How to write a novel in twelve (easy) steps

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There are steps for everything these days, so I reverse-engineered what I did to become a writer to put the process into 12 steps. The steps were easy sometimes, and other times, they caused some tears. The end result was worth all the effort.

Step 1: Read a lot

Without reading, what’s the point of writing? Reading everything I could get my hands on when I was a kid developed my love of reading and also made me think about some things I would like to read that were not available. 

Don’t just read fiction. Read about the art of writing to learn everything you can. Take a writing class (or many) to figure out how to write.

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Step 2: Get an idea

It was during those daydreaming sessions about stories I wanted to read that Hope, Lydia, Taylor, Noelle, Caroline, Charlotte, and Kincaid began their stories. Only three of those sound familiar, huh? The others will be ready for human consumption in time.

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Step 3: Write a draft

My first drafts of Caroline’s Lighthouse and Jordan’s Sister were written in pencil on wide-ruled notebook paper along with the stories of my other leading ladies except for Kincaid. I had the idea for her as a teen, but she only existed in my head and on a small scrap of paper until I began the first draft of her story two years ago during the editing process for Jordan’s Sister.

Some writers outline and make chapter maps. Others are “pantsers” which basically means they write without a clear plan or by the seat of their pants. I fall somewhere in between. I make general notes of things I want to happen and then just go for it. In the past, I always wrote in order, but with Jordan’s Sister, I wrote the middle and end before I wrote the beginning. It’s just how the story came to me.

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