Monday, June 21, 2010

How to Finish a Novel

QUESTION: I keep starting novels but can't seem to finish them because I can't figure out how. Help!

Writing isn't just inspiration. A novel involves a great deal of planning, thought, and preparation. Those who just write instead of doing some form of plan or outline are more likely to be unable to finish a novel, or their novel falls apart.

Learn how to make that plan, if not an outline.

To do this, read books on writing. Most are one-size fits almost nobody, but you may eventually stumble on the one idea or method that gives you an "ah ha!" moment.

Mine was Ben Bova's WRITING SCIENCE FICTION THAT SELLS which helped me understand the relationship between plot and character. It's a good book even if you don't write science fiction.

Find a good teacher. The Internet has some wonderful online teaching sites.

Ask questions at blogs like this one.

And when you find novels you really like, reread them and try to figure out what the writer did and how the novel was structured.

Take the book apart by writing a short description of what happens in each chapter so you can better see the structure.

Don't give up if you really want to tell the story. Eventually, you will figure out how to finish it if you work at it.


SCHEDULE NOTE: Next week, I will be doing a number of posts on choosing the right type of market and the publisher for your genre novel.


Magic, Monsters and Amour: Creating a Believable Paranormal, Fantasy, or SF World. October 4-31, 2010 at October 4-31, 2010 at

Are vampires, fairies, and space aliens real? If you create the right background for your paranormal romance, they will be to a reader. I'll show you how to create a fantasy or paranormal background from scratch and how to make it utterly believable.

1 comment:

Judy Migliori said...

You hit the nail on the head with your advice on how to finish your novel. I immediately started writing a summary chapter by chapter of the book I'm currently reading - Widow by Carla Neggers. I also read this advice in another how to write book and never followed through - thank you for timely advice. In fact thank you for all the great information you post.