Wednesday, June 24, 2015

How to Write a Novel

1. Come up with a great idea for a story. Or maybe only half an idea. Or maybe just a character you like and you'll figure out the story along the way. Don't overthink it or overanalyze it. Let it grow and blossom for a while.

2. Lose sleep while listening to your character talk or devising ways to make your character suffer or asking all sorts of "what if" questions.

3. Sit down at your computer and write a thousand words.

4. Repeat step 3 sixty times.

5. Hate everything you just wrote.

6. Hide from it for a while. Convince yourself you suck at writing.

7. Open that folder up and look at all the bloody carnage that is your first draft.

8. Take a deep breath.

9. Focus on the strengths.

10. Get real about the weaknesses.

11. Rewrite the entire, bloody thing, but better this time.

12. Send off your now sparkling pile of not so stinky poop of a second draft to critique partners who love you, but also don't see you on a daily basis and aren't afraid to completely rip your heart out of it's chest.

13. Read their feedback.

14. Take a deep breath.

15. Cry into a pillow.

16. Fix everything, cut without mercy, rewrite problem sections, create whole new scenes and chapters, tweak motivations, sharpen voice.

17. Send out new, much more sparkly, hardly stinky at all manuscript to beta readers.

18. Repeat steps 13-16 until you either

    a) can't look at your book without throwing up
    b) are told there's nothing left to fix.

19. Line Edit. Correct all punctuation, grammar, cut unnecessary words, chop all filters, format correctly, add a title page and page numbers.

20. Write a query letter and realize all over again how much you hate your book.

21. Send out query letter to agents.

22. Get your dreams stomped on daily.

23. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait.

24. Write another book.

25. Repeat steps 1-24 until you either
      a) die
      b) puke whenever you sit down to write
      c) get an agent and get published. Then you only have to repeat steps 1-19.