for beginners and also get some novel writing tips.

How To Start Writing A Novel For Beginners

how to start writing a novel for beginners

Writing a book requires a lot of patience and passion for the story. Follow these steps to start writing a novel:

  1. Create a good environment around you for writing. You have to dedicate a space just for writing.
  2. Make a list of all the required tools for writing and assemble them in one place. (board, marker, sticky notes, paper clips, etc). A good writer can write anywhere so don’t waste time looking for things which aren’t available.
  3. Make use of paper notes or digital notes to write all your ideas and break it down into small parts.
  4. Give yourself a daily target for writing.Writing requires you to sit down and spend time alone so stay away even from gadgets and social media.
  5. If you are not able to achieve the daily target, try reducing the target accordingly and be consistent.
  6. Don’t rush while you write because quality is our priority and not speed.
  7. Try recollecting the ideas or story in your mind even when you aren’t writing. You never know when new ideas come into your head.
  8. Do your research before you start writing a novel and look for other’s work in fictional stories for ideas.

Novel Writing Format:

novel writing format
  1. We need to use 8.5 by 11–inch (standard US letter-size) paper with one-inch margins on all the sides with 12 point Times New Roman as the text font in black colour.
  2. Put the author’s surname along with a short title of your book, and a page number in the upper-right corner of every page except the title page.
  3. Set alignment to left and make sure it’s unjustified.
  4. Use a single space after periods and double-spaced line spacing for all the pages in the book.
  5. Indent all your paragraphs by 0.5 inches and use page breaks when writing a new chapter. 
  6. Whichever format you write your book, make sure to save or send the file to the editor in .doc or .docx format that will be easy for editing.

Now, you know how to start writing a novel. However, writing a novel may take months or even years. It will come if it is there and if you let it come. The passion for the story will keep you going.

Tips and Ideas For Writing A Novel:

ideas for writing a novel

Lets jump into a few important tips and ideas for writing a novel that will help you in keeping the reader’s mind engaged. It might look writing a novel is similar to writing a screenplay for a movie but they are fundamentally different because how it is consumed by the audience or reader is not same.

Don’t Settle For A Small Idea:

A novel should contain a minimum of 40,000 words. The idea of your story should be vast and have no limitations. You can discuss the idea with your friends and see if you are able to explore it more. Most of the writers have the habit of writing an outline before starting the work and thinking within the outline. However, if you have reached an end point, you need to go out of the box and think beyond your outline. The outline later can be changed accordingly. Don’t limit your thinking while writing a novel.

We have another type of writer, Pantser. These writers are the ones who write by the seat of their pants. They just travel with the characters and see where it leads them. The story changes its direction based on the characters or their imagination.

The Beginning:

Opening of the novel is the most important element in the novel. Ensure that you have a great starting for your story. You can choose one of the below elements to start your novel with:

  • Surprise
  • Dramatic
  • Philosophical
  • Poetic

Beginning your novel with any of the above elements will help you grab the readers by the throat from the start.

Fill Your Story With Conflict And Tension:

The readers would definitely love a pleasant day, good atmosphere, and beautiful life. However, only if something unusual happens, it attracts the reader’s attention. Don’t forget to put as many conflicts and tensions into your main character or protagonist’s life. 

Force the main character to go through some hardest situations.Try to make things worse for the protagonist and which later helps the character become heroic. The more hopeless you make the protagonist’s situation, the more powerful the ending can be. When the right situation arrives, make the hero achieve his goals and release the audience from the tension.

Creating Unforgettable Characters:

Creating unforgettable characters in your story will leave a larger impact on your readers. For this, you need to bring authenticity into the character starting from the name. Instead of just telling the emotion of your characters, try describing the reaction of the characters that will trigger the reader’s own imagination. 

Have you ever wondered why some stories in books are way more interesting compared to the ones on the silver-screen.(Ex: Harry Potter). It’s because of the experience given by the author about the characters and the world around which will make the reader develop an imagination of their own.

Don’t Let Your Story Fade-Out In The Middle:

writing a book

Most of the writers have a good opening and great ending in their minds, but fail to create a great scene in the middle of the story. Falling short of scenes and thirst of getting to the end, they try to drag a scene or situation which could make your reader feel bored and eventually feel asleep.

We need to remember this,every line or sentence of the novel from beginning to end should make the reader curious and excited to know what happens next. The middle of the story should be as interesting as the starting. You may even get frustrated at times.

If you are one of those wondering how can I make money writing a book? You will either sell your book on your blog or get your book published. In the second case, you need to approach a publisher after completing your novel. The publisher might judge your work just by reading one or two pages so we have to ensure that there shouldn’t be even a single dull moment in your writing.

The Ending:

Ending is one of the most important and most time consuming processes in writing a novel. As you approach towards the ending, you may have multiple endings and might be confused which one to finalise. Take your own time to visualise the different endings as a reader and see which one makes you feel more emotional. There is nothing greater as such than the emotion which can move the reader.

Learn To Edit Ruthlessly:

Learn to separate the writing and editing process. As you write daily, the editing too needs to be done simultaneously and aggressively. While you are writing, don’t think of the editing process or the turn off of your internal editor. At the same time, when you are editing, turn off your internal writer. If something doesn’t excite you as a reader, you need to ruthlessly remove it.

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