There are lots and lots of books on how to write a novel. My experience is they tell you what to do. But not how to do it. Which is much like saying . It’s nice to end a meal with a homemade sherry trifle for desert. But leaves out how to make one.

This section explains not only what’s necessary. But the nuts and bolts of how.

There are no rules on how to write. But there are guidelines and combined with your energy and application (and frustration and sometimes tears) should put you on the road to becoming a competent novelist.

A celebrated author (Ann Wainwright) once famously said ‘Getting published is 99% luck and if you can write that also helps!” But don’t be put off by that. Because you absolutely can’t get published if you don’t have a manuscript to offer.

If anybody ever conducted a survey on started and unfinished novels my guess is that it would be in the hundreds of thousands. Don’t be one of them. Don’t ever lose confidence. Because once your novel is finished (whether it’s a masterpiece or a turkey). You’ve done what 95% of the country can’t do. And that’s actually write a novel.

And again, once your novel is completed . You’ve done what 95% of the country don’t do. And that’s start one and see it through to the end.
And after that. Don’t be put off by the first twenty agents that turn you down. The stories of agents and publishers that have rejected work that have gone on to be literary, publishing, and financial successes are so numerous to now be a cliche’ (I bet there are lots and lots of lit agents and publishers that still wake up at three in the morning and say to themselves how could I have let Harry Potter slip through my fingers like that!)

One can’t guarantee you will become another Hemingway or Dostoyevsky though who knows! They had to start somewhere. But one thing is beyond doubt. Having finished a mss you’re in with a shout.

Before you put pen to paper or, (fingers to a word processor) take your time . Plan what you propose to do. Give it thought. Your novel might take up to two or three years to write. So a couple of hours thinking about things before you start is really neither here nor there. But it will be a great asset knowing there is a path to follow and that you have a ‘compass.’