A Novel Idea: In The Beginning...


Over the last several years, I’ve been asked by many readers exactly how an author goes about writing a novel. I’ve always answered, “There are many ways to write a novel.”
In the next few issues, we’ll discuss ways an author creates a novel. Let’s start this month with the basics, going from a blank page to a publishable work. This information may be different depending on each author’s specific experience, but it will give a fundamental understanding of how it can be done. It is not the be-all-end-all way of writing, just what works for many. Each step in the writing experience will be covered in future months, with a deep dive into the particular aspects.
This first technique I am going to outline for you is one of the commonly used ways to create a novel.
The Idea
There are many ways of creating an idea. Sometimes a person must consciously sit and concentrate on thinking a basic story up, but sometimes seeing or experiencing an incident in everyday life will spur the mind. Once that idea hits, however, a person mulls it over in their mind and moulds it into something of interest, then steps back and considers how that idea and story will affect people.
For instance, let’s say you see a person hailing a cab. It could be anyone, young or old, tall or short, thin or obese. You could even have someone who looks homeless trying to do it.
The idea starts with just that. A person is hailing a cab.
Stretching an Idea
Now, we need to stretch or build on what was just observed or experienced. Let’s document the expansion, starting with why the person would be getting into the cab and where is that person going?
Incident: Hailing a Cab
Name: Janis Drew
Why: Needs an immediate ride
Where: Home
With just a little bit of work, we have a person, destination, and urgency. The idea gives us a good platform for building the story and putting the base of the work together. What do we do from here? It is simple to follow that idea into the next step. We need a plot.

Read the entire article in the October 2020 issue of InD'Tale magazine.

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