Getting Started: Writing a Novel by Molly E. Lee
One of the questions I get asked most often by aspiring authors is “How do you get started?”
This is one of the hardest things about writing. Getting started. It can be daunting and downright overwhelming! There are so many new releases each week, and so many amazing novels to select from that many new authors can become frozen with terror—how can they possibly keep up if they don’t even know how to get started?
I always answer the same:
First, you have to block out the noise on social media, in your living room, at your day job.
Block out all the voices giving you the unwanted opinions on how hard the market is or how difficult it will be. Tune those out and turn up the voices in your head. The one that is begging you to write this story or the character who is demanding you tell her story. You latch on to those good, positive voices that are fueling this passion of yours and you listen. During this birthing phase I like to jot down any elements that come to me in notebooks or the notes app on my phone. Sometimes it’s easier to get character or plot ideas down without opening the oh-so-intimidating blank page in Word. These are your moments to discover the heart of your story and they are the pieces you’ll use to help you get actual words on the page later.
Second, you need to know that in the beginning…for just this rough draft…you are writing for an audience of one. When you do finally sit down in the chair and open that blank page, it can be easier to let the words flow if you don’t write thinking about the millions of people who could possibly read—and judge—your hard work. For this draft, write it for you. Let it burn through you—whether you’re a plotter or a pantster—use this time to get out the story you want. If you focus on writing the story for you, getting those first pages down won’t seem so intimidating. And once you have those first chapters done then the next ones won’t be so hard to get out, either.
If what is holding you back is the lack of structure to your idea, then outline. Write down the numbers one through twenty and give yourself an idea of what you want the characters to do in each of them. It doesn’t have to be set in stone, but it will allow your organized brain to breathe and write instead of worrying about plotlines A, B, and C. If you’re more hung up on the fact that you don’t have an outline, fear not. There are many authors who have no idea where their plot is going until they’re half way through the book! In this version—this precious first draft—it’s not about that. It’s about getting you started. About your story finding its way onto a blank page.
There will be time to worry about structure, plot development, and editing to fit your specific audience’s gaze in mind in the second draft. Getting started is the hard part, and once you’ve managed to write the story of your heart on the pages then you’ll be able to work on it with a clear head and edit it to be fit for the market you want it to go in. Honestly, quite often the books we write for ourselves become the books that teach us most about craft. They end up being the most moving or raw work as opposed to trying to write into a specific box.
Don’t put so much pressure on yourself. Getting started is overwhelming but it’s also one of the most intimate parts of the process—the part where it is just you and your idea. You get to decide what to do with it. And even if you only write one page a day, you’ll have finished your book in under a year. So, what are you waiting for?
Love Between Enemies - Grad Night
Zoey Handler is ready to put an end to her decade-long rivalry with Gordon Meyers. They’ve traded top spot between valedictorian and salutatorian for years, but all that’s over now. Right? But after a crazy graduation speech prank gets out of hand, suddenly their rivalry turns into all-out war. Time to make peace with a little friendly payback.
Step one? Make him believe they’re now friends.
Step two? Show him the time of his life at an epic graduation party.
Step three? Don’t fall for his tricks.
Step four? Absolutely, positively, do not kiss him again.
So what if he’s cute? (Okay, hot.) So what if he’s charming? (Heaven help her, tempting.) So what if he apologizes? (That has to be fake.) She knows the real Gordon. And no matter how much her heart begs her to stop, there’s no turning back.
Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains one epic party, complete with every high-schoolers-gone-bad shenanigan, and two rivals who discover maybe they could be something much more...if only they’d stop fighting long enough to notice it.
Each book in the Grad Night series is STANDALONE:
* Love in the Friend Zone
* Love Between Enemies
Molly E. Lee is an author best known for her romance novels, the Grad Night series and the Love on the Edge series. Molly writes Adult and Young Adult contemporary featuring strong female heroines who are unafraid to challenge their male counterparts, yet still vulnerable enough to have love sneak up on them. In addition to being a military spouse and mother of two + one stubborn English Bulldog, Molly loves watching storms from her back porch at her Midwest home, and digging for treasures in antique stores.