Imagination is awe-inspiring. Each person is blessed with an innate ability to conjure up the wildest adventures and innovative ideas because of the gift of imagination. Thomas Edison, for instance, imagined a world illuminated by artificial light at night. The product…the light bulbs that we casually use without even thinking twice about the effort it took to invent them.
Henry David Thoreau once said, “The world is but a canvas for our imagination.” The power of this statement lies in the fact that there are endless possibilities in the world if we take the initiative to be the painters of its canvas. Thinking limitlessly, believing in big dreams and putting in the work are crucial for bringing your imagination to life.
Novel writing depends heavily on the author’s imagination. Your novel starts as a blank canvas on which you can use your imagination to paint your perception of the world. How well you craft the story depends on your ability to bring the design together on that canvas.
November is Novel Writing Month and the Book Fusion team has created a list of 5 killer tips for creating your first novel. As you read these tips, remember that your imagination must take centerstage before implementation. You’re in control of this canvas and must believe that the ideas in your mind can create a beautiful painting for others to enjoy.
#1: SPEND TIME ON DETAILED PLANNING
You’re finally writing a novel! Yay! Excitement courses through your veins as you envision how you want the story to be developed, how you want the book to look, and possible ways to earn an income. You want to dive in headfirst and just start writing.
Wait a minute. As Jamaicans would say, “Draw brakes!” Getting ahead of yourself is one of the most common mistakes novice authors make. If you just start writing without having a clear plan, the book won’t come together in the way that it should. A well-written novel follows a distinct plot and captivates the reader from beginning to end. Achieving this objective wont be possible if you write haphazardly.
A book outline is the first thing you should write before beginning any of the book’s chapters. Some key elements of a book outline for a novel include:
- The premise
- Character development through the use of character profiles
- The spine (an outline of the beginning, middle and end)
- Scene development
Feel free to read this article from Reedsy for more information and to get a book outline template.
#2: CREATE YOUR FILES IN EASY-TO-ACCESS PLACES
Although you’d love to look yourself away for days so that you can focus on writing, life won’t make that possible. You’re probably constantly on the go, but that doesn’t mean that your writing should be reserved to the wee hours of the morning when the children are asleep.
You can use a file sharing service, such as Google Docs, to write your novel. This allows you to access the document anywhere where there’s internet access. So, you won’t need to walk around with your laptop all the time. You can use your tablet or phone and keep the creative process flowing.
#3: DETERMINE THE DESIRED LENGTH OF YOUR NOVEL
The Writer’s Digest recommends that 80,000 to 90,000 words is a good range for a novel. Anything longer may be perceived as too long and poorly edited. Anything shorter is too short and would be consider either a novella or short story.
Writing takes time. There are times when you’ll feel frustrated because you just want the book to be done. Don’t succumb to the desire to end the book hastily. Taking the time to create a well-developed book has a bigger pay-off. In fact, it took J.K. Rowling 5 years to develop all the Harry Potter books and even more time to rewrite the first novel until she was confident in it. Quality work takes time to develop.
#4: SET REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS
Disappointment during and after the novel writing process often occurs because unrealistic expectations were created from the get-go. Think carefully about what you want to achieve. Sure, you want to sell your novel and showcase your writing skills. However, this shouldn’t be done at the expense of quality.
Some expectations that you should set include:
- A realistic timeline for completing the written component of the book. It won’t take you a month. It probably won’t even take you 3 months. Give yourself a realistic timeline based on the demands on your life, especially if you’re balancing a career with raising a family.
- A realistic timeline for the book’s release date. Writing the book is only the first step in the process. You must then design the book’s interior well and create an intriguing book cover. You can find freelancers on UpWork or Fiverr who can help you with this aspect of the process. Discuss with them what a realistic timeline is for them to complete the work and then set your release date based on that.
- A clear understanding that you won’t make millions. J.K. Rowling, Dan Brown and all these other famous authors were anomalies. You don’t have the same resources that they do. Plan a marketing plan and execute it but set realistic financial goals.
#5: EDIT! EDIT! EDIT!
Spending money on an editor may be your low on your priority list. Perhaps you believe that what you’ve written is exceptional and doesn’t need editing because you’ve reread it so many times. That confidence is admirable. However, one of the biggest mistakes novice authors make is to trust the confidence and publish their books without having someone else edit it.
These books are then released with a myriad of errors that the author hadn’t noticed. You can avoid this embarrassment by hiring a quality editor and proofreader. Some of the best editors typically charge $0.03 to $0.12 per word. You can find experienced editors on sites such as UpWork and Reedsy. The investment is high, but the earning potential is greater when your work is free of errors, flows well, and grabs the reader’s attention.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
Writing your first novel is a great accomplishment. Make it count by taking the time to develop an 80,000 to 90,000 word piece that’s truly outstanding. Invest in high quality editors, good design elements, and a comprehensive promotion strategy. There’s no guarantee that you’ll earn millions of dollars, but you can earn a nice chunk of change if you follow the tips we’ve outlined in this article. It’s time to bring your imagination to life.