As my second book ‘Letters in the Rain’ gears up for release, I present here ten key commandments which I feel play a huge role in making one sail through the roller coaster ride of novel writing process.
- Before writing, ideate a broad storyline – It is important to develop the plot in mind and scribble it chapter wise in a paper. Writing a book involves bringing your best creative juices into play, but if there is no clearly defined start point and end point, then things might go haywire.
- Starting is the easiest part – The thought of writing a book seems exciting and enthralling, and many people start off enthusiastically, only to fizzle out midway. I have a few friends who are stuck on a book for two to three years, and have no idea what to do with the manuscript now. Perseverance, optimism and a structured framework are the key essential tools here.
- Writers’ Block is a Myth – The easiest and most common excuse for not completing a book is the writers’ block syndrome. All great writers like Khaled Hosseini, Paulo Coelho do not agree to this notion. It is believed that if you write daily, and continuously hone your vocabulary and add phrases in your arsenal, then you become permanently immune to writers’ block.
- Dialogues are the key – The difference between a short story and a novel lies in the dialogues and various scenes. In a short story, there is only one path to reach from A to B. In a novel, there are many paths, and your creativity and intelligence lies in interweaving multiple paths and at the same making it more invigorating for the reader!
- Observe – Authors need to have a keen sense of perception. The stories that we end up writing have a lot to do with our surroundings and our own personal experiences.
- Read, Learn, Relearn – Take courses on novel writing. There are various courses on screenwriting and novel writing by successful authors in MasterClass. There are a lot of books on descriptive writing. The key element here is to take book writing as seriously as any other work. The more you read, the more you learn. The more you learn, the better equipped you will be to complete the bestseller you have been picturing in your mind!
- Learn to enjoy solitude – Writing a book is a very lonely process. Unlike other tasks, this requires a high level of self-discipline. Would you be comfortable skipping that party to finish two chapters? If yes, then you are probably on the right track.
- Creating Time Blocks – Stephen King, in his earlier days, used to find time blocks daily early morning to write because he had a day job. It’s not advisable to quit your professional career and switch to being a novelist, because quite frankly, 99% of the writers are paid peanuts. But it is definitely a smart strategy to utilize your free time outside work and work on the book. One way of doing that is to define specific time blocks where you will only be writing.
- Say no to Social Media while writing – It’s easy to get distracted these days. Maybe you get a great idea and are just about to write it down, alas, your smartphone pings because someone just sent a ‘Hey’ on whatsapp. Or you get this urge to check out your instagram page just for a minute. And then a minute becomes an hour, which means the time you had defined to complete a chapter goes for a toss.
- The Instant Gratification Monkey – Do not get satisfied until you have finished the book. Maintain a schedule. Define a timeline. Some people have written bestsellers in 15 days, some take more than a year. Pick a timeline which you are most comfortable in. And only celebrate when you have written the last word of your manuscript!