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Crafting Your Masterpiece: Tips For Writing Your Novel

When was the last time you picked up a novel and thought, “I could probably write something like this, too?” Or heard of someone you know publishing a book and getting hit with a pang of guilt because you never realized your potential as a writer?

Those of us who loved creative writing growing up always hoped of one day seeing our name on a book cover—a dream sidelined because real life happened, and there was just no time to write.

There’s a misconception among a lot of aspiring novelists that just because writing is a full-time job for established authors, they too might need to quit what they’re doing and dedicate all their time to writing their first book. Most who try to manage writing with work often end up abandoning it or only treating it as a hobby.

And while hobbies don’t make authors, you don’t need to quit your 9-5 just yet.

In this guide, we will:

  • Teach you how to create the headspace for writing
  • Help you build the habit of writing consistently
  • Teach you how to brainstorm your book idea
  • Explain the elements that give life to a great story

How to Get in the Writing Zone

A lot of first-time authors think writing is a  three-step process: you think of an idea, you write, and then you publish. However, talk to a seasoned writer, and they will tell you otherwise.

Before you can even start brainstorming for your book, you need to get in the right headspace for it. There’s a method to the art of writing—a ritual only you are privy to.

Schedule a time for writing

In an ideal world, you’d have all the time you’d need to write.

I also believed very strongly in the idea that you write when you write. Scribble on a napkin as you have lunch with a friend or carry a notebook with you at all times, so you don’t miss an idea. This, of course, was before I became a full-time writer.

Most people getting into writing imagine that art is driven by divine inspiration—and that you must do it when said inspiration strikes.

As romanticized an idea of writing as that is, it might be one of the worst ways to go about actually getting any work done.

Here are the secrets many figures out through trial and error, and others live their entire lives without the key to authoring a book is writing consistently.

Like anything else you might do, productivity isn’t measured in quantity but in dedicated quality.

So, before you do anything else, sit down and create a writing schedule for yourself.

Figure out when in the day you can afford to take out an hour—free of distractions—and dedicate that time slot to your book. Remember, you need to prioritize this time just as much as you would your job or family time, so make sure to stick by it no matter what.

Let’s say you get home at 6 p.m. from work and have marked off the hour from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. for writing.

There will be days when you’re too tired to write or make sudden plans with friends and think to yourself, “I’ll just do this later, today.”

Even if you do manage to stick to the change in your plan, remember that routines are built by following them—no matter what.

So, shake the thought from your head and sit down at the designated time to get some writing done. Reschedule your plans and push the fatigue away a little longer. 

Tell yourself: this is just the first draft. It doesn’t need to be excellent. It just needs to be there.

Allowing yourself to treat your schedule as something that can be changed makes it feel like less of a priority. And things that aren’t a priority often slip away.

Getting in, if you think your day doesn’t allow you to dedicate a full hour to your pursuit, then start with half an hour. But don’t change the time frame once you’ve already committed to it.

If time is really something you can’t budge on, then you can always hire a book writer to pen your book for you.

The key takeaway is this: goals and deadlines you set for yourself are just as important—and need to be respected—as those set for you by others.


Dedicate a Writing Space

Here’s a story from before I became an author.

Every time I imagined myself writing, my mind would conjure up images of a dark room lit only by a flickering oil lamp as I dipped my feather quill in a pot of ink to write in a cursive font on old parchment—courtesy of my Shakespeare-inspired sensibilities of what makes an author.

Now, my idea may not have been era-appropriate, but what I did get right was this: to write, you need to create your workspace.

I’m not telling you to go out and buy an oil lamp, or even a typewriter, for that matter. You are fine using the device you already have. The point is to dedicate a specific place to writing.

It could be anywhere that works for you—a home office, the break room at work, a cafe, or a restaurant. Anywhere that you can sit down and write for the entire length of time, you choose to dedicate to the task.

Obviously, there are a few things you will need to consider before you pick your spot.

The first thing you need to do is to ensure the place is easily accessible.

You might like a certain bench in a park across town but ask yourself if it would be feasible for you to go there every day. Since this has to be part of your everyday routine, your workspace, whether indoor or outdoor, needs to be somewhere you can easily and consistently reach.

You also need to ensure that the environment is conducive to writing.

You may really like the ambiance of the bar across the street—and the thought of downing a cold beer as you work on your book—but it may not be the best place for you to write. Bars are noisy, and you are bound to get distracted as you work.

So, choose a place where you are less likely to run into interruptions or distractions.

That doesn’t mean that your couch or bed can make the cut for your workspace. These are places where your brain is trained to relax. Where you work needs to be a place of productivity for you.

Set up a nook in the house where there is good light, silence, and the peace you need to work, and make sure to ALWAYS write there. Bound yourself to not just a schedule but a place.

You have a desk to do your work at the office. You always have food at the dining table. You read on the ottoman by the window. Create a specific space to write your novel too.

If you feel that the space you had initially created doesn’t work for you the way it should, or if you think you would be more productive somewhere else, you can always change the location later.

However, this doesn’t mean you can do it all the time, whenever you feel like it, to accommodate any plans that infringe on your writing time.

Commit to a Daily Word Count

Now that you have the time and location decided, next, you need to tie yourself down to a word count. This will be your writing goal.

