10 things you need to write a novel

Published on: January 30, 2021 (Updated on: April 22, 2024)

In this article, I'll be sharing with you 10 things you need to write a novel. To a lot of people, writing a novel can seem like a huge project. But it isn't as challenging as it might seem, if you know what you are doing.

10 things you need to write a novel
10 things you need to write a novel

Like doing anything else in life, if you want to write a novel, all you have to do is start. Begin that project you've been putting off till later, and you'll realize it can be quite fun and easy. Of course, you cannot write a novel in a day, it requires a lot of persistence and diligence.

10 things you need to write a novel

To write a novel, you need to write down your plot

Once you have established your genre, and you know what your story is about, the next thing you need to do is to write down the plot. Develop the series of events that will take place in your story, and in what order you want them to take place. Ensure that you write it down because as they say, “a pen is sharper than the sharpest mind.” No matter how good you are at remembering stuff, you can't remember all the details. Writing down your plot will also help you escape the 'writer's block' which happens occasionally to most writers.

Read novels In your genre

If you want to write a novel, you must like reading books. Reading other books that are within your genre will be very beneficial to you. This exposes you to prospective ideas, and helps you understand how a reader thinks and what a reader would expect. Reading books in your genre also helps you know how to apply your plot to the right standard and helps you avoid mistakes that others may have made.

You need to decide on a point of view (POV)

Your novel must have a point of view which your readers will see your world through. The point of view used in your novel must be consistent until the very end, so choose carefully. You could decide on the first-person POV where you as the writer or narrator tells the story from your perspective, and you refer to your character as “I”.

You might also like the second-person POV where you place your readers in the position of the characters, and refer to them as “you”. Or it could be the third-person POV which I personally prefer. In this POV, you are writing based on the perspective of each of your characters, and each individual's knowledge is limited. Here you refer to your characters as “he” or “she”.

There is also the omniscient POV. Here you as the writer are all knowing and tell the story from the perspective of a god figure. Your characters are also referred to in the third-person POV, but the plot wouldn't be from their perspective, but the god figure perspective.

You need to decide on character development

Character development refers to how much your character has grown in terms of wisdom, strength or behavior. The growth of the characters in any novel is absolutely crucial. Your characters have to grow, or it might be frustrating for your readers. Decide how you want your characters to develop, and set up a series of events that will help teach or mold your characters into better versions of themselves.

Create conflicts

This is what adds taste to your story and makes it more appealing to readers. There has to be one conflict or another that begins the story of your main characters. This will help drive the story forward and not make it seem like you're writing a documentary.

Conflicts can be internal, external, or both. Internal conflicts refers to what your character is presently struggling with and tries to resolve, whether on his own, or through external aid. External conflicts refer to the obstacles your characters face in getting to their destination or final goal. These conflicts will also help shape up and build your characters.

Love your story

This is one of the most key factors a writer should have. You must love what you are writing about. Like I stated earlier, writing a novel is all about persistence and diligence. If you do not love your story, you will eventually get bored with it and end up stopping midway. Your characters should be real to you and your story should have life. Your story can only have these when you love what you write.

You need to develop your character's personalities

Each character in your novel should have a personality unique to them. It is important that you take your time to give each one a personality. You must have a vivid imagination, and picture how you want each of your characters to behave, then write down your ideas. This will help give life to your story, and make it seem more real to your readers.

You need to be descriptive

For me as a reader, there is nothing more frustrating than not having a good enough picture of the scene that's currently happening. I've read many fantastic novels that lack that descriptive ability, and I've seen average novels as well that were excellent at describing their scenes. If I had to pick one of the two, I think it'd be the latter.

Learn how to describe your characters' features, their surroundings and what exactly is happening at the moment. You need to have a pretty good image of what you are trying to portray and know how to give clear descriptions. But don't go into too much detailing as this could end up being tiresome for your readers.

Don't read and write

Unless you have a pretty good memory, or a well detailed plot written down, I would advise that you don't read other novels while still writing your own novel. This is because you can get your ideas mixed up. The plot and characters of the books you might be reading can get stuck in your subconscious and make you write your own work to resemble theirs. If you must read while writing, stick to one book at a time, and finish it up before continuing on your story, or pause your story to read other novels.

Edit your work

Before handing your novel over to an editor, ensure that you proofread it yourself. You'll find that there might be some parts that need to be rewritten. An editor can only do so much like correct grammar, change sentence structure and so on, but only you know your novel and can edit it the best.

That's it! Apply the 10 things you need to write a novel mentioned above, and you are well on your way to being an author of your very own novel. Ensure that you love your work, and you will reap the reward of having satisfied readers.