Some of you may be participating in our 100 Day Book program, writing your first novel on your own, or kicking around the idea of starting that manuscript.
Writing your first novel is hard. It’s a struggle. It’s a learning process.
And it’s often autobiographical, even if you don’t intend it to be. And that’s okay.
However, as you write your first novel, it would be worth stepping back and considering how much you need your book to replicate your life.
Great writing comes from great suffers, of course! But, does your first journal need to be your life?
Can you start writing something inspired by your life, yet not the same, instead?
Wait, My Main Character Is Me!
Every character is a piece of the author. I signify, how do you “write what you know” if you can’t apply who you are familiar with?
The thing with writing your first book is that the primary attribute will most probably be based on yourself. Heavily based on yourself.
What I intend by this is that their point of view likely comes from your point of view in real life. When it’s your first time writing, it’s not uncommon that your main character shares your perspective.
My first finished novel was a dramatized version of my life at the time. I didn’t realise it when I was writing, but my primary attribute was me.
Her sister was my sister. Her husband was my husband. I believe I made up one character( an elderly neighbor woman ), but other than that I basically just changed the names.
Even if you find your first draft to be “too you, ” don’t panic. It’s not a waste of time, and you can still save it from collecting dust for eternity.
Writing your first fiction is hard work, and study how to write a POV or POVs that are inspired by you without being precisely you is a learning process.
And part of the creative process, too!
“Your firstly fiction will probably be heavily based on your own life–and that’s okay! Keep writing.Tweet thisTweet 5 Reasons to Roll With It
You might be saying, “I didn’t mean for this to be autobiographical. Now I have to start over.”
No, you don’t.
Here are just a handful of reasons to go with the flow and stop writing your first fiction 😛 TAGEND 1. You’re getting into a writing habit.
Writing involves dedication, time management, and a ton of patience. Just like anything else important, you have to prioritize your writing day and specified goals and deadlines for yourself or you’ll never finish.
With your first fiction, you’re practicing your writing habit by find what time of day you write best, learning how many terms you can reasonably produce in each discussion, and developing your “process.”
Writing discussions should be dedicated to learning your style of story writing or nonfiction writing.
Don’t obsess over whether or not your writing is as good as a published author’s. Instead, write your first fiction with a goal of developing good writing habits.
This is what will push you through writing lows like writer’s block, perfectionism, or imposter syndrome.
And all of these habits will support you over and over again as you threw more terms down on reoccurring blank pages.
Some strategies to nurture health writing habits include:
Set a daily term count( or protect a procedure occasion of the day for writing ).
You might even are happy to make a” Word Count Jar” or “Word Count Bank” and add or remove fund from the jar every day you do or don’t meet your word count purpose. Treat yourself to something you’ve special like a yummy dinner or special endowment when you’ve added a certain amount.
Find a writing blog( like this one !) or listen to a writing podcast that teaches you something about writing without clouding progress made on your first volume.
Different writers have a different writing process, and others have similar ones, too. Whether or not you enjoy writing gratuities that come with the territory or a step-by-step process on how to write your first book, turning to aspiring authors turned published authors is a good way to develop health writing habits that will lead to your finished book.
Read! Don’t stop read!
Never stop reading, even as you write. Many writers’ wagers narrative notions come from reading wide and deep. Your writing process will only benefit from a bookshelf that its full of bestsellers, short stories, classics, debuts, contemporary stories, and a variety of genres.
Do you want to become a great writer with brilliant story ideas? Then you need to read. You need to learn from the best.
2. You’re practice your technique and finding yourself.
Writing is a lot of work.
Structure, character arc and progress, B plots, flavor, mode, etc. are all things you need to keep track of when writing a novel.
Because your life is so familiar, using it as substance induces it easier to focus on the finer phases and lets you develop your writing style without having to concentrate as much on attributes or original storyline.
When you move on to the next volume, or even the second draft, you’ll be much more confident in your writing.
But for now, lean on the reason you decided to write your first novel in the first place. Use that to finish your book.
Don’t be too hard on yourself if your first person narration feels a little too close to home.
3. You’re learning to differentiate personas.
A common problem with new novelists( and let’s face it, some seasoned ones) is all their attributes are similar. They talk the same, react the same, sometimes even search the same.
Drawing from people in real life can help with this.
You know how your sister would react, what her speech patterns are, that annoying little half smile she gets when she’s right and knows it. No one else is like her. Writing “her” into your volume will help you develop richer characters in later stories.
However, while your personas might have similar personalities to people in your life, that doesn’t mean they have to share identical backstories.
If you are worrying that your characters are engraved copies of one another, and that hassles you, maybe consider how you can make their backstories different.
