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  • Twelve Easy Steps To Make A Novel

    So, you’ve always wanted to write a novel. Or maybe you’ve got to write a novel fast to meet a deadline. Novice or beginner, you are faced with where, how? The following steps are a guideline.

    1) Set aside a time and place to write. If possible, the same number of hours and the same time every day, so that writing becomes a habit.

    2) Gathering. Choose a story idea that will allow you to do the following:

    3) Research.

    4) Organize index cards and the good stuff from those handwritten pages.

    5) Define premise. Refine your ideas into one single, controlling idea. Express it in a single sentence that contains a compelling dramatic question.

    6) Develop characters.

    7) Give your main characters clear, vital, deep-rooted conflicting goals. The characters do not have to know what their real need or goal is or approve of it. But your character must need something so desperately that if he doesn’t get it, he can’t be whole. Goals must come out of who the characters are and must be well motivated. Think about several types of goals for your people ‘the main goal that spans entire novel as well as temporary or immediate scene goals. Usually my characters don’t know what they’re about. Usually, their major flaw blocks necessary self-knowledge. They may not admit they are unhappy, but if they weren’t lucky enough to fall into my story, they would have stayed messed up forever. Plot events should force them to discover who they are and what they want. In the beginning they may fight their true goal or dramatic need.

    8) Plot. At this point, I take a look at a book map of The Screenwriters Workbook by Syd Field.

    9) Write.

    10) Endings. About three-fourths of the way through a book, I usually reread and redesign the book again to try to figure out the very best ending for my story. I usually write the last two or three chapters in a day or two after it comes to me.

    11) Revision. I keep printed pages in a three-ring binder. When I have revision ideas, I write them on post-it notes and stick them on the pages to be revised or stick them into a sheet-protector that contains all revision notes for that chapter. Try to avoid constant revision when writing. When story sags, remember that conflict is the gasoline that drives your story and that must drive every scene. Ask yourself what is the conflict? What is your character doing to resolve the conflict? Tip: wherever possible, cut.

    12) Tips I’ve learned through the years. How to use how-to-write books. Depression. Rumors about the writing business. Happiness. Writer’s block. Burn-out. Jealousy. Speed. Silent retreats.

    13) Books and workshops

    About Ann Major

    Ann Major

    A model of perseverance, Ann began writing when her first child was born and sold her first novel six years later. "I taught myself how to write without the aid of other writers, writing books or writing courses. It was a very lonely and solitary pursuit." Yet Ann never once considered giving up and, as a testament to her dedication, she has written over 60 books to date for Dell, Silhouette Romance, Special Edition, Intimate Moments, Mira, and Desire, and consistently tops bestseller lists.

    A founding member of the Romance Writers of America, Ann is also the coauthor of the article "The Contemporary Light Romance" which has been collected in the book Writing and Selling the Romance Novel.

    In addition to her career as a novelist, Ann plays the piano, sails, kayaks, and travels. Ann currently resides in south Texas with her husband.

    Visit her at http://www.annmajor.com/