I’m always amazed when writing websites offer “How do I get started?” as a first question for beginning writers and novelists. I’m not even sure whether I believe in “beginning writers”. We’re emerging writers, certainly, but many of us began when we were about eight. If we want to write a novel, we’ve probably been thinking about it for quite some time, and have made at the very least a stab or two at it.
Perhaps a better question might be, How do I get organized to write a novel? But that’s as individual as our kitchen and garage organizations. There’s no one right way. I remember reading that Danielle Steele’s writing room was walled with bulletin boards. Apparently she would write several books at once (which sounds daunting, except that she also had nine kids, which puts the whole thing into perspective) and had index cards pinned up everywhere with eye colours and details from each of her heroine’s arcs.
Or it might be, How do I embolden and motivate myself to get words down on a blank page? By which we mean, is it going to be good enough? To answer that worry, let me say that I listened to best-selling author Bernard Cornwell talk about starting out writing his historical novels, inspired by the classic Hornblower stories, starring his own Captain Sharpe. Cornwell thought his own work was terrible, so he copied out Hornblower, replacing Hornblower’s name with Sharpe’s, and said it still looked terrible. But Cornwell’s work is superb. So there you go. And since we’re here with Cornwell, pen in hand, in a blog beginning with How do I get started? it may be worth mentioning that copying out well-loved and admired stories or poems, as he did, is a great way to warm up with the major players.
I hope you’ll have another great week in your writing career. Cheers Mel
If you’re a fan of Mel Anastasiou’s writing tips, you might try her pocket-sized writing guide The Writer’s Boon Companion: Thirty Days Towards an Extraordinary Volume. Motivates, organizes, encourages, inspires.
From Pulp Literature Press