3 Tips for Writing Your Novel

This week I’m at Mami’s house gearing up for the 3-Day Novel Writing Contest.

The name says it all: Contestants from all over the world have 3 days to write an entire novel. (Most entries are between 90 and 120 pages.)

First prize winner gets his/her book published, but I think most people just want the satisfaction of a job well done. Or at least a job done.

Not wanting to psych myself out, I’ve only done a tiny bit of research into how writing a novel works. Here are 3 great novel-writing ideas from fiction experts:

  • The best advice I’ve found so far is from this 2008 post by former literary agent, blogger and now published author Nathan Bransford. He suggests—wait for it—having a plot. Yeah, I snickered too until I read a bit more and realized I didn’t have one. Fortunately, Nathan explains the diff between plot and theme and jumpstarts your outline with a later post called How to Write a Novel.

  • I love this post by Mashable editor, Josh Catone, who recommends harnessing the power of the web to keep track of your characters, plot development and story progression. I wish I’d found this sooner, since I’ve been pretty much outlining the entire epic in my head for the last month. Open source mind-mapping software Josh recommends will definitely come in handy in my consulting work, too.
  • Randy Ingermanson—who randomly happens to hold a Ph.D. in physics from U.C. Berkeley—recommends the Snowflake Method. I’m diggin’ the aesthetic of Randy’s fractal-icious metaphor and will definitely keep it in mind as I develop my story arc.  

So what’s my novel about? That’s for me to know and you to find out… Hint: I think mermaids are going to be the new vampires.

Do you have fantasies of writing the next Great American Novel? Share your story by posting a comment below.

Photo by Sharon Drummond (AKA dolmansaxlil)

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I'm a smart, sassy, globally-mobile freelance writer, content creator, brand journalist and nonprofit storyteller. The world is my office. Email me to find out more.
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