Five Ways How NOT to Write a Novel

Much has been written on how to write a novel. Today, I’d like to address a few ways on how NOT to write a novel.

1) Do NOT wait for inspiration. If you do, you may never write a novel. Inspiration comes from discipline, determination, and dedication. When you apply the seat of your pants to the seat of the chair, inspiration will eventually come. At those times when I do not feel particularly inspired, I start my writing day by typing something like, “I have no clue what to write but I will keep on writing until I do have a clue.” I keep typing in this rather nonsensical fashion until an idea pops into my head that puts me in what I call “the flow zone”.  Once there, I sometimes find that good ideas flow so quickly that I cannot stop writing.

2)  Do NOT chase market trends.  The trend you chase today may end up being the trend of the past by the time your book is published–if, indeed, it is ever published. Instead, write the book of your heart.  Better yet, write the book of God’s heart. If you are connected to God, His heart will be your heart.

 3) Do NOT imitate other authors. Yes, be inspired by them, motivated by them, encouraged by them. But do NOT attempt to be a clone of them. You are a unique author with unique experiences and a unique way of expressing those experiences on paper. Write out of who YOU are. 

4) Do NOT circumvent the necessary learning curve for writing a novel. If you try to cut corners, your writing will show it. Instead, take the time to become excellent at your craft.

5) Do NOT give up. Thomas Edison said “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine-percent perspiration.” Writing a novel involves a lot of sweat equity. While talent is important, perseverance is even more so. If you put your mind to it and your heart in it, you can write a story that will touch and transform lives.

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Copyright 2014 by MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, MFA. All rights reserved.

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