How to Approach Writing a First Fiction Novel

In my first blog post, I referenced that writing is a passion of mine, both as a hobby and as a profession. Simply having an active blog is a testament to that, but my interest goes far beyond blogging about my adventures as a stay-at-home dad. I have also spent most of my professional life as a technical writer and communicator.

So, welcome to a new section of my blog dedicated to the writing craft. My personal focus currently lies in fiction writing, but I will not limit my discussion to fiction alone. I’m interested in talking with you about all types of writing styles and any topics involved with the craft: fiction/nonfiction, novels, short stories, and publishing to name a few. If you have a topic you want to talk about, please let me know!

I am 30,000 words deep into my first draft of an epic fantasy fiction novel. I am not going to reveal anything specific about it at this point, except to stay that it is something I have been working on for several years by writing (and sometimes scrapping and rewriting), brainstorming, note taking, outlining, etc.

I know that 30,000 words over a several year span doesn’t seem like a lot; it isn’t. Last year on my birthday, I told myself I would finish my first draft by my next birthday (which was last week). Well, that obviously did not happen. Everyday life got in the way and I would often make excuses to not write.

Well, this year I am making the pledge again and I intend to keep it. Hopefully this blog will give me ideas to spark creativity and to keep me honest. I’d actually like to be done with a first draft by late summer, but I’d be satisfied with year end.

To prepare, I have been spending almost all my free time reading. I recently finished Witch Wraith by Terry Brooks, Inferno by Dan Brown, and a long-overdue reading of the Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. I am now working on The Making of a Story: A Norton Guide to Creative Writing by Alice LePlante and am finally getting around to Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin.

So, what books are you reading? Have you found any to be particularly insightful, inspirational, and/or entertaining? Regarding books on writing, I am not a novice when it comes to grammar and composition, so I am more interested in books covering advanced techniques rather than an introduction to writing.

For my fellow writers, how did you approach writing your first major piece? What strategies were good or bad for you? What did you do to stay inspired and not feel intimidated or overwhelmed?

Until next time – Chris

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6 thoughts on “How to Approach Writing a First Fiction Novel

    • I’ve read great things about On Writing also. I’m currently reading two other self-help books, but that will have to be next. I haven’t been reading so many books at once since I was in college. lol

  1. Gosh, what am I reading? Several books at once… which is usually the way with me! Currently, I am ‘revisiting’ Stephen King’s book, “On Writing.” I’ve also just begun reading a new novel which I hope to review in a few days. It’s called “In the Line of Ire” by Edwin Dasso.

    • I continue to hear great things about Stephen King’s book, so that is on my short list of books to read next. I’ve been so busy reading lately that I haven’t spent as much time writing, but I am over 34,000 words now, so I feel pretty good about that. Thanks for the advice. 🙂

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