How to Write a Great Novel From Beginning to End | Part 1 | Coming Up With a Concept
How to Write a Great Novel From Beginning to End | Part One | Coming Up With a Concept
Do you want to write a great novel? The first step to writing a great novel is coming up with a basic story concept. What will the story be about? Who will the story be about? What will happen to the characters? Where does the story take place? When does the story take place?
The First Step to Writing a Book | A Story Concept
The first step to writing a complete novel that will be publication-worthy is coming up with a basic story concept or story idea. Most writers will focus on finding a story idea first, then on finding plot and event ideas to fill the gaps. Story ideas are the big picture, as mentioned earlier, so if you want a solid starting point for your novel, you can find the story idea first.
However, you may find that you can come up with plot ideas or even scene, or event ideas before you can come up with story ideas. In that case, you can create a story idea to work around the plot, scene, and/or event ideas. Whichever works best for you.
You will eventually need ideas to fill each of those categories anyway, so it doesn’t really matter where you start. If you want to learn more about the different types of ideas needed to write a story, go ahead and give this article a read: Getting Ideas for a Novel That Will Sell | How to Get Ideas, Choose the Best, & Save Them for Later
Ideas are the very material that all stories are made of. They are the foundation, they are what drives a person to turn them into something tangible for others to enjoy. Getting great ideas to use for a novel can be a really simple task. Choosing the best ones and saving them for later is the bigger task.
Character Ideas Are Important to Include in Your Concept
While a solid story idea and even plot, scene, and event ideas are essential to writing a novel, just as essential as those are characters. Characters are what make a story. They are the make-or-break element. You can have a fantastic plot and interesting scenes, but if the characters suck, the story will fall apart.
Great characters take your story to the next level. The story is only as good as the characters are. If you think about it when you think about some of your favourite books or films, what do you love about them? What do you remember the most about them? The tender moments? The romantic scenes? The witty exchanges? The action sequences? The crazy way the plot comes all together at the end?
All of those things would not be possible without characters. I mean, can you imagine a romantic scene without any characters?
The point is that characters matter a great deal when it comes to writing a novel. Therefore, coming up with character ideas is also essential.
What Kind of Character Ideas Do Writers Need?
When it comes to character ideas, basically, you just want to make sure you have ideas for a hero character, a protagonist character, an antagonist/villain character, perhaps a side-kick character, mentor character, and various other side-characters. The main types of ideas that you will want to focus on for each character are:
>> Personality Ideas
>> Physical Appearance Ideas
>> Basic Back Story/ Personal Past Ideas
>> Character Motivation Ideas
Character Motivation Ideas | Why These Are So Important
Character motivation ideas are really important for developing great characters. Character motivation basically just refers to what drives a character. What do they want? What do they not want? What do they think should happen? What are they trying to achieve or attain? What do they want to change or not change?
Each of your main characters (hero, protagonist(s), and hero/villain) need to have a clear motivation. Why will they do what they will do? What do they want to achieve? What will they do to achieve it?
The character motivation will answer the question: why is this character in the story?
In Conclusion | The Main Ideas to Focus On Are Story and Characters
The two main idea types that you will want to focus on finding first are story ideas (or plot, scene, and/or event ideas) and character ideas (including character motivation). All other types of ideas will come as they need to. Every story is made up of hundreds of thousands of ideas, even if they aren’t all in the finished product. Start where you can and try to find story and character ideas to get your novel on the road towards becoming a tangible item.
How to Find Ideas | Where to Look & How to See Them
The best advice that I can give a writer in search of ideas is to just keep your eyes open. Pay attention to the world. Be on the lookout for ideas. The beauty is in the details. If you are looking for them, the ideas will come.
Saving Ideas For Later | What to Keep & Where to Store Them
The rule of thumb when it comes to deciding how many ideas to save it to ask yourself: Am I going to use this idea for my next novel? Am I likely to use this idea in the future? Will I go back to it later? Will I regret not saving it? Do I have space to store it long-term?
If the answer to any or all of those is yes, then consider saving it!
You can always get rid of useless, or old ideas you longer want. Getting ideas back is not so easy. Saving ideas can be a simple task. I myself have used a variety of resources for saving ideas over the years, including a note app on my phone, a pocket-sized notebook, random scraps of papers, and voice memos. To organized and long-term store those idea notes, I transfer them into my writer’s notebook.
Writer’s Notebooks | A Wonderful Resources for Every Writer
I will always recommend that every writer has a writer’s notebook of their own. They are simple to set-up and so useful for storing and organizing a writer’s ideas and even research and inspiration. If you want to learn more about writer’s notebooks and how you can make one of your own, then I encourage you to read more about it: What is a Writers Notebook | How to Create Your Own & Why Every Writer Needs One
How to Write a Great Novel From Beginning to End | Part One | Coming Up With a Concept
Coming up with a story concept and character concepts is the first step to writing a great novel. Every great novel starts with ideas, with a visualization, a dream, a concept. That’s where you need to start first. Once you have a rough idea of what you would like to write about, then turn that into something tangible.
Turning Your Story Concept into a Breif Story Synopsis
At this point it is a good idea to turn your story concept into something tangible like a breif story synopsis. This is not complicated, nor does it take too long to complete.
What is a Brief Story Synopsis?
A synopsis is a brief description of all of the main events that are going to take place in your story. A synopsis doesn’t have to be very long, it just has to give a quick explanation of what is going to happen in your story.
An Example of a Brief Story Synopsis
Example: Goldilocks and the Three Bears is a story about a naughty little girl named Goldilocks who disobeys her parents and goes for a walk in the woods. After a while, she becomes very tired and lost. She sees a house in the woods and decides to drop in for a rest. She doesn’t know that it belongs to a family of bears.
The bears’ house is open and unoccupied, so Goldilocks invites herself in. While in the house, she tries each of the bears’ porridge, jumps on their furniture and finally falls asleep in baby bear’s bed where the bears find her. When she wakes up to see them looking at her, she screams and runs home as quickly as she can and promises her parents never to disobey them again.
Why Write a Brief Story Synopsis?
The reason that writing a brief story synopsis for your novel concept is such a good idea boils down to a few different reasons.
- It turns your story concept into something tangible. It’s no longer just an idea in the back of your head, instead it is something you can see clearly in front of you.
- You can turn that synopsis into a novel outline later on and use it as the framework for your first draft.
- You have a clear vision for your book. A rough outline for a beginning, middle, and end. This will increase your chances of writing the whole novel.
Take your ideas for your story, plot, events, hero, protagonist, antagonist, side characters, and motivation, and create a short synopsis.
Don’t worry if you have to rewrite it a few times. That is perfectly normal. Just please don’t skip this step. It will make your life so much easier later on when you go to start writing your first draft.
What Comes Next? | The Next Step in Writing a Great Novel | Research, Setting, & Characters
Be sure to take a look at the next article in this series where you can learn about the next step in writing a great novel. You will learn more about some of the other pre-writing work that you can do, such as researching for your novel, planning your scenes and setting, and developing your characters.