Do you want to write a book? Do you have no idea where to start?
You’re not going to get a perfect answer for how to start your project. Not here! Not anywhere! But these steps can guide you and help you figure out a thing or two. The most consistent question everybody has when it comes to writing a novel is what to do before starting. What are the pre-production steps? In this article, we will see what to do before starting with writing a novel.
You can watch this video that simplifies the blog if you want. Else continue reading!
1. Deciding on a plot idea- plot idea is just your story’s baseline or what your story is about. This is the first step before deciding to publish your book.
2. Deciding on the genre- This is a very important step so you could learn the current trends and other features that are preferred by readers of the genre. It is not only important for your plot idea, writing, and pacing. It also helps you to know your target audience. Knowing your target audience helps. Though you don’t have to fit in within one genre it is always better to know.
3. Deciding on the theme of the story- The theme is what your story wishes to establish for the readers through the story. The theme is the truth your reader discovers once completing your story like the moral of moral stories.
4. Deciding on a story structure to follow- Story structure is a definitive structure that is seen in many well-known books/movies. Some of the story structures include- a 3-Act story structure, Fichtean curve, 7-point structure, etc. The story structure helps you shape your plot better with all the proper ups and downs. It helps you improve your plot definitively. But if you are a panster, this step is not necessary.
5. Deciding on characters- decide your characters, their names, their purpose, and their arc. Again you can decide on the level of planning based on your preferred writing style.
6. Deciding on the plot based on the story structure chosen- This is to match your plot idea and define it based on the story structure you have chosen. Your plot idea needs to have a proper story structure with ups and downs and with a promising character journey. This way the readers feel connected to your story and your book becomes bing-worthy. For pantsers here’s a quick tip- write everything that comes to your mind. You will know when the story ends. After that, while editing we can try to see if our story fits into story structure beats.
7. Setting publishing goals and deadlines- Without doing this your book will always be a work-in-progress. Having a goal to do before the deadline makes you just like the protagonist of your story!
8. Deciding on important details about the book as follows:
Setting– it is the place at which the events of the story is happening. This helps you to make your story, specific and culturally appropriate. Do your research beforehand!
Time period- The time period of your story is important to make your story, specific and correct for the time you have chosen. It can be medieval or distant future or contemporary.
Title of the story- The title of the story is the first introduction to your book on any platform. Selecting an attractive and relative title for your book is important.
The flow of the story –The flow of your story can be linear or non-linear or can include time jumps. Defining it beforehand and if needed making a timeline with years/months with important events will help.
Tense– Tense is the narrative tense of the story. As an author, you need to choose a tense you’re comfortable writing in.
Narrative– The narrative of your story can be first-person or third-person or other options you feel comfortable with. This is important because in your narrative you have both restrictions and freedom to write the events happening in the story. Choose the narrative based on the way you wish to present your story to the readers. The narrative affects the way in which you present your story.
9. Researching on topics less familiar with- Researching is a key step because research helps you to make your story less flawed. It gives readers a realistic feel when you do proper research and write the story with factually and logically correct information.
10. Planning on twists, details about the characters, RED HERRINGS/misleads- Your story can be of any genre. But as an author, most of us try to surprise or shock our readers. So planning on twists /misleads, and where to place them along the story is very important. The details about the character that will later become very useful are also something similar to twists. It would be better if you planned where to place the information so that it is not very suspicious for the reader. This kind of planning will make sure the readers are surprised. Red herrings are something that misleads or distracts from a relevant or important question. This is done mostly in murder mystery to frame the innocent as a suspect to give a final twist at the end of the book.
11. Brainstorming on details like
Characteristics- is the nature of your character.
Fashion sense- the way the characters dress.
Catch-phrase-which is nothing but some kind of dialogue that characters repeat on similar occasions or as a joke or as sarcasm.
Appearance-Physical look of the character.
Personality types of characters- Personality type can be decided for characters to help us to know how our characters will act in any given situation. There is an MBTI personality test, ENNEAGRAM personality type, and others available online. Use it to know more about your own characters.
12. Starting a ‘write a novel’ course in Coursera- This is completely optional. But I felt as though the course pushes me in the right direction and helps me know the next step when I feel clueless. I also get comments from other writers. It is free if you opt out of certification.
13. Forming readers community– You need to form a community of readers who will help you know what is good and bad about your story. This also builds the community which might be interested to buy your books when you start your career.
14. Connection with editors, agents, bookclubs, industry people- Connecting with these people will help you stay on track and know more about the industry you’re getting into. Connecting with the right people will help you throughout the journey.
15. Saving up money– This is optional. But when you save some money, you can spend it on certain necessary things like researching, or getting editors for manuscripts, or in case you decide to self-publish. You don’t need a lot of money. But saving up some always helps.
16. Deciding to get through with it no matter the result– This is the most important step. If you’re not ready to get through with it regardless of the result then there is a chance you won’t reach the end line- that is publishing your book.
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