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How to Write a Novel

A novel is specifically a book meant to tell a story, a narrative. There are additional steps and considerations for writing a novel on top of the steps for writing book. You can look up steps for How to Write a Book before returning here for specific tips on writing a novel.

Choose a Point-of-View

Consider the Point-of-View you will use when telling your story, the perspective by which readers will experience it, other characters and the events that will unfold.

Will you use First Person? This point-of-view tells the story as experienced directly by a character. This can provide an in-depth outlook, vibrantly colored by a character’s thoughts and opinions. There is also a great deal of fun to be had with First Person if the narrating protagonist’s flaws make them miss or overlook things. Second Person is not often used, but done correctly really puts the reader in the seat of a protagonist. Third Person is most commonly used, allowing for easier navigation from one character’s perspective to another as well as including wider details for the reader’s perspective.

Whichever you choose, be consistent throughout the novel otherwise you risk confusing and alienating readers.

Have a Protagonist(s)

Having a protagonist (or more than one) is vital to a novel. Not only does it provide the primary point-of-view but done correctly it provides the emotional connection for readers as well as the lens through which readers perceive the story’s world, events, and people. If you have multiple protagonists, make sure they come from different backgrounds and have different outlooks on the world they all interact with, especially if they have differing perceptions of the same things. You can even have a villainous protagonist. The ‘hero of the story’ doesn’t necessarily have to be a hero so long as there is enough within the protagonist to which readers can relate and connect.

Have a Conflict

The core of any story is conflict. The clash between ‘what is’ and ‘what the protagonist wants.’ Conflict creates drama and tension, drives actions and decisions, and imposes obstacles upon the protagonist.

Conflict comes in many forms, usually described as one or a combination of:

  • Man vs Man - wherein the protagonist struggles against another person or being with goals and objectives that run contrary to the protagonist’s.
  • Man vs the World - wherein the protagonist struggles against circumstances, societal pressures, and the status quo. There is no single enemy or foe to defeat or outthink, but obstacles nonetheless to overcome.
  • Man vs Self - wherein the protagonist struggles against themselves, their inner demons and their flaws. The outcome of such a conflict hopefully being self-realization and personal growth.

Have a Beginning, Middle & End

What distinguishes a novel, a story from any other book is having a Beginning, Middle, and End. There are variations but ultimately any story has these three components:

  • The Beginning- when the protagonist and the problem the protagonist must solve are introduced. Often so are at least some of the antagonistic forces a protagonist will face.
  • The Middle - during which the protagonist struggles to resolve the problem while faced with opposing forces (an antagonist, societal forces or personal flaws, perhaps a mix of all three).
  • The End - The problem that has been central to the novel, the predominant conflict throughout the story, has been resolved chiefly due to actions and decisions of the protagonist. If you want you can imply a larger problem that caused or was caused by events in the story, but never leave a predominant plot-thread hanging.

After using these tips and the Steps from How to Write a Book your book is ready to publish. Contact iUniverse or follow these steps from How to Publish a Book to put your novel into print.

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