When I first decided that I wanted to write a novel, I didn’t know where to begin. I had a few ideas that I possibly, maybe, kind of wanted to write about, but no clear idea of how I was actually supposed to do it. So I started where any other wise 21st century human being would have begun.
I googled things like “how to write a novel”, “how many chapters a book should have”, and – my personal favorite – “how many words a novel should have.” That last one is actually my least favorite, and the things I read still haunt me to this day…but more on that another time.
My point is that I didn’t know the first thing to do, just that I had this desire inside of me to write. I read a dozen articles and bookmarked half of them to my computer. And I did learn lots of useful information.
Those articles were great aides in my effort to overcome my lack of prior knowledge. They gave me a general idea of the norms and strategies of “literary novel writing” (I just made that phrase up). But no website told me what I wanted to hear: a plain, step-by-step instruction manual on how exactly to write a novel. Everyone said that there was no uniform length, strategy, or process to writing a novel – they said you just have to go with what works for you.
As much as I hated that in the beginning, it’s definitely proven to be true. There was no article that could – or that wanted to – definitively tell me how to write my novel, because it was mine. I had to be the one to figure out how to get it on paper.
So in the end, my desire to just tell a story proved to be all that I needed. I very literally opened a word document, titled it “Untitled Draft”, and started typing. I decided to figure everything else out along the way.
And I’m still writing, so I’ll keep you updated on how it’s working out!