|Photo credit: Sharon Drummond on Flickr|
It seems that everyone is writing a novel (or planning to/thinking about writing one) these days. With the age of personal computers and other computing devices booming, it’s not uncommon to hear about so-and-so’s Aunt Gilberta who’s going to write a soon-to-be bestselling novel about her enlightenment on the human condition.
But for every writer who is toiling away at their computers every day, pouring their heart and soul into their manuscripts, there are many more staring at their computer screens, wondering where to start.
And thusly I introduce to you fifteen easy steps to writing a novel:
- Open up a Word (or other word processing document). Once opened, stare at the abyss that is the blank, white screen for at least a full minute. Think about the enormous task you have ahead of you and how you have to fill not only one of these screens, but somewhere around 300 of them. Stare some more.
- Check Twitter. And Facebook. And tumblr. And Twitter again. Spend at least an hour checking your feed and reblogging/retweeting/sharing interesting/funny/adorable posts with your fellow followers/fans/friends. The last thing you want is to neglect your social media presence while working on the book.
- Check your e-mail. You forgot to check it in step two. It’s ok. Nobody’s perfect.
- Stare at the blank document again. Crack your fingers (if you do that sort of thing). Stretch a little and run your fingers over the keyboard. Breathe.
- Decide you’re hungry. How are you supposed to write if all you can think about is food? Go treat yourself to a Starbucks. Or a brownie. Or whatever suits your fancy.
- Call your Mother and tell her about the amazing book you’re writing. Hell, call all of your relatives and tell them about it. Oh, and that girl you used to talk to in high school—she should know, too. In fact, why don’t you post about it on Facebook? Then everyone will know about your masterpiece.
- Pack up your laptop and bring it to the nearest café. That’s what writers do, right? They bring their laptops to cafés and crank out works of literary genius.
- Check your Twitter and e-mail again. It’s been too long since you last checked it. What if the Twittersphere had collapsed in your absence and left a horrible, gaping black hole on the internet that sucked everything else into it? Oh, it’s still there? Good. Carry on.
- Stare at the blank document again (again). This time it’s real. You can feel it—the inspiration is reaching towards you through the coffee-saturated air and jazzy music. The people are all watching. The next words you write will go down in history as pure genius.
- Write the title. Aha! You’ve started! And the title—its sheer brilliance brings tears to your eyes.
- Write “Chapter 1.” Ok, ok we’re getting somewhere. Chapter 1. Now the first words, those beautiful first words…
- Type “It was a dark and stormy night…” All brilliant novels start on a dark and stormy night.
- Stare at
the (not) blank document. Drink some coffee. Stare some more. Type a
sentence and delete it. Type “the” and delete it. It must be perfect, perfect…
- Realize you’re hungry again. I mean, it’s dinner time so you should probably go home and eat, right? Right.
- Congratulate yourself on a hard day’s work. No one really writes more than a couple sentences a day anyway. Besides, you can’t rush genius.
And that’s all there is to it.
What steps would you add to the NOT list and what (real) tips do you have for novel-writing?