a recipe for writing

As writers, I think we see the world a little differently. We tend to notice the subtle hints in body language and those moments others miss out on. We often create colorful narratives based on the everyday people we meet, and we spend our days dreaming about what could be.

Writing seems like such a natural process to us, but when it comes to putting that novel together, it can get challenging. While I’m certainly no expert here’s how I’ve been able to turn ideas into novels.

(Well, I’m at least trying to. Getting it fully outlined counts, right?)

1. Pick a main character.

I almost always start with the character. This is the person I connect with most, and it’s the same person I want the audience to relate to. You’ll also want to consider their weaknesses, their strengths, and what makes them interesting.

It’s often the quirks of our favorite characters we love the most!

2. Give them a goal.

What day you want your main character to achieve? Should they accomplish a long-held dream, fall in love, solve a mystery, or even save a world?

By giving them a goal, you’re developing your plot. Here, you want to determine where the character starts and where you want them to end up. Now that you have your beginning point and ending point, the action in between works towards connecting these two dots.

These first two steps really establish a foundation for the remaining pieces. It’s easier to add supporting characters when you have a solid outline for the novel.

3. Give them friends.

While main characters drive the story, it’s the supporting characters that make it worth reading. They can add a dash of humor or love, or they can reveal a new side of the main character.

4. Give them an enemy.

You can’t have a good story without a conflict. You’re going to need some sort of enemy. There’s so many resources out there on man versus man, man versus self, and man versus nature, so I’ll keep it short.

Just make sure it’s good! I tend towards man versus self, because, well, I’m a perfectionist that often struggles with self-image. Plus, I have a hard time creating believable villains. I get too stuck trying to redeem them.

5. Add in some action.

You don’t want your readers falling asleep, so make sure you keep the story going. Bits of action help keep everybody interested. Unfortunately, the days of long-winded descriptions of setting and people are long behind us. Let’s leave those for the classic authors who do it best.

Also, make sure you’ve clearly defined that one single moment you’re trying to get your character to. Any action that doesn’t move your character further along can be cut out.

6. Wrap it up.

And… that’s it! You made it this far, so make sure you wrap it up nicely. Each writer likes to do this step differently. Some keep you guessing, letting readers fill in the blanks as they wish. Other’s give us the happy ending we all really do want.

It’s easy to get long-winded here, no one loves to say goodbye to their characters. But, it’s got to end at some point.

Well, this process led to my most recent outline. This is the one idea that I think I can actually turn into a novel. I tend to write more monologues and poetry which fit better shorter formats. So, I’m excited to see where this outline takes me!

Now, I know everyone has there own style and format. What works for me may not work for others and vice versa.

Do you have a writing or organizational style you prefer to use?

– Aubrey Alene


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