Before starting the exciting journey of writing a novel, check the true level of your enthusiasm. In an informal survey of writers, the “why are you considering writing a novel” factor strongly affects the success of completing the “how to write” factor. On average, writing a novel is a 2+ year task, which requires a strong positive attitude that youll not only start the novel but youll also have the drive, passion, and belief in yourself and the project to see that adventure through to completion. Your motivation must be very strong — always thinking of interesting plots, characters or things you want to write about, as if you cant help yourself; longing to put everything down on paper or computer screen. Bridging the gap between thinking and writing is as much an artistic adventure as the finished manuscript.

If novel-writing isnt near the top of your life goals or objectives list, perhaps you need to reconsider the size of your writing project (change to short stories or articles) or investigate honing separate skill sets necessary to novel writing (plot formation, character development, dialogue and setting). Learning novel-writing is a process, so theres nothing wrong about starting in increments and building small success upon small success. Taking the task in manageable chunks, with your goal of a novel in mind, brings confidence and possible pages ready to be incorporated in the final product — your novel.

In gaining information about learning the craft of novel-writing, not every author, article or writing class will benefit you, just like everyone doesnt like every type of food. But they do have the advantage of “getting published,” so accept and discard advice advisedly. Youre still the amateur. Fortunately, the Internet, libraries, bookstores and writing groups are no-cost or low cost sources of gathering useful information which can help, or convince you, of proper technique in your efforts to learn (or get back on the right track) in your writing.

Authors need a clear idea of their story as a foundation for their task. Do you know what you want to write about? What genres do you read or do you have favorite authors? Although you are not limited by your answers nor should you slavishly “mimic” another authors style, your responses might help you identify or hone your original idea to begin the process.

Before starting, determine the “success” quotient of the idea for your novel. It must interest you, in order for you to spend the time and effort to write well, but, most importantly, it must be able to interest others, in a fresh, entertaining way. Always keep in mind, theres a lot of competition out there for a readers time. The adversaries are the quality and availability of the 24/7 stories in broadcast and cable television and Internet as well as print media. So you have to craft the idea well and carefully; the potential reader of your novel is very busy and very sophisticated. Ask people who arent “yes men” for a critical analysis of your idea to ascertain if the idea is clear, manageable and gripping.