Let’s say you want your book to be 80,000 words, and you want to finish your first draft in four months; a good daily word count target would be about 650 words. You can calculate your own goal using the same formula:

Total word count / Number of days to deadline = Writing goal

What if I am not inspired to write enough on a certain day? You might think.

Your concern is justified. There are days when your mind is overflowing with ideas and then there are days with you sit staring at your screen, struggling to string together a single sentence that would validate your skill as a writer. Instead of letting the doubt creep in and destroy your aspirations to publish your first book, you need to remember that this is just the first draft.

It is SUPPOSED to be imperfect.

You can always edit, remove and rewrite later. Or hire ghostwriting services to get your draft assessed by an editor or beta reader. But there’s no reason to skip a day or fall short of your set goal.

You can also choose to set weekly deadlines instead of forcing yourself to write a certain amount every day. Decide how many chapters you want in your book and how long one chapter would be. Then assign yourself a chapter a week.

No matter what writing deadline you set, make sure to still stick to your schedule. If you’ve set aside an hour every day to work on the book, do it without fail.

Setting the Book Up

Now that you’ve figured out that disciplined dedication—as dry as that sounds—is the key to writing, you can let your creative juices flow and brainstorm for your book.

You may already have an idea of the what, when, where, and how, but writing a detailed novel requires more than just a vague idea. Remember, it’s the details that make or break a book.

Think of all the times you were reading a book and something seemingly inconsequential added up to something big. How mind-bending was that?

The first time I realized the power of details was while reading the Harry Potter series.

Despite now coming a long way from being an impressionable teen, I am still blown away by the fact that the small scene where Harry speaks to a snake in the first book ties into him being a parselmouth, which is connected to him being an unintentional Horcrux in the last book!

And it’s details like this that make a book a bestseller!

So, to make sure your book has these little moments that readers and fans will remember for years—and perhaps mention in blogs—we’re here to help you set your book up.

Create a Strong Plot

A plot is the backbone of your book. It is the part of the story that answers: what happens and how it happens.

When you’re penning down the plot outline, make sure it has the following elements:

  • A beginning
  • A consequential incident to drive change
  • Increasing complexities to building drama
  • A climax
  • A conclusion

Introduce a Subplot to Deepen the Story

Subplots are what layer your story to add a sense of depth to it.

They are usually based around secondary characters—integral to the story—and run parallel to the conflict in the main story. Whether you want the subplot(s) to tie into the main plot from the beginning or want to make connections between them, in the end, is entirely up to you. But it is important to remember that your plot B should come together nicely with the main story by the end of your book.

Define the Story Elements

Yes, a plot is what gets you started but defining the story elements is what keeps it going. As a first-time author, you need to clearly lay down everything that goes into your novel in your mind map.

Ask yourself the following questions:

What is the Theme of Your Book?

This is the message your plot is trying to convey. Simply put, this explains the “why” of your story.

Where is Your Story Set?

This could be a real-life location or a world you build from scratch. In any case, you need to build the plot setting and let the readers know where and when the characters are.

Build well-fleshed-out Characters

Your novel is only as memorable as its characters.

Think of the best books you’ve read. You probably even remember the side characters and the certain quirks they exhibited in making them unique. This is the kind of memorability you want to attach to your book. The name of your characters should be recognizable in an instant. So, make sure you have your Mr. Darcy or Dr. Frankenstein, who needs no introduction.

Here are some characters you should have in your book:

  • Protagonist
  • Sidekick/Confidante
  • Love interest
  • Extras

Introduce a Character Arc for the Protagonist

Character arcs are integral to a good story. A protagonist who doesn’t evolve with the book comes off as one-dimensional and isn’t going to stay with the readers for long.

Everything that goes on in your plot needs to impact the people inside the story—especially the main character.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean that character development arcs can ONLY be positive. While everyone wants to write a feel-good story where the primary character redeems itself—Prince from Beauty and the Beast—you can take your readers on a different road and introduce a negative character arc.

One of the best examples of this is the character of Dorian Gray from Oscar Wilde’s literary masterpiece The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Make a Villain People Will Love to Hate

Think of Dolores Umbridge and Joffrey Baratheon, are you filled with instant hate?

These are the sentiments a great villain incites in the readers and that is what your story needs.

Here’s a list of characteristics your antagonist can have:

  • They think they are always right
  • They are clever and command respect
  • They are relentless in the pursuit of their goals
  • They’re proud, deceitful, and vengeful
  • They have a layered backstory that justifies their hatred

Remember, your antagonist is just as important as your hero. Adding more details to the character will make it more life-like and enjoyable for the readers.

Parting Wisdom

Now that you know how to consistently build the habit of writing and everything that goes into writing a  great story, you are ready to start the process of writing.

Here’s an additional tip: a great way to add detail to your characters and story-driving incidents is to jot them down separately before you incorporate them into the book. Let’s say you want to reveal your protagonist’s motivations little by little through the course of the story.

Their character might get lost in the clutter if you’re not careful.

So, write a small biography with the details you want to include and always refer back to it every time you’re writing about their character. You could apply this technique to almost any aspect of your book.

Writing a book can be a tiring process, and there might be times when you’re inclined to give up.


Go into this with the expectation that this will be hard, but the finished manuscript with your name on it will be worth it! If you want to get professional help from someone with expertise in your genre of writing, hire someone to write for you. If you don’t know how to hire a ghostwriter, reach out to The Ghostwriting Services for more clarity and expert help.