So you want to write a novel, eh?
I’d like to throw out some tips to you to get you started:
1) Characters - You absolutely have to have characters planned out for your novel. Either in your head waiting to be birthed, or ones you’ve written for but never really gave them a home.
2) Define these characters - give them hair color, skin color, clothes that suit them and facial features that define them. Give them personality and a voice that can carry a novel.
3) Environment - Okay, so now you have characters, now you’re going to need a setting in which they’ll live or a world to wander through (You never know, you might be writing a sci-fi novel and you really need to discover the worlds in which they live)
4) Premise - This is where you’ll define what your novel will be about. The beginning, middle and how you see it ending. You don’t have to adhere to the premise entirely but this will get you started in the direction you wish to go.
5) Outline – You can, if you want, outline each chapter; again as you wish to see the story develops. You needn’t stick to this outline like crazy glue to your fingers, you just need a basic outline of all you see happening with each chapter.
6) Timeline – As you work on the outline, this might be where you put forth a timeline. Have you missed years’ perhaps dates? Are they consistent/inconsistent with the rest of what you wrote?
7) Editing – Not by paragraph, not by chapter, not even by the time you reach the middle. Save all edits for after you’ve written THE END can you go back and edit.
8) Seek feedback – This is where a writing group comes in handy if you have one. I myself don’t have one these days, so my editing is done in my spare time. I read and fix things I think I miss, I read it out loud to myself because this is how the reader is going to hear it in their minds when they read it. Fixing things means my consistency and imagery and such.
9) Edit some more- I go through each chapter doing the above. Making sure I have my handy dandy timeline ready for viewing, then I check for any grammar mistakes I may have made and tweak them to my liking.
10) Edit some more - After the two edits to your liking, you’re going to want to give it another trip down the reading lane.
There you have it. Your novel should be a complete novel instead of a work in progress. I know many writers do many more edits before being satisfied with a completed work, so be sure you’ve done enough to satisfy you. Then get searching for publishers!