Saturday, July 30, 2011

Writing A First Novel

Now that we're in the month of August, it marks an entire year and a half that I've been writing my first novel. And while it is practically finished, I've been taking some time to do some final draft editing before sending it off to my publishers. If you also have the desire to write a story but don't know where to start, here are a few tips I'm happy to share!
  • Pick a topic you're passionate about, be it romance, mystery, drama, horror, etc.
  • Don't worry about it making sense at first. Just write down all of your ideas, feelings, thoughts and freestyle!
  • After you scribbled down notes sporadically, the next step is to start getting your thoughts in order by actually creating a system. 
  • Get a new notebook. At the top of each page, write the name of each character with a list of their characteristics below. Include their gender, age, ethnicity, occupation, and be specific about their physical appearances. Does one woman have a visible mole on her face like Marilyn Monroe? Another have a short, boy hair cut like Halle Berry? Write the details. 
  • Give each character a phrase that they repeatedly say in their dialogue such as, "Trust Me," or "I A'int the one," or like Carrie always says from Sex in The City, "I couldn't help but wonder."
  • In the middle of your notebook, put a yellow post-it sticky to mark the next section where you're going to doodle conflicts between your main characters. Play with your imagination and don't think that anything is too crazy! In fact, the crazier, the better! 
Hopefully, these tips helped. I know that writing is key to completing a novel but many times a lot of us get stuck day dreaming about it because we're not sure of how to do it correctly. It's normal to be fearful but don't let it paralyze you into non-action. It's also good to read books such as, "Writing A Novel for Dummies", etc. But you should be writing first and then reading afterwards, just to see how closely you're matching the format of story telling in a way that makes sense.

Okay well, Phew! I must say, it feels really good to finally finish my first story. Ladies & Gents, writing a book is not simple and yet it is simple. Why? Because it all starts with writing! If you can write an article, a letter - anything at all, then you can write a book. So start writing and the rest will come naturally. Also, make sure to hang out with other writers; it's imperative that you do! Your social circle will feed your motivation and continue to remind you of who you want to become and how you're going to do it. Good luck!


  1. Jasmine, this is so helpful. Thank you for all the tips. I have started a memoir/novel on my blog, just writing down incidents during a period of my life and embellishing what I don't remember. But as I get deeper into it, I'm worried of losing track of each person in my story. (I've been changing the names to protect the "innocent"). So I like your idea of writing all the details in a notebook. Great post. You've got a beautiful blog.

  2. Thank you Monica!!! I'm seeing this comment late - about a week late! Lol Well you're an awesome writer yourself so thanks for the comment! Although I think that there's a slight difference when writing a memoir -vs- writing a novel. When you write a memoir, it's different for each person, but I would just write whatever comes to my mind and allow it all to flow like a waterfall. Release it all and let nothing hold you back b/c when you do, then you water down the story. ; ) Memories are "Real" life experiences, so put it all down, because that's your story. I'm sure you'll have a hit on your hands. Just confess, share, and be authentic. No one else can tell your own story in your own words.


What do you think about these blog entries? Find them helpful, funny, boring, ignorant or enlightening? Keep it real and post comments - and no worries; I'm a New Yorker, I can handle it! ;)