A ‘How to’ Guide to Writing a Novel

1. The Novel Has a Clear Purpose

  • What is the novel’s intention?
  • Are you achieving it? Designing the concept helps to begin writing, your ideas are driven by that purpose.

Novels help people connect with stories on personal levels. Whether you’re writing about family values, paranormal romance, a memoir, your novel’s purpose helps readers understand your theme or subject.


2. Novel Titles Reflect the Author’s Intention

The novel title should reflect the purpose of the novel. The title is usually based on the information being portrayed in the novel, by the theme, character, main event, or life lesson. Of course, it may be driven by other factors.


3. Use the Appropriate Template

Some companies and organizations have guidelines for how to organize your novel. Createspace, for instance, has guidelines and templates for download. Throw in your writing from a different source like Microsoft Word document into the template, change the headings and other characteristics that are present in the templates. Novel organization made easy.

When selecting the template, keep the novel’s purpose in mind – fiction or non fiction.


4.  Add a Dedication page

Chances are your novel will be dedicated for someone or a lot of someone’s. I have dedicated my novel, Deity’s Soulmate, to 13 important people in my life because my character goes through the journey of learning about 13 days of creation. Be creative.


5. Ensure Correct Page Extent and Coverage

Novel templates help us to view how our writing will look like in print. Understanding how your novel will look like in preview mode is important. When I was working on my novel, Deity’s Soulmate, I deleted a couple of blank pages in the template which was a mistake because letters were cut off due to margins. I had to resubmit my novel after adding blank pages back in to make sure the writing matched up to the margins.

Pay attention to the page extent and coverage. Do your paragraphs look alright? Poems? Images?


 6. Display the Correct Content

You cringe at the thought of having typos and mistakes in your writing. Be a writing technician and revise your story until it’s deemed final. In the end, you have to ask yourself – am I uploading the correct file? Did I give my publisher the correct file? I have a ton of versions of Deity’s Soulmate and my fear was uploading the old version. Look for the date on your file.

Do the extra detective work to ensure the correct story is being shown. Readers will thank you for it.


7. Give Perspective with a Map and/or Guides

It’s one of the essential story elements. A key map puts your geography or your imagined world into perspective to the reader. If your character travels all over the place, a map would be a good thing to include at the beginning. Think, Lord of the Rings books.

Guides are used to show list of characters, places, list of vocabulary words that one needs to know to understand the story. Guides focus on areas of interest to the reader. Readers love extra material. Deity’s Soulmate has several guides at the end of the story.


 8. Glue Readers in with Neat Fonts

Neat fonts are good at keeping readers glued to your story. Exploring fonts for novels is not necessary. If you are using a template, use that template’s font. Chances are that the creators of that template have a good experience with that font.  Readers eyeballs become locked in because they can read the content easily. Leave the ‘fun’ fonts for graphics and blogs.

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9.  Order Events by Importance

Story events need to be ordered properly for story writing. The correct hierarchy of events in a story determines whether or not readers will continue reading. Try not to confuse your reader by making a mistake, especially if you are writing a historical romance, for instance. Do the research. Does it make sense?

Some novels are of a character being followed for a week so ‘time’ aspect is not an issue. However, when you get to a novel like mine, Deity’s Soulmate, a lot of time goes by. It was a challenge to figure out what goes where and in what time frame, but I believe that I did okay. Do not give up.


10. Know the Time Frame in your Novel

This is different from step number 9. Is your story written from the character’s point of view of today or from an individual point of view during the Civil War, for instance? Do you have that individual talking on their cell phone when cell phones didn’t exist? Do you have an individual talking in slang when it’s unappreciated?

Things are always changing in our world. Research of the time frame for your novel eliminates reader confusion. It’s surprising how often readers will put down a novel if something doesn’t seem right.


11. A Good Hook is Important

Authors use synopsis to grab the readers attention. Synopsis is like having a narrator tell readers about the story. It’s a summary of the novel and a hook at the same time. Don’t be afraid to rewrite your synopsis. At the back of Deity’s Soulmate, the hook is different from what one can find on Amazon or at Goodreads. That is okay.


