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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » The Randoms » How to write a novel?

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Author Topic: How to write a novel?
Djuna
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Hi, I got a laptop recently and I decided I would write a novel on it. So far I have 1 1/2 chapters, but I was just wondering if anyone knew who I could send it to to get feedback. And who to send it to when it's done to see about getting it published. Thanks.

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“In a strange room, before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are filled with sleep you never were. I don’t know what I am. I don’t know if I am or not... how often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.”

Posts: 1269 | From: London, UK | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
September
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Oh, if only it were that easy.

Getting published is an incredibly long and hard road. Once you have a finished, polished novel, you need to start out by finding an agent who is willing to represent your work and contact publishing companies for you. You can find lists of agents at the library or on the internet, but separating the reputable agents from the scamsters is tough. And even if you do manage to find an agent, the search for a publisher will likely be just as long and difficult.

I'm not saying this to discourage you, but merely as a heads-up from someone who's been there and owns a suitcase full of T-shirts. I've been trying to get published for 5 years now.

In the meantime, you can let friends and family read your novel. Maybe even ask your English teacher if s/he'd like to take a look, if you want a more professional opinion.

Oh, and if you're looking for motivation and a community of avid writers, check out NaNoWriMo.org. The website is used year-round by novelists, but in the month of November they conduct the 'National Novel Writing Month': You write a 50k word novel in 30 days. It's insane and fun. Might help you with that novel you're working on, too.

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Johanna
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"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

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Mr. Matthew
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I agree with September. I wrote a novel three years ago, and I spoke to an agent. The agent said, "It is impossible for an unknown writer to publish a novel." I realized this was true and didn't waste my time trying.

Most books published are nonfiction. Famous people can get novels published -- people will buy them just because of who the author is. I'm sure there are exceptions, but they are very very rare. The number of novels published is tiny compared to the number of people who write them.

In college I studied electrical engineering, but I took six semesters of creative writing. I was the only engineer I knew who took creative writing. It was my unofficial minor. Once one of my teachers said to me: "You are too immature to even think of being a great writer. Your vocabulary is still developing and your life experiences are still too limited." At the time I thought the comment condescending. Now I agree that there is a lot of truth in it, though I would have put it more kindly.

We learn throughout our lives, and the older you get the more interesting experiences you'll have to base writing on. I don't think you'd want it any other way. You wouldn't want to get duller as you get older.

What I recommend is practice. Also, learn writing mechanics (punctuation primarily). I suggest reading Lynn Truss' Eats Shoots and Leaves. Also Strunk and Whites Elements of Style. Those are two easy reads and pretty much tell all.

Then show us here what you've learned.

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Zeqque
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You could always try getting some of your short stories published in magazines, e-zines and journals first... having work already published and being a known name for writing are good ways to get a larger piece considered for publication.
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DarkChild717
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I recommend picking up a copy of Stephen King's "On Writing."

He gives his best advice for writing in general, which will be good if you want to finish your novel. He says it all straight out. Also, Anne Lamott's "Bird by Bird" is an excellent one to pick up as well.

Basically, start small. Write a few short stories, and shop them around. Get yourself a few published credits, *then* start looking for an agent to help you. They look for the next best thing, but you've got to prove that you are.

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Caylin, Scarleteen Volunteer
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Djuna
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All these sound really good - thanks.
I'll definitely try the short-story idea. Thanks.

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“In a strange room, before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are filled with sleep you never were. I don’t know what I am. I don’t know if I am or not... how often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.”

Posts: 1269 | From: London, UK | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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