Liam J Cross


architecture, blur, bridge

Chances are, if you clicked on this article, this isn’t your first rodeo.

You’ve probably walked this road a few times before, yet somehow, even though it’s been the same road, each journey turned out to be different. The journey, in this instance, is the journey of writing a novel. The journey of sitting yourself down before a blank page, and filling it with enough words to give a dictionary a headache. That’s the journey we’re thinking about; that’s the journey that continues to amaze us.

You know all about it by now. You know what it feels like to sit before your keyboard preparing to begin, when your mind is a wash of excitement and anticipation. It’s a great feeling, but also one that is quite terrifying, because you have no clue how it’s actually going to plan out.

Don’t sit there and pretend like you do. You are no different to the rest of us. You may plan your novel extensively, covering every chapter, but if you stick to the original outline, that doesn’t make you a good writer. It makes you a goddamn superhero.

You crack your knuckles, inhale a deep breath, and finally, when the last of the blood vanishes from your coffee-stream, you begin typing.


Have You Ever Thought Of It Like This Though?

analysis, blackboard, boardWhat do you think about when you plan the first draft of your novel? The answer to that question will be hugely varying from one person to the next. But there is one thing safe to assume: chances are it’s a lot.

No matter which angle of attack you take, writing a novel is a lot of hard work. You need to plan extensively, and have all of your bases covered. And then, when your plan fails and the plot-holes emerge, you have to refrain from deleting the whole thing right there and then, and show a little perseverance.

However, when you’ve been sat there planning the first draft of your novel, have you ever thought about it on a more personal level? What this means is, have you ever planned it based on you? Based on your heart and soul?

There’s a saying that goes a little like this: write the book you want to read, and, if done well, others will want to read it too. It’s a cool little saying that holds a lot of meaning, but have you ever actually tried applying it to your work?


Feel It In Your Soul

Woman In Brown Coat Here’s something to try. Next time you sit to plan your novel, before you even consider the opening chapter or the conflict of your protagonist, ask yourself one question.

What message do I want to convey with this piece of fiction?

It’s a simple concept, right, coming up with a message to serve your work? Wrong. It’s actually quite tough, especially if you somehow wish to address a real-world issue with a piece of fictional writing. But, it has been done throughout time – and pretty successfully too – so don’t lose faith just yet.

When coming up with your message, with the meaning you want your book to attain, you must do two things. The first is to not force the meaning. What this means is you shouldn’t have to sit there for hours trying to think of a meaning behind your work, because that’s a sign that the message isn’t all that close to you personally. The sign of a good meaning is one that jumps out at you and doesn’t stop screaming until you work it into your novel.

The second thing you must do, is make sure this meaning is close to your heart. If you follow the guideline laid out in point number one, this won’t be an issue. The reason behind why you should write about something you love can be explored for hours, but there’s a much simpler version here for you today.

If you write about what you love, about things that live within the walls of your heart and soul, you will never feel uninspired. You should always feel raring to go, ready to get this beautiful art out of your heart and onto a page. It’s a great way to stay motivated and inspired, to write about the things you love most.


Be Creative In Your Approach

Close-up of Human HandAddress these issues with passion and creativity, and never stop twisting and turning through the rewriting phase until your novel speaks with the exact accent you want it to. It can be a grueling process, but one that will be entirely worth it by the end.

Just remember that your only duty as a writer is to free the demons within you. If you’re good enough, your words will connect with another soul and free their demons, too. But your focus should always remain on writing for yourself.

When writing, always consider things truest to you. The reader should be a secondary concern.


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