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Summary: Five Tips Writing Your First Novel - by Brandon Sanderson

Monday Aug 1, 2022 | Series writing

This is a summary of Five Tips for Writing Your First Novel - Brandon Sanderson.

In honor of National novel writing month: November. Loosly defining novel as 50000 words. Doable but difficult challenge. Goal to get you out of a rut, force yourself to write.

It might not work for you, it might not fit you. Feel free to abandon it in that case.

  1. Borrow your structure
    When reading or watching something and you really like the structure, borrow it. For example a heist novel. Dig into what you like about it and what the components of that structure are. And then put your own spin on it.
    E.g. put the crew together, do the heist, deal with problems coming up, etc.
    Then rebuild the structure with new characters, new challenges, etc.

Note: Don’t be enslaved by the structure.

  1. Begin with a monologue
    Beginning with a monologue by your main character can help to get into a story. Even when your novel is not necessarily written in the first person perspective.

  2. Ask yourself:

  • What does my character want?
  • What do they need?
  • How are those 2 different?
  • How can’t they have what they want?
    It can help you construct a plot and obstacles they need to overcome.
  1. Choose your type of progress
    Stories are build of 3 basic things: the promise, progress towards that promise and pay off on that promise.
    The progress is what makes a page turner. The progress can be shown through travel progress, information (e.g. clues) progress, etc. Keep it moving and clear.

  2. Prime your mind
    Use the time when you can’t write, like during exercise or cleaning and think about where to take your story next. What to write next. You can even set the mood with music during that time to kickstart your imagination.

Enjoyed this? Read more in the writing series.
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