How to Prepare to Write Your Novel

Written by A Guest Author | February 15, 2017

By Wesley Thomas

Whether you are a new writer or a seasoned author, it is crucial to prepare for your novel. But how exactly does an author prepare? Does the mere concept overwhelm you? Do not fear, once upon a time I felt the same way until I developed a list. With time the preparations will change and develop, as you as a writer, also develop and hone your craft. However, you must first have a solid foundation for preparation. Here is how to prepare for your next novel.

1. Firstly, know your stuff
If you are writing about a subject manner of which you aren’t familiar, which is often the case, I suggest you do your due diligence. Hit the books. Scroll through blogs and online articles. Watch documentaries. Speak to informed and educated people in that particular field. Remember to coherently note your findings in a way that will help you refer to them frequently, as you write your novel.

2. Know what’s already out there
Nobody likes a knockoff. Be original. Before you even begin to mind-map your ideas, look into publications with a similar plot, characters, and storylines. Be sure you are offering readers what they can’t get from another author who has essentially already written your book with some minor differences.

3. Map it out
While every author has a different technique of how to plan what exactly will happen in the novel, I highly suggest writing a chapter outline before you start to write the first draft. Bullet point what will happen in each chapter. You could even write scene plans. Leave a section for notes, so as you write the novel, you can keep track of information that could compromise the continuity of the novel!

4. Know your characters
Create character profiles. Likes. Dislikes. History. Appearance. Relationships. Fears. In order to make your characters leap off the pages and appear to be real people who readers can relate too, you must know them. How would they react? What is their view on the world? You must know them as well as your family. Then and only then, will you create memorable characters.

5. Know your audience 

Again, before writing, know who you are writing for. It sounds simple, right? But so many authors just write away, with no idea who exactly they are writing for. Know your demographic. What age. What sex. What type of people do you want to read your book? What do they want to read about? Do they like fast or slow pace? Violence? Know all these and more. That way, you’re guaranteed to please your readers.

6. Sharpen your pencils
And by that, I mean prepare yourself as a writer. Personally, before I begin to draft a novel, I write many short stories. I read writer’s books, listen to podcasts, and watch videos online. Strengthen your weaknesses. If you are unsure of what those weaknesses are, ask fellow writers or beta readers.

7. Set a schedule 

Some authors need a deadline, others work fine without one. Either way, I find that if you set a schedule it will maintain focus. I set a daily schedule (how many pages I want to write) and an overall schedule (when I want to finish the novel).

8. Don’t make marketing an afterthought
Even as you write the novel, be sure to make notes as to how you can market it when it becomes time to launch. Mention that you are writing a novel on social media. Keep readers up-to-date. Don’t just spring the novel on them in a few months. Build hype from the get-go.

9. Get in the zone

Some writers believe you should just write, regardless of whether you feel like it. This is my own opinion, but I believe your head must be in the zone before you actually start writing. You can bullet point ideas for characters, the plot, storylines, twists, the ending, but don’t put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) until you feel ready. Whether you read books, meditate, do yoga, go for a walk, or soak up culture. Find a way to tap into your inspiration.

Also, find a way to give yourself daily doses of both inspiration and motivation, if you need it. I read some of my own work that I am proud of to get in the mood. For you it could be music, reading a great author, listening to podcasts, and so on.

There you have it. How to prepare for your next novel. You can never over prepare. Make that novel worth writing before you even start writing it.


Bio: Wesley Thomas is the bestselling author of ‘Succubus’, ‘Nightmare Fuel’, and ‘What Goes Bump in the Night’. He is also a freelance writer and marketer. His work has been featured in various anthologies, magazines, and on many well-known websites. He is a self-confessed bookworm, horror addict, and avid tea drinker. Visit his website here: http://wesleythomashorrorauthor.weebly.com/