How To Write A Novel – A Step-by-step Instruction

Writing a novel can be daunting, but with our guide on how to write a novel, you can ease into the process. Without further ado, let’s dive in!


If you feel nervous about starting to write a novel for the first time, or if you are intrigued by the form of a novel but are unsure of where to start, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, we have created an ultimate guide on how to write a novel, which will help you to take action and break down barriers that stand in your way of dreaming. By following these steps for writing a novel, you will outline your novel in no time. Scroll down for more!

How To Write A Novel: 13 Steps

Image Source: Negative Space

Create the Concept Of Story

Just like how to write a book of other genres, the first step in novel writing is creating the concept of the novel. It is the basic idea your novel is built upon. The inspiration for a novel can come from anywhere; you might opt to build on a short tale you’ve already written or to create a completely new fictitious universe, which you’ll then explore in your book. Since coming up with a story idea and a novel is quite similar, you can base your decision on the following three questions:
  • Your key character?
  • What does your main character desire?
  • What keeps the main character from obtaining something they want?


Whether you’re writing romance, autobiographical or historical fiction, you’ll find yourself doing research to strengthen the credibility of your book. Having a strategy for gathering and arranging research will help writing a book much easier. The Smithsonian Institution, 101 free journals and databases, EBSCO, and Boolean search operators are some free tools to help you with your study.

Come Up with A Plot Outline

Now, there is no substitute for outlining when writing a novel. Expand on it, tweak it, and tinker with it to your heart’s content – even as the writing progresses. Here are three steps you can follow:
  • Making plot outline into three acts—the setup, the rising action, and the conclusion
  • Creating a series of scenarios from each of the major acts. List who will be involved, the setting, and the main events that will advance the plot.
  • Go back and detail the events for each scenario you have outlined. Consider the influence each scene or narrative point will have on your story, the individuals involved, and how it will be resolved.
The more you can nail down ideas and structures before you begin writing, the more straightforward the flow is. You may want to mix it up and change the order they come out. But remember, novels are complicated, and having even a simple outline or framework helps you pave your way through the long, difficult grind of writing one.
How To Write A Novel 1

Image Source: Negative Space

Develop Characters

Once you have got a good novel plot outline, you will have to develop characters. Take time to get to know your characters and protagonists and imagine the spectrum of strengths, weaknesses, and uncertainties for each character before you begin penning. This way, you can plot out your novel best in line with the way they behave. You may want to compile fact files about the characters and make a character mood board filled with images that are relevant to your characters. It’s also advisable to put your protagonists into tricky, complicated situations to see how they will respond. Then, jot down a few lines of dialogue to get an idea of their voice.

Choose Your Point Of View and Tone

This step assists you in deciding on a narrative voice or your signature tone. If you are a beginner, try writing from a viewpoint that feels more natural. For instance, you can use the first person present tense in how to write romance novels. This helps readers step into the inner world of the main character as they like to put themselves in that character’s shoes. A case in point is To Kill A Mockingbird, with Scout Finch being the protagonist and the narrator.

Write The First Page

The first page of any book is a crucial element in determining if you are going to hold the reader’s attention or lose their interest and never read on. That said, you can establish a difficult situation right away, give insight into your character’s personality, or just describe the setting.
Write The First Page

Image Source: Flickr

Write The Setting

A strong narrative setting links the characters to the action and weaves the main ideas and events of the novel together. Since setting offers context, there could not be as much meaning to be understood from a story without it. When determining where to situate your plot, there are three crucial considerations.
  • Ensure that the background of your story serves your plot’s objectives.
  • Adapt the setting to the narrative.
  • Create a story’s setting that constantly corresponds with the key characters.

Create Inciting Incident, The climax, The Resolution

Without an inciting incident, a novel won’t progress and cease to be a story; instead, it will just be a sequence of events. Therefore, to draw readers in and keep them reading from cover to cover, you need to put your protagonists into inciting incidents, tricky situations that upsets the character’s status quo. As the conflict progresses to its climax, create a fantastic resolution in which all of the story’s big and minor knots are untied. That’s when you shower your readers with satisfaction and pleasure after a dramatic time.

Choose The Ending

As you outline your novel, you should know your ending and sketch out your character’s path as well as the several ways the story could come to a halt. Knowing the outcome will support you to introduce narrative hints without spoiling the ending so a reader can accept it with ease. Better yet, provide a plot twist that unfairly disadvantages your lead character. This last-minute tension will add to the satisfaction of the resolution. The ending, be it bad or happy, is the trigger that bursts out all the readers’ feelings, leaving a long-lasting mark in their minds. So, choose it wisely!
Choose The Ending

Image Source: Pxhere

Develop Subplots

Subplots aren’t actually essential to your story. However, without subplots, your work is likely to be one-dimensional and quite brief. Therefore, when writing a novel, always develop the best subplot ideas that can raise the tension and complicate the situation your main character is facing. For example, you can develop a parallel subplot that runs the full length of the narrative, or you might provide knowledge that your main character is blind to. Alternatively, you can go with subplots that concentrate on a different facet of the protagonists or track their development.

Write Your First Draft

You can now begin writing your first draft. Our advice for this part is to let go and move as quickly through it as possible. Reflection, correction, or perfection are not appropriate at this moment. Now is the time for the story to flow out, so just unleash your creativity. Editing will help make the prose more concise and effective afterward. Just keep in mind that the only thing you must do to finish your first draft is to sit down and write.


Once completing your first draft, you need to edit your writing. Before you really delve in and start revising, you must first take a macro perspective of your entire manuscript. This means that you should focus on developmental editing rather than copyediting or line editing. After that, examine that blueprint to spot any significant structural or other problems and then come up with solutions. Based on your fixes, create a new outline. Then, it’s time to edit and begin writing the second draft. This time, read it through once more to see whether you still need a draft. Don’t forget to check for grammar and style errors.

Get Feedback

Of course, it’s beneficial to share drafts of your ongoing novel with other authors or trustworthy readers who can inspire you and offer insightful criticism. Even sending your work to them is valuable, but they will be able to help you out a lot more by asking you questions and helping you to iron out problems. Do not write to get approved; write because your story has taken hold of you, and it will not stop bothering you until you have penned it.


In truth, there is no one, single, universal road map to novel writing. Hopefully, the above instructions on how to write a novel can be your launching pad and help you quickly dip your toes deeper in the process of writing novels.