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Thursday, January 16, 2014

How do you write novels?

Expert: Rani A. Divine
Author of Telekinetic: Book I of the Advanced Saga

“How do you write novels?”  

I get asked this question a lot. I’m twenty-two years old, and I’ve written six full-length novels in the past four years, all while taking full-time credits at the University of New Mexico.  

Oh, and I’m almost finished with three more novels.  

Recently, I published my first book, Telekinetic: Book I of the Advanced Saga, and since then I’ve heard this question even more.  

“How do you write novels?”  

My answer is also one of my favorite Gaiman quotes: “You sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after the other.” That’s all there is to it, really.  

But here are a few tricks that I’ve learned along the way, to make the process simpler:  

1.      Turn off the TV, disable the internet, pop in some headphones, and do it. No excuses.  

The thing with the internet is that though it has this amazing ability to provide inspiration and factual knowledge that may become useful within our stories, it does so by distracting us from our ultimate goal. I make a point of turning off my internet for a few hours every day.  

2.      Make a plan, decide how much you want to get done in a day, and then do it. No excuses. 

For me, it’s five thousand words. I understand that for a lot of people that seems like a huge number, but even five hundred words a day would be better than nothing. Writers write. Every single day, we write. Even if all you write is a blog post, an email to a friend, or a birthday card: write something every day.  

3.      Read. Every day. I don’t care how busy you think you are. Take ten minutes to read. No excuses.  

Again, this is something a lot of writers take for granted. Writers write, but writers also read. If you don’t read other writers’ work, how can you expect them to read yours? So pick up one of those dusty books off the shelves, and read a chapter. Every day.  

4.      Epic music. It’s a genre, and it’s perfect for writing fiction.  

This was something that definitely spurred on my writing and makes it a lot easier to reach my five thousand word goal. If you can find the perfect song to match the scene you’re writing, you’ve just found the song to put on repeat whenever you’re writing a similar scene. This works especially well for love stories. If you need something a little mellower, instrumental or orchestra music make a perfect soundtrack as well. Music with lyrics can also become a distraction, so I recommend avoiding it as much as possible.  

5.      Most of all: trust yourself.  

Trust your words; trust your mind to know where you want the story to go. Don’t force the story away from where it wants to go. Immerse yourself within it, become the characters, live within your world, and let the creative juices flow.  

When it comes time to edit, I suggest sending your work to a friend who won’t be harsh but will gently help you fix your typos and comma splices. By the time you’re done with that and a quick content check, you should be just about sick and tired enough of your story for you to send it to an editor and not be too wounded when it comes back covered in red. 

—Rani A. Divine, Author of Telekinetic: Book I of the Advanced Saga

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