- Know your book before you start writing it. I know many people say just start writing, but you will soon burn out and not know what to write next. Try outlining the plot and establishing basic character guidlines. For the plotting, I choose to just use Excel and list what’s going to happen. For the characters, either have them firmly in your mind (what they look like, who they act like, how they talk, what clothes they wear, what their opinions or feelings are about different things, how they express emotions, etc.) or write stuff down about them. This planning may be the most important part about writing. (Also, if you are writing a novel that requires research about a foreign setting or something, research that and write information down as soon as possible.)
- Dialogue. It can help spark conflict and tension.
- Pacing. To keep the book moving forward, try summarizing things, dialogue, and action. To make the book move along slowly, use exposition, description, and flashbacks.
- Feel free to experiment with your voice. This has helped me. If you read one part of your story and don’t like it, try it all over again on a separate sheet of paper or another Word document. Try using more or less dialogue, description, making a character seem more vulnerable or harmful, etc. This is hard to make yourself break out of your normal shell of writing voice, but it can be fun to see what your potential is.
- Never give up. If you have planned your story well enough (as I stated in part 1), you will be able to get something out of this story. If it’s bad, don’t erase it, but try again. (Just keep the old version handy in case you still want to insert one of the good parts.)
- Finding time to write. This is especially difficult for young writers such as students because we have to do other things, like go to school. We usually can’t be full-time writers. First, try to let your parents allow you to wake up earlier or go to bed later. You can write then, although you will be tired throughout the day. Second, use your free time well. For example, at lunch, go to a quiet place and write a scene. Third, just let stuff stew in your head. This is good too. And for this third option, just think about how you’re going to write the next part of your story, and then write it down when you have a couple of minutes.
- Description. Pick only the most important and significant details. Your reader can imagine a scene while knowing only a couple details. By significant, I mean that details should also say something as part of a bigger picture. For example, if you say that a character always wears a hat covering his eyes, this can show that he is someone who wants to hide, or that he’s too shy to let other people look into his eyes.
- Raising the stakes. This is important. It means that your characters have conflicts and they must overcome them to be able to succeed in life. Their victories are therefore essential.
- For a long story like you are writing, skip around. Don’t go in order neccessarily if you don’t want. Write the first chapter, then the last, then the middle, then the fourth, etc. It helps you stay motivated and keep going.
- Fine tune scenes until they’re the way you like them. Read them aloud, let someone else read them, let many people read them, audio tape them and play them back to yourself, etc. Do anything and everything to make them better. You will be proud of your work if it’s the best you can make it.
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