February 29, 2012

Ask an author: How can I learn to be a novelist?

Filed under: Advice for writers,ask an author — Rhiannon Lassiter @ 7:40 am

Rhiannon (a fan) asks: I was just wondering if could give me some advice on how to start off being a novelist because I have a poem published but really want to be a writer because I have a wild imagination.

Rhiannon (the author) replies:

Dear Rhiannon (what a lovely name! ;)

Like you, I enjoy poetry and I won a poetry competition when I was 13 and it was one of the things that made me think about writing seriously. Congratulations on having your poem published!

There are lots of different ways to become a writer. The best way to get started is to read a lot and to write a lot. Let your imagination take you to extraordinary places and then work on writing them down so that they’re as real to other people as they are to you. Think about what you’re reading and what you’re writing. Think about what makes a character or a place exciting, interesting and worth discovering more about. Think about the kind of story you and your friends enjoy reading and talk to your friends about your ideas. Maybe you could join a book group or a writers group to share your ideas with other people.

I keep an ideas file (both electronically and in hard copy) where I write down my ideas for books. I also have a lot of notebooks so I can sketch out ideas and plans and notes. I often have lots of different stories in my head, on paper and in electronic text. You can refer back to your notes, keep different projects in different folders or notebooks and pick up and put down different ideas as you go. Don’t be afraid to put down an idea if it seems to go dead in your head. You’ll have lots of false starts and lots of ideas that you can’t yet see how to develop. As long as you’re enjoying writing and inventing stories, keep going, eventually you should find the seed of an idea which you can develop into a novel.

NaNoWriMo is a community project to help people write a lot of words. Novels tend to be 60,000+ words so you need to be able to sustain a story across a lot of words. But the more you write the better at it you’ll become. Once you’ve learned how to write multiple chapters you can hone your writing to ensure it’s expressing and achieving what you want it to.

Good luck with becoming a writer and with your poetry. Poetry is an art of its own and perhaps you’ll find a way to use your poetry in writing fiction.

1 Comment »

  1. Thanks a lot for using some time in order to post “Ask an
    author: How can I learn to be a novelist?

    Comment by http://tinyurl.com/thehbooth24843 — January 25, 2013 @ 10:17 am

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