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How to Write a Novel: Facing the Blank Page

Nothing, absolutely nothing, is more intimidating to a writer than a blank page, which brings up the question, were to start? I mean, you open a new document to start you new story and there’s the blank page.  It really puts into perspective the work of the writer. Sure in about 50k words it’s less daunting, but initially it seems impossible, no matter how short or long the work will be, a writer always asks themselves, can they do it?

I ask myself this every time I start a new novel and this doubt is what makes me procrastinate for up to weeks at a time until I finally get myself in gear and sit myself in a chair and start. But this is a real issue for writers. How do you start a novel? Is it as easy as sitting in a chair and writing? Yes and no. It’s one thing to sit in a chair and pull up a document with the intention to write, but that doesn’t mean you are going to write. I know. It happens to me. So here are some tips to get started or rather how to get started. First thing first. Pour a cup of coffee, your favorite tea, drink, whatever and get high on the stuff, now…

Set the mood

This is an excellent way to get started, a description of the feelings, the tone, rain or sun and all kind of stuff. Getting the setting straight, but be careful not make this a big info dump session. Whether this is the beginning of a scene, a chapter, or novel, draw the word with vivid description, but make sure it’s not purple prose. Not only is this great for the reader, but it puts the writer in the actual place and the writing will start to flow.

Start with Dialogue

Usually, the character making a statement to reflect the situation, not only helps get the story started and the writer started, but also helps set the mood and the voice of the character. Some people say don’t do this, but I say if it works and as long as you’re not doing so for every single chapter, use it to get started and if you need to, cut the dialogue later during revision, but if it gets you rolling, go with it.

Make a General Statement

They say to show, don’t tell, but a general short telling statement goes a long way in setting the mood and getting the story started. Nothing long, but just a short three or four words, maybe five, but the shorter they are, the better. This is the best way for me to get a story started or anything for that matter. A short phrase can pack a powerful punch and then you can get started.

So don’t be intimidated by the blank page. When all else fails, just start writing and revise later.

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