4 Questions to Jumpstart Your Novel
“For some writers, a blank page is a scary thing to face. Others see all that white space as an opportunity, and can’t wait to dive in and tell their story. The vast majority of us probably fall somewhere in between, with some ideas making us eager to write, and some fighting us every for word.
I’ve discovered through (often painful) trial and error, that my novels go smoothest when I spend some time planning them. I don’t have to figure everything out, but knowing what my core conflict is, what my character arc will cover, and who my antagonist is makes it a lot easier to write the novel. I struggle less, my plot comes together more easily, and the first draft turns out much cleaner…
[L]et’s look at some ways to help you jumpstart your next novel idea.
1. Know what your book is really about.
Not truly knowing what I was writing has caused me more writing frustration than anything else I’ve ever encountered. I’ve written hundreds of pages I later threw away because I had no idea what I wanted to do. Now, I take the time to figure out my story before I do anything else.
This doesn’t mean I need to know every detail, or even have an outline (though I do prefer outlining), but I do need to know what the major problem of the novel is. If I can’t clearly identify what my protagonist is struggling with, and what problem has to be solved by the end of the book, then I’m not ready to write the novel.
The best tool I’ve found for clarifying my idea is to write a one- or two-sentence pitchline for it. Capturing the essence of my story in a few sentences forces me to really know what story I’m writing. If that sentence is vague with nothing to plot from, that’s a big red flag I don’t have a story to tell yet.”