Take a writing breaking period and dedicate it to getting to know your personas a bit better by writing out these backstories in a synopsis of their life. If it helps, try finding a photo online that best fits this character–but is not that sister who stimulated them.
Are you starting to see them somewhat in a different light now? Is that difference attaining it easier or harder to write them?
If easier, bravo, and keep going!
If more difficult, scrap this character period as one for practise, and give yourself a break for stimulating the specific characteristics so alike others in your real life. It’s your first journal. You’re learning!
4. You’re see to use real world.
I just said you shouldn’t use real life, right? Not exactly.
You will always use real world as a basis for your tales, but living should be a trigger for inspiration instead of imitated verbatim.
As you’re writing your first fiction, you’re learning to take notes, to watch people’s foibles, to recall weird conversations you had three years ago. You’re learning to pay attention.( And hopefully you’re learning to always carry something to write with .)
P.S. If you haven’t tried writing( and taking notes) with Scrivener yet, I highly recommend it.
Carrying a writer’s journal in your back pocket is always a good habit. Using Scrivener to taken due note and story and write your book is too. You can speak more about our volume Scrivener Superpowers in this post.
5. You’re going to finish a novel!
Remember how you wanted to write a novel, which is why you started the process to begin with? You’re still doing that!
Even if it never insures the light of day, you will have written your first novel. It will exist.
And when you move on to the next suggestion, you’ll be old hat at this whole novelist thing.
However, if you get hung up on your narrative needing to be perfect, on it needing to be as good as what your future books will inevitably be, you’ll never finish this one.
Finishing is the most important step you can accomplish this time round! You’ll learn so much about story arrangement, your writing process, and other writing essentials by achieving what you set out to do in the beginning of your writing challenge.
You can’t edit anything that isn’t written.
In the same ignite, you’ll never learn as much about writing a first volume as you do from actually finishing your first novel.
Whether or not you’re writing a 50,000 term MG book or a 100,000 word fantasy fiction, finish your tale. Share it with others. And is fully prepared to the second draft.
Up the Stakes
I know it seems like I’m saying writing your first novel is just a practice run, but that’s not necessarily the instance. Besides the above reasons to stick with it, I have another secret 😛 TAGEND
You can still save this book.
So your main character is you at the core. She’s doing what you do daily. She’s taking her puppy for a saunter, going to the grocery store, fighting with her collaborator. She’s constantly doing something, so you are interested in there’s a ton of action.
But where’s the conflict?
A list of action is not a story. There must be conflict. Your private living probably isn’t very dramatic, and that’s okay. You can still use instances of your life to write your novel.
Just up those stakes.
If your main character goes to the grocery store, what happens? Does she get mugged in the parking lots? Does she run across an old-fashioned flare? Does she have a mental breakdown after finding out the storage is out of her favorite toilet paper?
Something has to rub your main character the wrong way in order for there to be a story. Find the conflict and you’ll have a book, whether your personas are a little too true to life or not.
“The secret to writing an amazing first fiction( or any novel, truly ): Raise the stakes.Tweet thisTweet
( A NOTE FOR THOSE MEANING TO WRITE AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY/ MEMOIR: This section applies to you, too. You still need to have conflicts around your story. The gap is you need to remember what the conflict was at the time instead of stirring it up .)
Keep Moving Forward
Even if upping the bets doesn’t turn your raw material into shiny gold, it’s okay.
After my first fiction turned out too true to life, I stagnated a bit. I set it in a drawer somewhere.( I is definitely no thought which drawer now, but I’m sure the poor manuscript has a nice layer of dust and some expired coupons to keep it company .) I wondered if I should seek to rewrite some more and decided it wasn’t worth the effort. The story only felt doneto me.
Knowing that made me worry I didn’t have any imagination or writing chops. But I picked myself up and wrote a couple bad short tales. I started three other fictions that didn’t get off the ground.
It didn’t take long for me to get out of my slump. A little while later, I was practically bursting with ideas to write about. I’d qualified my brain to write and opened the floodgates of inspiration in the process. The next novel was a dark fantasy, with attributes that had personalities all their own and a world-wide that was drastically different from my local grocery store.
That journal turned into Surviving Death, and was published this month.
Now I have so many hypothesis, it’s hard to keep up.
Keep writing . Keep practicing. The rest will fall in line.
Is your volume a little too autobiographical? What are you going to do to up the stakes? Let me know in specific comments!
Today I want you to take fifteen minutes to write about something you did today. A exchange, a patronize trip, cleaning your house, anything. Keep it as true to life as possible except for one thing: conflict. Up the stakes.
When you’re done, share your writing in specific comments. Don’t forget to comment on your chap writers’ work!
The post Writing Your First Novel: How to Fix an( Inadvertently) Autobiographical Novel seemed first on The Write Practice.
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