Day 4, Guest Post 4 out of 5 of Author Katie Femia Week. Author of Peacock Swamp The Nine Book 1, Katie is a freelance writer and is currently working on Book 2 of Peacock Swamp. If you enjoy this post, find the full series under “Author Katie Femia” category!
So You Want to Write a Book: How to Write a Novel
Since I published my first novel, Peacock Swamp|The Nine, people have asked me how hard or easy it was to write. Well I would never say it was easy, however I wouldn’t say it was hard either. Does that make sense? Allow me to explain.
How to write a novel?
Well, there is no tried and true method for writing a novel. The more I talk to other writers, the more I see that everyone has their own methods that work for them. The trick is, finding out the method that works for you. Are you more organized and visual? For example, would you benefit from creating an outline of your story first? Or, are you more by the seat of your pants? Perhaps just opening up the laptop and typing away is more for you. In the end, as long as you write a strong story, the road you took to get there doesn’t matter.
For me, I never created an outline. I just had an idea. To get started, that is all you really need. If you can think of a strong concept, one that you know there is interest in and you are interested in yourself, you are already off to a great start. If you can’t identify a market for your book (for example is it a mystery, suspense, memoir…), you may want to keep thinking and brainstorming. You won’t be able to market a book if you can’t identify who your reader will be. Once you take this step, in my opinion, you are ready to fly.
Writing a novel can be a sprint or a marathon, it just depends on you. I know writers who can bang out a few thousand words a day and finish a piece in less than a month or two. For me, Peacock Swamp was a labor of love that lasted over two years. Yes, there was a great deal of stop and go in between, including the time I took to have my 3rd child. But for me, that was the way I was happy writing. If I didn’t feel strong about where the story was headed or a chapter in general, I didn’t want to force it. The second book to the Peacock Swamp series, due out in a few months, is moving along much more quickly. My ideas have been a little more solid and direct, and I find that this one will be done in a third of the time as the first.
There are all sorts of places to find support when writing your novel. I utilized sites such as Writer’s Digest, The Author’s Circle, and a variety of social media groups and clubs. I continue to purchase the yearly Guide to Literary Agents as well as the yearly Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market books to find additional support and references. I networked as much as I could, attending online writer’s workshops and conferences, while trying to meet other writers who wrote in my genre as well. I have found that you can’t do this alone, at some point you need the support and wisdom of others!
So do you still want to write a novel? I sure hope so. Start with a brilliant concept. Identify your audience, find support, and then start writing. Remember, just putting your ideas and words to paper is a huge step that many people will never make it to. Just by starting you are ahead of the game, and stepping away from the “shoulda, woulda, coulda” crowd.
Whether you just write for yourself, for family, or because you hope to be the next big thing, once you finish your novel your initial goal has been reached. And I can tell you, there is not a better feeling in the world than that!
Like this post? Find others in the series below: