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During our lives, most of us have experienced a few novel-worthy moments. As we approach retirement age, some of us contemplate turning our ideas and experiences into novels.
Though writing a book is a highly labor-intensive process, the rewards of writing a compelling story are endless.
Whether you're looking to publish a fantasy novel or transcribe an autobiographical tome for your family, these tips will help you get started with writing a book.
Motivation is the biggest factor separating wannabe-writers from published novelists. If you're looking for inspiration, consider the many great authors whose first novels were published after the age of 50. Bram Stoker didn't write Dracula until he was 50. Anna Sewell only succeeded in getting Black Beauty published at the age of 57. Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote Little House on the Prairie during her retirement. Realize that "breakout novels" can be written by authors of any age.
For optimal success, schedule tight deadlines for yourself. Set a daily word count and stick to it. If you need some extra motivation, consider participating in a novel-writing event like National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which encourages new and experienced authors to write 50,000 words during the month of November.
Set aside time for writing every day. Start early in the day and write for an hour or two. If you're prone to distraction, set up a quiet working environment and unplug your router. You'll be much more likely to succeed if you are able to focus exclusively on your work.
Write from the Heart
A well-written novel comes from an author who is passionate about his or her subject matter. Write a book that you would want to read. Don't pick a literary genre simply based on what you think will sell. If you love reading historical fiction novels, try writing one yourself. You will find that it's much easier to write a book if you enjoy the story you're telling.
If you're struggling to come up with characters or conflict for your novel, draw inspiration from your life and your experiences. Think about books that have thrilled you in the past. What were the characters like and what sort of things did they experience? If you have no idea where to begin, try practicing with some creative writing prompts. By providing you with an opening scenario, these prompts are guaranteed to get your creative juices flowing.
When developing your novel's characters, be sure to give them realistic flaws. Even if your story is set in a fantasy world, your characters should face plausible obstacles. A new challenge or conflict should be present in every chapter. Whether you're writing a romance novel or a mystery thriller, your characters should be experiencing growth and change throughout each chapter of your book.
Publish Your Work
Though not every novel needs to be published, many aspiring authors dream of someday seeing their work in print. Though there is often fierce competition in the world of publishing, writers today have an especially wide array of publishing options to choose from.
If you're not looking to be published professionally, you may still wish to print a few copies of your novel for family members and friends. There are a number of websites that offer fast and easy services for authors who are looking to self-publish their books. Once you have your book edited and formatted, you can use such a site to produce hardcover or paperback copies of your book.
If you're looking for an especially cost-effective way to publish your book, consider releasing it as an eBook. There are many free or low-cost websites that can help you with the digital publication process. Tablet, smartphone, and eReader users will all be able to download and read your novel.
If you're serious about seeing your book sold in stores, you will probably want to send your manuscript to traditional publishing companies. Though you may face lots of rejection, persistent authors often find success after many attempts. If you're looking to get your very first novel published, you may benefit from contacting small, up-and-coming publishing houses. Many young publishing companies can be found online. These firms are generally much more willing to consider first-time authors. Some smaller firms even offer authors cash rewards for their work.
Though writing a novel is far from easy, it can certainly be done. With a lot of motivation and a few excellent ideas, you too can publish a great debut novel.
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