Do's and Don'ts - Any Tips?

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Thread: Do's and Don'ts - Any Tips?

  1. #1

    Do's and Don'ts - Any Tips?


    I had considered posting in a couple of the forums here, as it's probably quite clear that I only registered here about 30 minutes ago. All the same, I did register here with an agenda. So if none of you mind, here's my first question.

    I wanted to ask everyone and anyone, of all different abilities and levels of experience - What are the principal "Do's and Don'ts" when attempting to write your first novel?

    I appreciate that this is probably quite a naive question to ask - I wouldn't want to give the impression that I'm not aware of how broadly I am asking you for help, or how 'novice' this question may seem. If I give an example of what I had pictured a response to have been - I would imagine there's a popularly used order to writing, i.e Brainstorm/Story board/Draft/Re-draft, perhaps something along these lines, although probably for most of you the process is a lot more complex than that. Maybe there is a short list of recurring mistakes that all budding writers stumble over. Perhaps the overuse of certain words throughout a text - that's certainly something I've noticed in my efforts to remain open-minded, whilst reading 50 Shades of Grey. (!) I did not read the books that followed, that's for sure.

    If anything springs to mind, I would love to read what you have to say - and if this thread inspires discussion, be sure that I will be eagerly reading every word.

    Thankyou very much in advance to anyone who takes the time to answer my call!

    Pete (squaremuffin)

  2. #2
    Do: Read everything you can find
    Find a writing routine that you can stick to
    Sit your muffin down and write!

    Don't: Stop
    Give up
    Make excuses

    Everything else, such as an outline, storyboard, ect. is just a personal choice, and something you'll have to decide for yourself. Good luck
    Serious writers write, inspired or not.
    Over time they discover that routine
    is a better friend than inspiration.

    --Ralph Keyes

  3. #3
    Just start writing. You'll figure out what works for you if you keep at it. Everyone is different.
    Hidden Content
    "From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend reading it." - Groucho Marx

  4. #4
    Haha, I'm not proffesional writer myself, but I think I can give you some tips based on my experience

    Do a lot of research in your topic, and think about it – Don’t overthink, or you’ll get writer’s block (maybe just me)

    Make a plot from beginning to the end – Don’t out of the line too much (Sometimes I got new Idea that seems cool to be added in my story, but in the end it ruins all my plot that I’ve created before, so think about it. Is the idea worth to make some changes in your plot you’ve made)

    Read a lot of book (Well, many people say so. Not me, I don’t really like it)

    Create your own style - Everyone has their own favourite writer’ sometimes they try to imitate her/him, That’s ok though, at least until you’ve find your own style. The best people not imitate others, they create their own style.

  5. #5
    Thanks for the quick responses!

    Do you find generally that you go into writing a piece with a particular center-focus? I mean, do you find that you want to write a book that ends in a particular way, or that you wish to show someone personified as a character in the book send a message because of some personal experience, i.e the bad character dies showing a sort of karmic justice; a character addicted to drugs manages to change their life because of a friend that didn't manage to overcome addiction in the real world, etc.? or would you agree with the idea that, if you experiment with writing about a world you have not experienced yourself you might get a more natural piece out of it? I'd imagine most authors resort to serious research (as mentioned above I believe) rather than writing about what they know about, it would be quite obvious after the first two or so books if writers work to one field of vision. I can't deny that many authors tend to write in a certain mode however, which succeeds. Say Dean Koontz and Science Fiction, Andy McNab and Military/SAS based chapters.

    Everything in moderation, if I were to attempt to answer my own question, is a fair supposition.

    Still I have some ideas that I've thought of over the last few hours, just from reading others' work. One thing's for sure, I know what I like and I know what I don't, I'm hoping that's enough to be my own critique in the early days.

    Please, if anyone has anything else in the coming days, or weeks, or however long this thread may stay afloat without a bump, I'm still very interested. Thanks again to those who have posted - your advice is noted!

  6. #6
    The one major rule: Write!

    If you have an idea for a novel then write it out. The aim is to complete a first draft without stopping or going back to edit. Get to the end and then take a breather.

    A good book to read is - The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman. Or buy the humorous book called - How Not To Write a Novel

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Broken Britain
    Read, read, read, write, write, write. Repeat. Read often and widely, don't confine yourself to one genre, every book has something to take away that will help towards your own writing (even the bad ones tell you what NOT to do). Get a notebook or something to record all those vague imaginings and half formed ideas. Having what you believe to be that breakthrough idea and promptly forgetting it is infuriating, believe me! Most of all; enjoy yourself!

  8. #8

    • Read (a lot)
    • Write
    • Keep going no matter how much you want to quit


    • Read how-to guides
    • Pay any attention to writing dos and don'ts or 'rules'.
    Hidden Content

    Hidden Content

    "One morning I shot an elephant in my pyjamas. How he got into my pyjamas I'll never know." ~ Groucho Marx.

    "It is better to be feared than loved, if one cannot be both". ~ Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince.

    "A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer". ~ Bruce Lee.

    "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's mind there are few". ~ Shunryu Suzuki.

    "Give a man a mask and he will show you his true face". ~ Oscar Wilde.

    "He who learns but does not think is lost; he who thinks but does not learn is in great danger". ~ Confucius.

  9. #9
    Hi Pete,

    I am a complete novice - greenhorn or whatever a newbie is called. What Rob suggests is exactly the route I chose. I never bogged myself down with the hows or whys I just wrote using the stream of conciousness technique. I had a general idea plotwise, but this actually changed as the story evolved. I completed the skeleton (first draft) of my novel (80,000 words) in just under three months. The only thing I would do differently is keep better notes of the characters particulary ages, names, nationality and timeframe - as the story changed ages became very important to make the story believable. I never spent much time on descriptive passages or expanded on the backstory on the first draft - I did however leave myself notes in coloured font to highlight areas where futher resaearch, backstory, descriptive passages, alternative words etc were required.

    I know I've made loads of mistakes and some experienced authors may hold up their hands in horror at my approach, but to be honest if I had read books etc on how to write a novel I would probably still procrastinating and tying myself up in knots now.

    Now, I have the first draft I will go and buy some books!
    Last edited by PiP; February 4th, 2013 at 09:45 AM. Reason: Wrong name used

  10. #10
    Do take time to check out the Turkey City Lexicon. It's a great way to avoid some common beginner mistakes.Turkey City Lexicon

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