I am now working on my 14th book. This one will be a novel that I’m putting my whole heart into because, at my age, it will probably be my last. I am giving myself a year to finish it as there is a lot of research involved.
A novel is more than a long story. In the course of writing it, the storyline changes before your eyes. It happens to everyone. I have had this particular novel, which I will probably call “Searchbing for Sarah” in mind for quite a while and have been writing other things while letting the idea grow. I imagine it will be about 70,000 words after I delete all the unnecessary ones. You find them in descriptions – similes and metaphors are often more of a distraction than a help. Adverbs are also a minefield = like John said angrily, or smilingly or coldly. The dialogue should speak for itself, not be adding on adverbs.
The less adjectives you use, the better they work. Sometimes, a plain adjective is made more beautiful for the plainness of the other words around it. e.g. “She looked at the two men with clear, blue eyes. She had a lovely face.”
Sometimes while writing a novel you lose the way. This is what makes it formidable to undertake. When it is completed, and you have the self-confidence that writing The End gives you, you can round up the words you’ve deleted and maybe bring them back into a clear, lean line. Remembering to do this last unwelcome task separates professional ranks of novelists from those who just wish they were.
My guidelines are to write a little every day. Even if you’re having a bad day, at least add another paragraph or two. Read what you wrote yesterday before continuing – it helps bind the parts of the book together as you go along. Try to set a goal in the amount of time you devote to your writing every day – it is so easy to become distracted. The good and honest thing about writing a novel is that it has to be true in its essence to be of any worth. Even when it’s fiction.
To buy any of my books, go to the Books or About Me sections of my blog, where you will find out how to obtain them. If I can be of any help to you in your writing, leave me a comment and I will reply to you.