4 Quick Tips To Help Make Your #Novel Successful by Tim LaBarge (Guest Post by @enwritened)

We’re excited to bring you a guest post from writer and blogger Tim LaBarge. Tim is dedicated to the advancement and improvement of all fiction writers through his website and blog.

4 Quick Tips To Help Make Your Novel Successful

By Tim LaBarge

Writing fiction (especially novels) can be an extremely time-consuming, difficult, frustrating, and altogether extraordinarily rewarding activity.

1) Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Novels are hard. They’re long and involved. Themes need to extend and manifest themselves over the course of your entire story. Inconsistencies can accrue quickly and often without your knowledge. It’s for this reason that I recommend keeping your first novel relatively simple. You can always increase the complexity as you go, but once your story becomes too complex, it’s extremely difficult to reel it back in.

Simple does not mean boring. Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is a short piece, and very few would call the story complex. However, there are nuances and themes that make it one of the most celebrated novels of all time.

Some fiction authors can try to tackle more than others early in their writing careers. If you feel overwhelmed by your novel, or that your story is not flowing as it should, this is a sign that you might need to pull back on the reins and simplify things a little.

2)  Know your characters. Good characters will take you far in fiction writing. If you create strong, believable characters, your readers will appreciate it. They are much more likely to overlook plot deficiencies if they have an attachment to your characters. I often find simplistic stories with interesting characters are more engaging than complex tales with superhuman characters. Sometimes this is the best recipe for success, as opposed to getting caught up in the grandeur that can dominate fiction writing.

3) Build momentum. Writing a novel is not a sprint. It’s a marathon — a test of endurance. Once you get up to speed, stay there. Just like a 26.3-mile jaunt through downtown Chicago, it’s much easier to set your pace and push through consistently than it  is to stop and start. If you go too long between writing sessions you risk forgetting nuances you had created for your characters, themes you were cleverly crafting, or even events that have occurred. Keep that momentum pumping!

4) Stay positive. You will run low on motivation. You will get writer’s block. Mark Twain hit a terrible patch of writer’s block while composing Tom Sawyer. “My tank had run dry. It was empty…And it was then that I made the great discovery that, when the tank was dry, you’ve only to leave it alone and it will fill up again in the time while you were asleep, also while you were at work on other things and are quite unaware that this unconscious and profitable celebration is going on. There was plenty of material now, and the book went on and finished itself without any trouble.”

Many times you’ll sit down to write and find your inspiration tank stubbornly stuck on “E.” You will find hundreds of problems with your story. You will need to do rewrites. This is all part of the process that goes into creating a great work of fiction. It’s at these tough times that you need to stay positive. Don’t give up hope. Plug away. You get what you give. The more work you put in, the better your story will be.

Learning to write fiction is just like any other skill. It takes practice and patience. You’re perfectly equipped to succeed – you just need to put yourself in position to do so. Keep these four tips in mind when you’re diving into your novel, and you’ll make things a lot easier on yourself. Your novel will probably be a lot better, too.

Great advice! Thank you, Tim.

Tim LaBarge is a writer and a blogger. His site Enwritened is dedicated to the advancement and improvement of all fiction writers. You can connect with Tim on Twitter here: @Enwritened.

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