Get Help Writing a Novel By Lisa Montalto

Writing a novel is a dream of many, but a reality only to those who have the perseverance to follow it through to the end. When writing a novel, it all starts with an idea, but where do you go from there? Are you a writer or a story creator? While both of these can exist in one person, others possess one or the other. Both will need help writing a novel if it’s your first time or even your second or third.

So, what goes into writing a novel? After the idea, the biggest commitment is time and the most important is organization. Writing a novel takes time and patience, so take a deep breath and get prepared for the ride.

Organize Your Thoughts

The first thing to do is to organize your thoughts. This is referred to as an outline. Your story should have a beginning, middle, and end. The middle is the meat and where the inciting incident will occur. By creating an outline, you will have a map to your story that you can refer to as you write.


In your outline you will breakdown your characters, setting, plot, and conflict. You will begin to form your story arc. Your main character will be your protagonist. This character should go through major changes from the beginning to end of the story. Your antagonist is where your conflict comes in. It does not have to be another character. It could be a place, a supernatural force, even the protagonist themselves. All the other characters are your supporting characters.

In a fictional novel, the setting can be fake, but it can also be real. It depends on the type of story you’re telling. In the J.R.R. Tolkien novels for Lord of the Rings, all the settings came from the author’s mind.

Once you have your idea, character, and the setting it’s time to work on the plot. This is the sequence of how things happen in the story. In the outline you can bullet point the plot points. If you were Stephen King and were writing the novel,

The Shining, your bullet points might look like this

  • Writer Jack Torrance needs a quiet place to write.
  • He takes a job as keeper of the Overlook Hotel during the winter months when the hotel is closed and empty.
  • The last person to take this job murdered his wife and two twin girls.
  • Along with his wife and little boy, Jack settles in but there is something special about his little boy.
  • He can hear people’s thoughts and see things that have happened.
  • When he gets to the hotel, he sees past horrors that have occurred there.
  • Jack becomes consumed by the hotel and goes mad.

Now you’re ready for your first draft. Where does the story begin? Get descriptive. Use a thesaurus to avoid using repetitive words. Build your setting and breathe life into your characters. Remember that, just like real people, characters all have their own personalities and ways of speaking. The TV show Friends is a great example of character development.

When Joey Tribiani says, “How you doin’?” He speaks a certain way. It works for him because he is written as a ladies’ man. However, if paleontologist Ross Geller said that line, he would say, “how are you doing today?” So, when writing your dialogue, be mindful of giving each character their own voice.

Each chapter should build upon the other and you can use flashbacks to give backstory information if necessary to the overall story. But remember to always keep the story moving forward. Driving the plot, creating the conflict, working through the conflict, and resolving the conflict. Now that doesn’t mean your novel has to have a happy ending. The resolution could be bittersweet.

One of the worst things you can do when writing a novel is to tell instead of show. You always want to show when you can, instead of writing lines and lines of explanation.

An example of showing versus telling is … (telling) John was self-conscious when he saw Emma at school — (showing) John’s hands got sweaty and he fidgeted when he saw Emma at school.” The sweaty palms and fidgeting show us how he feels without telling us.

Dialogue that sounds like something people would never say. Most people don’t say, “I am so happy to see you.” Instead, they say, “I’m happy to see you.” Use contractions and other words that convey a real conversation taking place, even using words like “umm, yeah, ah.”

Make sure you are descriptive enough in your settings and in your characters so the reader can visualize everything in their minds. And avoid plot holes. Always make sure your story is consistent and that you don’t leave loose ends.

Let’s examine a popular novel that was badly written, Gone Girl. There were plot holes galore and almost every character is unlikeable. It has a following for being one of the worst novels out there, yet the movie version did really well at the box office. This is confirmation that the way a book is written is so much more important than what might play out on screen.

In the movie version of any novel, the actor playing the part can take a bad book and turn it into gold or vice versa. The best thing you can hope for is that, if your book is ever turned into a movie, everyone says, “The book was a lot better than the movie,” even if Tom Cruise plays the main character.

Writing a novel is a monumental task. Just because you have a great idea, dynamic characters, and even an airtight plot, it doesn’t mean you won’t need help writing it. But what happens when the book is done. Do you have to share writing credit with someone?

Not if you use a ghostwriter. Ghostwriters work behind the scenes to help you write your novel, but they take none of the credit. It’s a win-win for you as you get the advantage of their skills while you get all the accolades. Finding a reputable ghostwriter can take some time, or you can use a novel ghostwriting services company such as Manuscript Man. They vet all their writers and will personally help you select the best writer for your genre and style. So, if you’re ready to put pen to paper, check out a ghostwriter to give you that extra bit of knowledge to get you on the bookshelves.

About the author

Muhammad Qasim

Muhammad Qasim, founder of Shaheen ebooks website, which is an online ebooks library serving Urdu books, novels, and dramas to the global Urdu reading community for the last 3 years (since 2018. Shaheenebooks.com.

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