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Preplanning a novel can involve as little as naming your main characters and writing a one-sentence overview of your plot or as detailed as full character biographies and a full outline that includes each chapter from the first chapter to the last chapter. While preplanning and outlining your novel can make the actual process of writing the novel faster, it doesn't help you if you get so caught up in the planning details that you never actually write your novel.
What You Must Have to Write Your Novel
- The names of your main characters
- The names of your primary secondary characters
- Any supporting characters that come to your mind
- A one-sentence overview of your plot
- A paragraph explaining the premise of your novel
- Any additional genre-specific notes, like cities, worlds, breeds or character races
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The biggest problem writers face is not writing. I can't tell you how many writers and authors I know that do not write on a weekly basis. I'd say daily, but I think that's unreasonable for the vast majority of aspiring, new and existing writers and authors. I don't write every day, but I do write most days. This is called having reasonable expectations.
Open Your Word Processor
The first step to writing is opening your word processor or paper notebook. I understand this is common sense, but I'm seeking to answer the question of which one you should open in order to best meet your writing needs. Of course, if you opened a paper notebook, don't forget your pen. If you're opening a word processor, do you want one that only works on your desktop? Do you want a multi-platform word processor that works on every device you have? Do you want to use writing software that's specifically designed for writing fiction? If you don't know, let's look at the available word processors and writing programs available.
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The first draft of a fiction novel is known as the junk draft in my five draft method. Other authors and editors may call it something else, and you may simply call it draft one. It's where you first open your word processor or novel writing software and type in the file name and save it. During the first draft, many authors encounter some problems during the process. If you're not to this point and you are looking at a blank page, check out How to Quickly Start Your Next Fiction Novel.
1. You Get Stuck
It’s very common to get stuck in a first draft. It typically happens at the beginnings and ends of chapters, but it can also occur in the middle of a chapter or scene. In this instance, you may not know exactly what to write. You may not feel inspired to write a particularly violent, difficult or intimate scene. Whatever the reason, you can handle all of these problems pretty much in the same way.
Stuck at the front of a chapter
If you move to your next chapter and can’t think of a way to open it, just take care of the important parts. If you know a particular scene is going to happen, just write down that part of the chapter. You can put in all the filler information later.
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Your novels are like your babies, so it’s only natural to tend to them as such, but how much is too much? When you have what I call Perfectionism Complex, you believe that your fiction writing must be perfect or everyone will hate it. This can leave some writers perfecting a manuscript so long that it may never get published, since in their eyes it is never ready. Most writers face some degree of wondering if their work is good enough. Here’s how Perfectionism Complex slows down the writing process.
Interruption Of A Steady Flow
If you get a steady flow going, the last thing you need is for anything to come along that stops that rhythm. Perfectionism Complex can do just that. Here you are flowing along and you think it’s a good time to run back and check for mistakes before moving on. Don’t do this! This is one of the worst times you could stop for editing. When your brain is ready to write, just let it flow. Do not let Perfectionism Complex slow down your writing process.
Writing Becomes Too Much Like Work
Perfectionism Complex can cause your writing to be a chore when you’re constantly going back over it while creating it. It’s a good thing to edit. It’s not a good thing for your mind to overly edit. If you find yourself picking too much at it, consider hiring out the editing side of things. This can help prevent your perfectionist brain from making too many changes and can also catch extra things you may not have thought of. Trying to do it all yourself can not only be frustrating, but may also slow things down significantly.
Less Time For Storyline And Character Development
Spending more time on perfecting the existing text can leave less time for developing the storyline and characters. When your goal is to have the perfect manuscript, the key lies in those two factors. Therefore, not only can it slow down your process, but it can actually do the opposite of what you’re reaching for.
Hyperfocusing On Perfectionism Over Quality
Having a Perfectionism Complex can leave you focused on the wrong things during the process of writing. In some ways, it helps some writers to hyperfocus on their text. However, when this focus is projected onto every aspect, it becomes a cumbersome task that can significantly slow down the writing process. Instead of perfecting every single word, consider the overall quality and how it pieces together.
When Perfectionism Complex is taking over your writing career, it’s important to look at the ways it may be slowing you down. Then, refocus and keep yourself on task to avoid some of the issues mentioned above. Knowing and understanding where the problem occurs and how to stop it from happening can help you combat this dangerous problem many writers face. Some may use techniques such as meditation before writing, listening to music while writing to stay in a groove, or having a Writing Buddy to keep them on track.
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Writing should be a passion; a talent most say they wish they could do. The general perspective of an author is that they are extraordinary, making words come to life so easily. For the majority, this is not the same perspective a writer has about their work, their skill, their talent. Yes, they are passionate about their words, but most are not confident.
There are several reasons why an author/writer has low self-esteem when it comes to putting fingers to keypad.