So you want to write a novel. A novel-length manuscript is usually around fifty-thousand words long. Some are longer but not many are shorter. A novel can be a great undertaking and the first step toward completing it is preparation. There are several different methods used by novelists. You may need to try out several to see which one works for you. Most people spend a lot of time thinking about their novel before they ever begin to write it. The best advice is to put your thoughts down on paper. They may not be in chronological order, but that does not matter. Just record them before you lose them. This is the brainstorming phase. First, take a few minutes and write one sentence that sums up your novel. Before doing this, think about the story you want to tell. Later when you’re writing your book proposal you’ll use this sentence to sell your book. If you have a hard time summing everything up in one sentence, try reading a few blurbs on book covers in your library or bookstore. This may give you an idea of how to approach your sentence. Next, expand that sentence to a full paragraph. The book blurbs may help on this as well. In the paragraph you’ll need to describe the story setup, any disasters, and the ending of the book. This paragraph should have at least five sentences. You’ll also use it later in your proposal. Next, you’ll need to develop your characters. Allow one per page and write up a character sheet for each one.
Include physical characteristics, voice, character’s motivation/goals, and relation to other characters. Now, take the paragraph you wrote and expand it into one page. Once this is done, you’ll have your proposal. Take time to write up a one-page description of each character. This should tell the story in each character’s point of view. Take your synopsis and expand it further. Then, take it again and use it as a guide to write an outline, detailing scenes you’d like to include. If you use a spreadsheet program, you can move your scenes around easier later. This may take some time, but it will be worth it when you’re ready to write your story. Each scene should have some conflict. Now it’s time to pound out your first draft. If you follow the above steps, it won’t take nearly as long as if you just started putting pen to paper. If you find you need help, you can hire a ghostwriter. Or if, after writing your final draft, you can hire someone to proofread or edit your work. If you are in need of an editor or ghostwriter, see http://www.geocities.com/roborramblings/editing.html .