Five ideas to get your novel from “Once upon a time” to “The End”

How to get your novel to "The End"

Now that I have completed the first draft of my first novel, other writers are asking me how I did it — what I did to go from “just started” to “The End”. Here are five things that I did to go from zero to 70,000 words.

  1. Consistently scheduled, daily writing segments. I used to think I was a night owl, but really, I’m an early bird. Sure, I can write in the afternoon, or the evening, or even late at night — but my most productive, best copy happens in the morning. In fact, now that I have a first draft down, I can tell that the first third was written during any other time of day. (Basically, it needs work.)file2361274239655
  2. Go with the flow, and plot only when it’s time, and only as far as it feels right. (Trust me, you’ll know when this is.) When I started writing my story, I just started writing. I had a place, some characters and no real plot–hardly even a vague idea. So, I just started writing, not knowing where the story was headed really. This surprised a lot of my writer friends who always knew whodunnit from the get-go. So, they got me worrying. Too early in the game, the planner in me tried to figure out how it all would end — I wanted to force myself straight to the destination without taking the journey, and the result was something a bit too contrived. Doing that got me so confused I had to put the story aside for nearly a year, before I approached it again. When I looked at what I had written, the ideas started flowing so fast, I started to jot down bullet points of the next few moves/scenes in a clean Word document. (Read my blog post about plantsing here.)
  3. Don’t think about “The End” until you get to it. With my first novel, I managed to reach an end — but it turns out that it isn’t the end yet. I have tied up some loose threads, but there are others that will have to be addressed in newer stories. As it turns out, this story idea I had a couple years back is not a one-novel wonder. 🙂
  4. Ask for, and accept, help. Whether it’s talking to friends who like to read stories, watching movies in your genre, finding a book on writing, or taking a class — it’s all good. I’ve done all these things — and, mind you, the activity doesn’t have to address your story, specifically. Sometimes, I would help a friend edit her writing and provide constructive feedback over coffee. In fact, one time when I helped a friend in overcoming her writer’s block, I also stumbled on a solution for my own writing wrinkle. (Win-win!) Another time, I joined a class and learned so much from everybody else’s creative writing exercises.
  5. Commit to one 30-minute writing segment each day like it’s a religion. In a 30-minute writing segment, I can write an amount ranging from 250 words to 1,200 words. (I think once I even hit around 1,800 words — but I think I also think I lost track of time.) More importantly, 30-minutes is a short-enough time period to fit into a busy schedule. I tried scheduling one-hour into my day, but other priorities managed to take over — and I would postpone my writing for the weekend, or vacation, or whenever. This way, I always get some words on a page.
Getting to the end...
Getting to the end… (you’ll know)

Author: Cynthia T. Luna

Cynthia is a writer who found her true calling and gave herself permission to express her creativity. Helping other innately creative women find their purpose, create space for their passions, and live a more fulfilled life is one way she styles her living.

9 thoughts on “Five ideas to get your novel from “Once upon a time” to “The End””

  1. Hey there! It is so nice to see your inspirational words and most of all, that you are living the whole point of being in a human existence. You go Girl!!!

    1. Thanks again for your lovely comments. Sounds like we might be on similar paths? Are you working on a project you want to complete?

  2. Completely agree with lots of these points – especially the end one – I knew loosely what my end would be, but it was different when i got there, and still isn’t right! the only way I could get there though was to not think about it till I actually GOT there! too distracting otherwise.

    1. Yeah! I know!! My end isn’t AT ALL what I imagined when I started my plantsing process. But it’s an ending that makes sense for this story while leaving things up for the next.

  3. Haha! I kept saying, “Oh, that one is me…oh, wait, THAT one is me…” and so on until I just threw my hands up and admitted the whole damn post is me. 😀 So relatable. Thanks for sharing.

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