Hello & welcome to day 2 of my blog series So You Want to Write a Novel. Today we’re going to talk about a couple things that you should keep in mind before writing your novel (even if it develops and changes as you write).
Yesterday we talked about how and where we get our ideas. If you’d like to check that out, click here.
The first thing to think about when you are preparing to write a novel is your audience.
Who is going to read your book?
This will also build into genre, but let’s think about age range audiences for a moment. There are quite a few that I can think of off the top of my mind: children, middle grade (MG), young adult (YA), new adult (NA), and adult. I don’t think of these as genres as some people do, but the audience in which the author has in mind.
Some authors are amazing and don’t write for an intended age group audience. They just want to write a good story (which should be the goal of all writers, really), however usually books are marketed toward an intended age group.
When thinking about different age groups as your audience you should be thinking about the following: themes (what will readers relate to in each audience) and content (what will interest people in the different audiences).
Different audiences will be able to identify with different themes. Just as certain content (like sex and other more mature content) probably shouldn’t be an a children’s or middle grade book.
However, and I can’t stress this enough– these are guidelines. There are amazing books and series that cross over many different age groups (I’m looking at you Harry Potter) and that many different audiences can enjoy and identify with. Sometimes it’s good to break the rules.
The second thing you want to think about and be aware of is genre.
What kind of book are you writing— what category would you put it in?
Mainly when I talked to my writing group about this, I divided it into fiction and non-fiction as we have people in the group who write both. But for our purposes here, let’s talk mainly about fiction.
Some of the coolest books I’ve ever read blend genres and do it beautifully. After writing my first draft of The Girl in the Glass Coffin, I realized that I included the following genres: paranormal, sci-fi (although it’s light sci-fi), historical fiction.
When it comes to genre, be creative, but have some knowledge about the genres you’re writing in.
Read some books in that genre, do some research on it. Know how your story would fit inside it’s genre.
And last but not least: do you want to pants your novel, or plan it?
For last NaNoWriMo I wrote a post entitled- To Pants or To Plan (that is the question). And really, for many writers it is. And it all boils down to doing what helps your writing (story-wise and motivation-wise).
Strict outlines don’t work for me. But they help many writers. Many planners know what they want to happen in each scene, but others are more laid back, writing a general outline.
One issue with planning that you may or may not run into is that eventually your plot might diverge from your plan and then the rest of your outline is abandoned. Another is the opposite, you stick to your outline so strictly that you write yourself into an unforeseen corner and don’t know how to get out.
Some writers fly by the seat of their pants. They take their very basic story idea and just go with it, the story, characters, and setting develop as they write. This works for many writers (including me for the most part). One issue is that you may write yourself into a corner. Another being a super sloppy first draft.
But there is a middle ground— plantsing(??)
I am a plantser. I plan the very beginning of my novel (first couple of chapters) and know about my setting and characters before I start writing. This allows for change throughout the novel and for the characters and plot to develop naturally, but gives me a great head start. I’m also not averse to jotting down a very simple outline for the next chapter I will be writing so I don’t lose any ideas (because who doesn’t hate when that happens). It’s also not a bad thing to know a couple of plot points that you want to work towards.
So that’s it for today. Let’s talk!
What audience do you like to write for the most?
What genre is your favorite to write? Is it also your favorite to read?
Are you a planner, a pantser, or a mixture of the two?
Tomorrow we will be talking characters, so I hope that you stop by again to check it out! Have an amazing day all and happy writing.