1. Figure out what your story is going to be about. This is called the plot. It could be about a pirate captain who voyages the seven seas or a knight who defends his fortress from cruel invaders or a concentration camp escapee. Your story, your choice.
* Consider using authoring software if you do not have a good feel for doing it on your own. This can be expensive but can help the novice and professional alike in developing solid stories using some of the tried and tested formulas that have been analyzed in creating such software.
2. Create your main characters. Usually there is a main good guy (protagonist) and a main bad guy (antagonist). There are several ways to do this. One way could be to draw rough sketchs of them. Another could be to write up a list of questions (name? age? favorite color? pet peeves?) and answer them for each character. Or just start writing and take them raw.
* Don’t make your protagonist perfect. If your protagonist is perfectly flawless, your readers will have no way to connect to him or her. After all, nobody’s perfect.
* Same applies to the antagonist, they shouldn't be all bad. If they have no good or human qualities, your readers will have no way to connect, and they will seem wooden.
3. Create your other characters. These are called secondary or minor characters. Don’t make the mistake of thinking secondary characters are unimportant. More often than not, they are what make the story great. Do the same thing you did when designing your protagonist.
4. Start writing. There are several common approaches to writing:
* Begin with the ending in mind. If you know the ending of the story, it can help you form the theme, the plot, the settings, the characters, and it can help you progress more easily toward that ending.
* The big picture approach. Try to create the world (the overall setting and environment), and then build on it to create your novel. Create geography, races, towns, cities, capitals, cults, factions, governments, etc.
* Dive in approach. You have the list of the idea, and you start writing while it's still fresh in your mind.
5. Make the Commitment. This does not mean cancel all your appointments for the next six months and go for it, but you do need to understand what you're undertaking. Many wonderful writers go unnoticed and unread because their drawers are filled with unfinished novels. Before you even begin writing, print out, read, and sign the contract below. If you don't like it, or you feel it doesn't exactly pertain to you, feel free to alter it as needed. Then hang it somewhere you can always see it, maybe at the front of your writing journal, on your bulletin board, or even the fridge. It sounds silly, of course, but it's the key to success.
* Contract With Yourself to Write Your Novel
I, ________________, wish to share my wonderful story with others. I pledge to perform each step towards this goal with my best effort. I will not be brought down by self-doubt, rejection from others, or even the dreaded writer's block. I will never give up or feel that my ideas are not good enough. I will write every day and train myself to notice the world around me. I will only share my writing with people I trust and respect profusely, and who trust and respect ME profusely. I shall accept constructive criticism and not take it personally. I know that I will not become Charles Dickens in a day or a week or a month or even a year. I know that I will have to work hard to achieve what I want so deeply. I promise to write because I love doing it- and not because I feel pressured to write 'the next bestseller.' And most importantly, I pledge to always believe in myself.
Now with the power vested in me, I'm gonna get out there and write a novel!
6. Create a habit. “We are creatures of habit,” it is said, and it’s true. Do the following things to help make your writing a habit:
* Make yourself write every day, whether it's a sentence, a chapter, or more, you must regularly dedicate some time to your novel. Set aside a quiet hour where everyone must leave you alone. Morning or night, it doesn’t matter, as long as you write.
* Create a writing space. Find a cozy place where you can relax and there are no distractions. Get a good chair to sit in which won't give you back pains after hours and hours of sitting and writing. You don't write a book in an hour, it takes months, so protect your back.
* If you are a procrastinator, try joining NaNoWriMo: write 50,000 words in one month to complete your novel. Writers tend to work better when there's a deadline to face.
7. Seek constructive feedback. Never show your precious writing to someone you don't completely trust. Your writing is in its “baby stage” and it needs nurture and love. You need someone encouraging, but who isn't afraid to be honest and completely blunt with you. Remember, its better to hear critique from a friend than criticism from an editor or agent.
* Consider joining an online or offline writing community. This can provide support, feedback, and peer reviews.
8. Rewrite. The story is really written during this part. Editing and rewriting is what makes the story good, because you can always write fuller. The writing stage is when you set your ideas down. The rewriting stage is the time to make it great. But be careful not to over-edit. It is possible to rip out your story while you straighten your grammar. Check with two or more "personal editors" (aka, friends, family, teachers, etc...) before you do a massive edit (although your opinion is the final answer). Always save the first draft in a safe place. Sometimes you DO go overboard with the editing and end up wanting to go back to that first draft.
9. Keep rewriting. A great story is never truly finished, and as an amateur, you really don't have any time restrictions. “A story is never finished, only abandoned.”
10. Publish your work. This is the conclusion that most writers aim for. Whether you choose a well known publishing company, an online e-publisher, or self-publish, this is how you get your novel to the world.
* Use writing advice that works best for you. Different writers write differently. Regarding writing advice, "one size" does not fit all.
* "It is better to write for yourself and have no public than to write for the public and have no self." Write your story the way you want. There are markets for all genres, and there will always be a slot for your story if it's well written and interesting.
* Avoid throwing away your ideas! You will want them later.
* It's OK to have more material than you actually need in your first draft. Long paragraphs of description can be trimmed later, but those are things that YOU need to know during the early writing process.
* Don’t make your story “episodic”: sure, bomb threats and explosions are great hooks and very engaging – but only in the right context. If you throw dynamite in for effect, your reader will start to smell a rat.
* Don’t expect too much from yourself. You’re not going to become Charles Dickens or Stephan King on your first try. Remember that “the writing is in the rewriting.”
* Do have self confidence. If you expect yourself to fail, you will.
* Don’t write expecting bundles of money. It’s not millionaire bills for a novel, and unless you’re the next bestseller, don’t expect to be on the next billionaire list.
* Don’t use too many clichés or stock phrases. They have their place, but over using them is boring and uninventive.
 Things You'll Need
* A quiet place to sit and work.
* A dictionary and thesaurus. You might need to look up words or find a different word to use. This will help!
* A computer, notepad, or typewriter.