 12. Fill in the Void in your Book Cover

An artist’s first lesson is to never leave white space on the canvas, to always fill it. Same advice goes here, unless you have a similar idea for a book cover to me.

book cover

There is a lot of white space on my book cover, but that white space has a purpose. Add a purpose to each part of your book cover, but don’t over do it. By filling in the white space with chalices, I make the reader think about their purpose. There are 7 chalices in Deity’s Soulmate. I loved writing about them.


 13. Research Copyright Laws

It’s easy to mention things in your novel from the real world, like song artists, authors, and lyrics. But, can you do it?

There is a crime fiction novel that I am working on and I had a scene with karaoke. The girls sang to Britney Spears and I had the full lyrics until I researched copyright laws. What ended up happening was me scratching all the lyrics that I had in my story and me creating a fictional band. Writing songs is hard, especially if you do not know how to read music, though it is fun.

When one studies in college, you have reference page and are allowed to use the sources for educational purposes without having copyright issues. Creative writing and novel writing is where you may be able to make some money, so laws apply to you. Do the research.


 14. Use Appropriate Words

They have to be intuitive. They describe information to the reader.

Puzzle

Words are sometimes exaggerated in writing so readers can quickly understand, however too many fancy words can make the reader put down your novel. Don’t over do it. Just because you have a high understanding of the language, does not mean your readers do. Don’t make them grab a dictionary on every other page.


 15. Think Outside the Box with your Novel

Remember that you are the author. If you want illustrations inside the novel and it is not a manga or children’s book, that is okay. Chances are that the readers will love you for it. Readers love it when they read a truly inspired novel. Authors have added food recipes at end of their fiction stories, illustrations, jokes, quotes. Readers eat it up. Think outside the box.

2 Color illustrations from Deity’s Soulmate:

dragon race Dragon Race

witch One of the Fates brewing a potion to make her look beautiful again


16. Find Balance & Harmony

You learn about story balance and harmony with experience. It’s not something you pick up after your first story.

When you learn to organize your character and their journey, you start figuring out balance. Well-balanced story is formed with a character learning something, growing as a character, and not loosing oneself.


If you have a question on an element that I forgot to mention, please comment and I will try to explain it from my point of view. 

Thank you for reading!

Thursday Writing Tip #1

 

Puzzle

Gardenia and Ri

Sketches of Gardenia with her soulmate, Ri. What do you guys think?

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Book Review: Fated Memories

Novel Title: Fated Memoriesfm
Author: Joan Carney
Source: Gifted by the author for an honest review
Score: 4 Dragon Prints paw

Joan Carney’s, Fated Memories, novel was a fantastic read. It transports the reader to the time of Civil War and follows a group of friends who are lost in the past, Kitty, Mags, and Simon. The novel is well written and I can that a lot of research went into it.

There were a couple of expectations from me for this novel. I believed that it would be a while before the point of view changes to Kitty’s, so it took a while to realize that I will not hear the private thoughts of Mags. I also believed that I would see scenes where the girls would talk about their past and bring up some material goods, the only time where I read Kitty bringing up the material goods from the future was when she was telling Sam of who she is… and that was very late in the story. I’ve also been waiting for the girls to fix the locket right away and not just when Simon and Mags decided to take that big step for their future. When Simon returned wounded from the war, Kitty was safe and sound, I expected Simon to talk about their friends who fought with him – mainly the man who wanted to call on Kitty. Did he live? So that part was not too realistic, though I did like the ending and of how they learned the truth of how they time traveled.

There is a big plus to this story, well two. First, it keeps you guessing on what happens next. Second, the Miss Carney was not afraid to write things that were critical to the story line. Some authors are afraid to hurt their characters and Miss Carney was not. Was a pleasure to know that she gave it all to this novel.

If you’re looking to read a time travel, romance and love history then I highly recommend reading this novel. This book is for young adults and older.

#FirstLineFriday Tag

1

“My first time taking a bus in this town and what’s worse is that I was just hit with a card in my face. I pick up the card and notice that it’s a tarot card. Now what?”

