Tiffany Lauren Preston
A E Ring
I'm late to this question, but hopefully this will be helpful anyway.
Your first novel is going to be one big experiment, because they are a hundred ways you can go about it, and you won't know what actually works for you until you do it.
Here's what works for me.
I start with characters. They are the jumping-off point for my story. Usually I hear them talk in my head, or maybe I hear a conversation between two of them. From there, I get an idea of their story.
Start by writing down their conversation. Or if it's just one character, write a scene describing what that character is doing and thinking. That will start the journey.
For my first three novels, I just wrote from there. I didn't have a grand plan, and the ideas just came to me as I wrote. If you're an avid reader, you probably already have an instinct about the way a story should flow — chapters contain scenes, each scene ends on a mini-cliffhanger or Aha! moment.
I suggest getting Scrivener, which is software that helps organize your writing. It's much easier to use than Word (which will have you scrolling through hundreds of pages looking for things) — you write each scene into its own file, then you can easily move them around or navigate to them.
You'll hear lots of different advice, like, "Just keep writing! Don't go back and edit until you get it all out!" To me, that's a recipe for disaster. I always go back and read anything I wrote in a previous session, do little edits, and then begin writing again.
Or, "Make a detailed outline." Outlines have never worked for me. I am a pantser, not a plotter. I just let the story unfold as I write. But again, you'll have to find what works for you.
Don't let anyone tell you "You have to do it this way!" Sure, try out something you hear about, but discard it if it doesn't work for you.
Good luck! I hope you've made lots of progress!
Is it set in the past, the present or the future? Because each one affects how you set about writing really.
If you have any short stories or poems getting them out there is perhaps step one. Try anna-trowbridgeATLA@hotmail.com — a publisher taking on only new writers and untapped talent.
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