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5 Steps To Writing A Novel: A Beginner’s Guide

Some great steps from Cressida today for those of you considering writing a novel for the first time. Thanks Cressida and good luck everybody who takes on the challenge!



  • The word “novel” is derived from Italian word “novella” which means “new”.
  • The history of novel writing can be traced back to the medieval period, when novella was a more popular form of fiction writing.
  • Novel has been a popular genre of fiction writing since its inception.
  • This style of writing has been adopted by the likes of H.G Wells and Isaac Asimov.
  • Check out The B2W Novel Writing Pinterest Board.

Writing a novel can be tricky if you are starting out as a writer. It is popular mainly because of its unique tone and style. To excel in novel writing, you have to be good in both conception and projection of a story. In addition, you must have skills in dialogue writing, characterization and plot development. No mean feat!

But writing a novel is no different from any other process of writing. You have to brainstorm ideas in different phases and then mold them into an organized form.

In this article, I will reveal the steps of a novel writing process that will help you:

1. Craft An Outline

No writing process is possible without an outline. An outline of a novel should serve as a structure of your conceived story and characters. With an outline, you can transcribe characters, dialogues and plot of your story into raw form. It is like script of a movie that will give you a vivid picture of characters and events that you are going to portray in a novel. Write down your storyline in terms of chapters, events or characters that best suits your theme. More: Writing Gut Decision and download a novel pitch template.

2. Research And Analysis

i) Conception

A successful novel starts with a thought. You have to shape a picture of that thought in your mind. As a writer, you have to visualize elements that can press the right emotions of your audience. Remember, it takes time to really develop an idea into a story, so don’t rush. A  good piece of advice would be to jot down every thought that comes to your mind during conception process. Do some mind-mapping to get creative with your story and characterization! More: Road testing your concept.

ii) Projection

Projection is the next step towards writing a novel. It involves visual analysis of your idea and development of characters. Work on loopholes in your storyline and improvise the dialogue as you develop your story. If you are adapting a previous work, you need to get an understanding of the characters, their temperament and the chemistry they share with each other.

Rethink the entire story, without altering key elements. If you are adapting a story which has been adapted into movies, then you will have a better chance to get feeling of its visual aspects. This will give you an understanding of its projection for the audience. More: All about Audience.

iii) Authenticity

Another aspect of the research process involves authenticity of its elements. As a writer, you want to depict aspects of a story that your audience can believe in. You have to depict characters and events with honesty, so that your audience feels a sense of reality.

Check out real life cases of things that you want to portray in your story. For example, if you are writing a crime thriller, you should understand the language and modus operandi of police for crime investigation. More: The Importance of Research.

3. Drafting

Start with an initial draft of your novel. Begin with the most exciting part of your story and develop events as the story progresses. Focus on your favorite character to infuse an element of interest into your writing. As you achieve the thrust, tackle with the main parts of your story. Link characters with story and establish their interaction with each other. Build up the momentum of story and intensify situations as you proceed to the climax. More: B2W Resources Page

4. Editing

In the next step, you will rewrite your first draft for accuracy. Check out your writing style and use of language. Make sure that you have used dialogue specific to characters. Assess the commercial value of your work. Check if you have used popular themes in your novel. Perform revisions of parts that lack believability for your intended audience. Do remember that none of this must be done at the cost of your creativity. Give a copy of your work to your close associates to get their valuable feedback. Ask them about your overall tone and style and make changes wherever needed. More: 5 Ways To Use Feedback Effectively.

5. Proofreading

In the last stage, you have to check your spelling and grammar. Proofread your work word by word, before running an automated checker or employing a proof reader. More: Creative Ways To Edit Outside The Box.

BIO: Cressida Mary is an art aficionado, with an obsession for reading and writing. The author loves to contribute her expertise on various Ed-Tech platforms. She’s currently serving at academic service provider, Essay Villa.

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