No more prevaricating. You’ve had the idea for a long time, so let’s get dow to work.
Before you start, make a realistic timetable. Then stick to it. Most pages are 250 words and aim to write 5 pages a day. A book is around 500 pages, so in theory it should take 100 days. But to be realistic, you know that you are not going to write every day – if you can manage 20 pages a week, you are doing well. Add to that another 10 weeks of planning. If you are conscientious, you can do it in 49 weeks.
Once you start writig, don’t pause for punctuation or too much analysis – this will be your first draft and you can fine-tune it later, after the real work is over. To get the dialogue right, listen to everyone – I eavesdrop shamelessly on buses and trains, I once overheard a lad aged about 17 tell his mother “Well, if I can’t get married, I’m going to buy a motorbike.” Sadly they alighted before I heard her reply.
When the people in your book speak , try to hear their voices in your head. Pretend you are listening at the door, and somehow it comes easier. I usually make my characters people I would like to meet, but there has to be a sprinkling of rotten apples as well. There should also be strong, brave people who make the right decisions and don’t abandon friends or loves or duty.
If you pretend they are real people, they will become so. Give your characters lots of clothes , records, pets and hobbies – even though you don;t mention them all in your book, somehow the characters will be more believable. Don’t let the heroes and heroines be sickeningly good; nor the villains completely evil. Write what you know about, ad you will be on safe ground. Write in your own voice – that way, you won’t be pretentious.
And finally, keep to your timetable. Start editing and polishing your first draft. If you don’t have a publisher or agent, the horrible business of rejection will probably start. But stick with it – those who quit are leaving the coast open for those of us who stick with it. When you do get a pubisher, they will probably suggest changes to the title or ask you to change certain scenes – listen to them … theyare in the business and know what they are talking about.
Finally, when you write about ordinary people – remember, nobody is really ordinary if you know where to look. We are all heroes of our own life story. Watch strangers’ faces – everyone has some kind of a dream, a hope, a plan. No one is uninteresting. Believe that, and you will never be without a plot, a character, or indeed an interesting life.
I am always happy to hear from you. Be in touch if you have difficulty finding any of my 13 books. My novel “Autumn Blessing” is available asan e-book, published by Prism Pu8bishers in USA . Happy writing!