Okay, so I’ve done a fair portion of this process, and I’ve done a rather substantial amount of research on the topic. I thought, why not share? Maybe some of you are interested. Let’s roooollll on into it!
Step 1: Have an idea. Whoo! There ya go! Easy enough, right? Have an idea that you want to develop into a novel. Step 1: done.
Step 2: Write a plot and, if applicable, do the necessary worldbuilding. This is an extremely tedious process, one of my least favorite, but totally necessary. If required, this is also the step in which to do any research. The plot entails writing out all major events of the story, and what is necessary to get your characters to that point; I usually do this in a bulleted list. Worldbuilding is usually only necessary if you’re writing in a setting different from the world that we currently live in; for example, a world with Psychics in it. To worldbuild, you need to establish how the wide world lives, the rules that apply to the changes to the world that you’ve made, and how the differences affect the livlihood of characters (those seen on- and off-page).
Step 3: Write the story. This requires several things: don’t worry about length. Write the story, and it will be however long that it is. No biggie, just focus on writing, because length will change with editing, anyway. Remember, you don’t have to write in a linear timeline; you can write scenes that you know are going to happen, and fill in the content in between. You can write front to back, back to front, however you want, as long as the entire story gets written out, in the end.
Step 4: Proofread and edit for yourself. I find it helps to read aloud as you do this, because you can hear more easily mistakes or clunky phrasing that you want to change rather than seeing it. Something very, very important to remember when editing for yourself: remember that this is NOT your final draft. It’s never perfect after the first draft of a work. So, fix what you can–but, you’ll also have other people reading for you. Do everything you can, but if you get burned out or too frustrated, that’s when you should move on to step 5.
Step 5: Send it to Beta-Readers. “Beta” is Latin for “B,” so, “B-Readers.” Secondary readers, to look for any gaping issues in plot or small grammatical things. I’ve found that a small number of friends or family is best. I have three Beta-Readers, my two oldest siblings and one friend. That’s about all you need, because they should end up catching all gross mistakes.
Step 6: Once you’ve gotten your Beta-Read rough draft back, compile all corrections (including your own) and make all necessary changes. This is my next step, so I can’t give much personal advice, but I can say this will almost always be a rather extensive process; the rought draft will, obviously, have the most mistakes out of any draft, so it will take awhile to make all necessary changes, but it will be worth it.
Step 7: Repeat steps 4-6 until you have a finished book that is as perfect as you can make it, and that you are proud of. This is when you can look into different methods of publishing, if you’re interested in it, and start to pursue whichever you choose.
I hope this was helpful, or, if you’re not so much into writing, at least an interesting read!
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