The first line of a novel that doesn’t exist yet and hasn’t been started yet. What do you think?

Deidra Alexander was challenged to try First Line Friday by Rami Ungart at https://ramiungarthewriter.wordpress.com/ last week. Here’s the link: https://deidraalexander.com/2016/05/07/firstlinefriday-tag/. And I found it interesting so decided to try.

You can play along at home. Here’s what you do.

  1. Create a post on your blog titled #FirstLineFriday, hashtag and all.
  2. Explain the rules like I’m doing now.
  3. Post the first one or two lines of a potential work, a work-in-progress, or a completed or published story.
  4. Ask your readers for feedback and then encourage them to try #FirstLineFriday on their blogs (tagging is encouraged but not necessary).

Book Review: Wit’ch Fire

TitleWit’ch Fire wf

Author: James Clemens

Source: Bought from a passing bookstore years ago

My Rating : 5 Dragon Prints5 paws
It’s hard to find novels that leave a mark on an individual. Usually, it’s enough to read a novel once. However, when one finds a novel that they will have a pleasure rereading and finding new things behind the story line… those novels are worth the wait. Witch Fire, is one of those novels that I can reread every year and still love the story and the characters. Of course, Witch Fire, is only book 1 in the series… so it is the focus of the review. I love the series. Read them!

It is a story about a young girl, Elena, who grows to be a young woman later in the story line, going a journey and learn about her witch powers, all the while hiding from the Dark Lord and find her brother. She gains help from one-armed juggler Er’ril (who is my favorite character), Nee’lahn, Kral and many more. (There’s too much to say about the book, bringing in spoilers which would be bad.)

Clemens is an amazing story teller and I strive to rival his talent in the future. He was able to keep the essence of all the characters throughout the series and keeping me interested and thinking about the unfolding events.

If you’re looking to read a fantasy novel, I highly recommend reading Witch Fire. Believe me, you will get hooked and end up reading the entire series. This book is for young adults and older.

Book review: The Mardi Gras Chase

Title: The Mardi Gras Chase Snip20160530_9

Author: Maggie M. Larche

Source: Received as a gift for an honest book review

My Rating : 5 Dragon Prints d5d4d3d2d1

After finishing reading The Mardi Gras Chase, I realized how awesome it used to be a kid. It made me think of the books that I’ve read when I was a kid, with one of them being, Time Cat. At least that’s what I think the title was. It was pure pleasure to loose myself in the Children’s Middle Grade (ages 8-12) genre. The book should be at the top of the list for any parent.

It is a story about a girl, Melanie, who’s not a fan of Mardi Gras, that is until she realizes that the floats are sending a secret message that needs to be cracked. Melanie, along with her two best friends, Kate and Faye, decide to crack the code… even getting Matt in trouble with the police to do it.

The story is fun to read, fast paced, and interesting. I think the kids would like to see some illustrations, like of the floats, the warehouse, and the cemetery. I know that I would. 😉

I would recommend to anyone to read it who is in the age group of 8-12, and some adults who want to feel like a kid again for a short amount of time.

My Journey while writing Deity’s Soulmate

My novel : book cover is a work of paranormal romance mixed with parables, poetry, soap opera and Hellenic cosmology.

I absolutely adore the twins, Ri and Ra, and of course, their father Villam.  In the future, I am hoping for my sister to draw them in their human forms. The cover shows Ri in his dragon form… so three guesses on how Ra looks. 😉

Recently, I went to a ceramic painting studio and chose myself a dragon, Villam, to be more precise. villam 2  It took about six hours just to do his scales! I’m so very proud of my work.

Drum roll please! Or Get ready to set the fireworks out in the field.

stardying

Book Two is coming along nicely. I am thinking the cover will have Gardenia with Ri in their human forms. Not sure about their environment yet, though. So far, I have forty pages… mainly because I keep rewriting this one scene! It has to be perfect, just like their soulmate bond.

