A question I get a lot, and I’m certain most authors and writers do, is ‘how do you manage to write novels?’.
Growing up and getting into books relatively late compared to my peers, I used to ask myself that very same question. While I could imagine how people wrote movies, considering they are usually somewhere between ninety and a hundred and twenty minutes long, I couldn’t figure out how people wrote books. How did they fill hundreds of pages with words and somehow also make all of it interesting, especially to new readers, by which I don’t necessarily mean kids but rather anyone who picks up a book for the first time properly in general or after a long break?
After working on my writing for a little over eight years I think I have an idea of what it takes to write a novel-length story and the four most important building blocks you’ll need. Of course, there is a lot of other smaller factors, but these are the basics.
Inspiration + Creativity + Skill + Determination/Endurance
Without some kind of inspiration, no skill or determination or even creativity will be quite able to help you fill out fifty to a hundred thousand words. How do you get inspired then? That, really, depends on the person, but personally, anything can inspire me. A song, a movie scene, something I see while outside, or even something as silly as a pen or an empty notebook.
Once you have that inspirational spark, you need creativity to turn this spark into a flame, a proper fire. If your pen inspired you, your creativity can help you turn a simple pen into a magical object or something futuristic, perhaps a tool your main character will need to defeat a villain or figure out an issue to help their friends. Soon, as inspiration and creativity work together, you’ll have a plot, characters, scenes, an overarching arc, and a conflict.
Skill is something you’ll develop as you write. Believe me, don’t be discouraged when your first manuscript turns out bad, your characters flat, the action boring, your descriptions too lengthy and all of it more tell than show. With each round of editing, with each manuscript, you’ll get better, you’ll learn from past mistakes, and soon your words will turn from boring to riveting, your characters from flat to humanlike, and your conflicts something your readers will genuinely feel invested in.
The final, and in a way perhaps most crucial piece you’ll need, is the determination and endurance to finish your manuscript even when the words won’t seem to come to you, when you write your story into a corner you’re unsure how to get out of, and your characters seemingly unruly. Writing a whole manuscript is a daunting task especially the first few times around, figuring out the proper pacing and how to not get discouraged along the way, to hold on to what made you fall in love with your idea in the first place, to feel fun while writing instead of this sense of suffocating more with each word as you struggle to fill the pages. This might be the hardest part of those basic four pieces to develop.
At the end of the day, anyone can get inspired, can be creative (even if unoriginal), can learn how to write (good or bad or mediocre), but actually pushing through and getting to write THE END? That’s the true challenge. But it isn’t an unbeatable one. With enough time and care, you can get there. It might take a while, but really, writing isn’t a race.
Hone your craft, give in to even the silliest ideas, have fun, and perhaps at the end you’ll have a manuscript worth of words someone will fall in love with and want on their shelves.
They survived a plane crash.
They survived life on a deserted island.
They survived being hunted.
Now they must survive the truth—they are not who they think they are.
One minute they’re in Poland, subjected to gruesome tests they keep failing. No friends to support them. No family to claim them. No hope of ever living a normal life again.
Then suddenly, they’re trapped on an abandoned freighter in the middle of the ocean and forced to fight for survival. No food. No drinkable water. No way to get home. And strange memories of another life they don’t understand.
But how can they be living two separate lives, trapped in two separate places, at the same time? They’ll have to find the connection and uncover secrets that someone went to great lengths to keep hidden…if they’re going to survive long enough to find out who is behind it all.
About Alice Reeds
Alice Reeds was born in a small town in Germany but spent her first eight years in Florida, USA. Later on, she moved back to Europe, where her family moved around a lot. She was raised trilingual and has a basic understanding of Russian, read and spoken. After getting her International Baccalaureate Diploma, Alice is studying English Language and Literature at University. In her free time Alice mostly writes, reads, figure and/or roller skates, or watches countless let’s plays and figure skating videos.