Friday, December 2, 2011

how to write a novel (in 30 days)

I was requested to do a tutorial post on writing, so here it is. This is mostly for doing National Novel Writing Month, but it will work for any sort of writing. My tips aren't the best in the world, but they've worked for me, so I thought I'd share them.

001 // get a notebook and jot down ideas

I don't know what I'd do without my writing notebook. It helps a ton. Without it I'd forget too many ideas. Yesterday during science I was studying the planets and I came up with the idea about having nine daughters of the Sun all have names of the planets and be sort of like the planets, and they had to save our Galaxy. I wrote that down in my book. Yes, I think of weird things during science.

002 // write down crazy ideas

I know I sort of already touched this topic in the above paragraph, but writing down ideas that seem plain dumb or silly also help. It adds a funny side to your story, and even if you don't end up keeping in there, it will give you something amusing to write about. I, for one, did not make any of my characters dream about McDonalds, but I still wrote it down. Now I sort of wish I had written about McDonalds  it would've been fun! Never hesitate to jot down an idea because it seems too silly.

003 // look at pretty things

In other words, look at things that inspire you, things that you like. Buy a notebook that is something a little more of your taste, go outside for a walk or a run and soak everything in. Pinterest is a great site to find inspiring images, but be careful, there are some bad things. I'd advice you do stay on people's boards you trust.

004 // listen to music

This helps me a lot. I used to think I'd fail at NaNo without music, until my mp3 player broke. I've learned to go without it, but whenever I get the chance to use the radio I do. It seems like I have to have noise while I write, or it seems to quiet and dead. Other people are just the opposite. Figure out what works best for you.

005 // buy or borrow some writing books 

                                                         (please ignore the fact that I look like a dork)

I bought three good writing books over the past year, and the one I loved most was Spilling Ink. If you want to write, I'd totally recommend buying it. It gave me so many ideas, and helped me in writing a ton. The other books I bought were Reach For The Stars and Writing Magic. Both were good.

006 // use a laptop

If you don't have one, and you really want to get into writing, I'd suggest buying one. Once you learn how to type it's so much easier than writing your books on notebook paper. And I used to use a regular personal desk computer until my mom gave me this old laptop, and I'd way rather go with the laptop. Even if the keys do fall off and it deletes parts of my writing and takes forever to load. It's so much more comfortable sitting on the couch than at a chair, and having the computer on my lap.

007 // read, read, read, and read. 

If you're not a reader, it's going to be hard to want to write anything. My guess is you already like to read though, if you're reading this. Reading gives me ideas. When I was writing my Civil War Novel during NaNo, I read all kinds of Civil War books. Some were just facts, others were about real people who lived in the Civil War. Now that I'm writing fantasy, I've been reading fantasy. Reading gives me ideas. (wait. I just said that.)

008 // know your characters

To have a good story, your characters simply must be real to you. My characters seem like my best friends. My friend Hannah and I have read so many books, and anytime we meet someone with a name from a certain character we like, we freak out. It's crazy, but it's also fun. The characters in my fantasy stories all seem so real to be. They're my friends, I know them. I did a couple of character interviews on my tumblr and it really helped. Finding pictures of people that look like your characters, or drawing them, also helps. I have a whole art journal of pictures I've drawn of characters.

009 // find your style 

It took me awhile to find my writing style. Actually, I'm still trying to find it. I've decided I defiantly like fantasy, but historical fiction is second on the list. Try writing a short story in first person, second person, or third person to see which works best for you. I personally write better in first and third, but whichever works for you. Find out if you're the sort of person who gets right to the point, or if you love spending time describing every little detail. Everyone has a different style, and it's up to you to find yours. I personally think mine is probably fantasy, written in first or maybe third person, with lots of action, a little romance, and a lot of humor.


I hope this post helped all of you aspiring writers   and good luck! (By the way, I'm not an expert at anything. Just sharing my piece of mind, that's all.) 


  1. Thanks, Kendra. I think I would die without music, writing a novel or not. me loveth Pinterest. but apperently you need FB to join?? Do you? I love looking through the pictures, though, and music also inspires me a TON. I like historical fiction, but my favorite genre of books is like modern novels with a little romance, or adventure. I like some sci fi, like I am Number Four, but that's about it.

    PS. story idea about daughters of the sun= totally awesome.

  2. pps. i looooooveee the new design!

  3. I LOVE this post!!!!! Thank you so much for sharing!! I'd love to hear more about your novel!

  4. I loved this post, Kends! *hehe just came up with another nickname for you!* can i call u that?!?! :)

    anyhoo, the tips were GRRREAT! I read like a girl on a mission! Karen Kingsbury inspires me, cuz her books are the bestest best books!!!! I'm reading 'Even Now', and man that book is sad! A girl at my school said it made her cry....

    ANYWAYS! I have a Netbook, but am currently wanting to write in notebooks right now, that way i dont get distracted with the internet...... so ya. THANKS!



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