There will more illustrations  to enhance and supplement the descriptions and dialogue, so don’t worry, you’ll get to see more of my favorite couple… though they do rival Omari and Zack in my not published novel…. but that’s for another post.

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Thanks for reading. ^_^

Book Review: 251 Things to do in Tofino

Title: 251 Things to do in Tofino 251things

Author: Kait Fennell

Source: Received as a gift for an honest book review

My Rating : 5 Dragon Prints 5 paws

Before reading “251 Things to do in Tofino,” I have never taken the time to read guide books before. Thank you to the author for letting me know about her work, it was a superb read that I could not put it down. It took everything in me not to research every website provided, and yet I have visited the photo galleries and the jewelry websites. Out of all the photographers who reside in Tofino, I fell in love with the works by James Cedar. His work is so powerful and it calls to you to visit Tofino.

Kait’s list sounds fun and at times expensive. Also, the different events makes me think that one needs to move to Tofino to live there for a year to truly understand the tight community and explore all the nooks. If I ever visit Tofino, I will reread the book and ask locals about the secret places that are only known to them. All I would have to do is wear the right clothing, talk the lingo, and tell that I believe into Iisaak, Qwa’aak qin teechmis, and hishuk ish ts’awalk. If you would like to know what those three terms mean, get the book!

After the list of things to do, Kait added letters from the people living in Tofino. All of them can write! It is like they are wizards who put spells onto readers to come and join their community. Hypnosis to the max. Also, I think it was great for Kait to mention about the firefighters, police, and other people who help keeping the community safe. I started wondering if the place is the safest community out there with all the bright recommendations. So, it is good to know that the people look after one another and have all the necessities.

Overall, it was pleasure to read this book. I would recommend to anyone who is thinking of visiting Canada and looking to visit not just Victoria but something more magical. I’ve been to Victoria a couple of years ago and I remember it pretty well, now all I have to do is save money and make plans to visit Tofino, myself.

Reminder: Hire guides and bring ton of walking shoes!

Book Review: The Bathory Curse

Title: The Bathory Curse bathorycurse

Author: Renee Lake

Source: Received a free copy for an honest review

My Rating : 4 Dragon Prints4 paws

Before reading The Bathory Curse, I don’t think that I’ve read books that had the ‘real’ Dracula in them. It’s always been about hot young vampires pursuing young mortal girls or young mortal girls fighting against vampires. Renee Lake has the king of the vampires pursue his first wife who became a Strega after she was brought back to life thanks Bendis, Goddess of the Night, Magick, and the Hunt.

However, the short synopsis on Amazon intrigued me. It took me three evenings to finish the novel. The story was well told, though it has missing punctuation, typos, and no family tree. I counted over thirty-three characters which appeared and reappeared through the twenty-four chapter novel. A family tree would certainly help the reader not get lost who is who… especially the women who spent centuries in limbo. Note: The missing punctuation and typos did not stop me from enjoying the story.

It is a story about Dracula’s first wife, Nea who will forever look to be twenty-five years old woman. After she is saved by Bendis, she has to break the curse that has haunted her family for years. Over the years, she gains allies in her strogi, her vampire husband, other Strega, and mortals. So I would say the premise and the plot are very good.

The story is actually quite complex and I would give 5 stars alone for the fact that the author got this story finished and published. I can tell that the research portion of writing this novel took a long time and it was a pleasure reading. My favorite characters are Sabine and Nea. They are great friends.

However, I think that there are areas that can be improved. We see a vampire for the first time in chapter 5, I was waiting to read about a vampire and thought he or should would show up in chapter two or three. In chapter 9, we learn that the Bathory women are part of different lines. I believe that information would have been good to know a little bit earlier because it came as a surprise. Also, I would have liked to see more scenes with Costica. It seemed that there would have been more of him. However, one of my favorite scenes was when Nea, along with her friends, went looking for the flower. It would have been interesting to see what Sabine’s ‘nightmare’ was.

Overall, it was pleasure to read this book. I would recommend to anyone to read it who is okay with adult scenes, dark characteristics, and fantasy aspects about the gods.