7 Novel Writing Tips from Best-Selling Authors

New York Times Best Selling Authors LivingWriter
7 Min Read

Writing a novel requires more than pounding away at the keys on your laptop. You have to plan, strategize and possibly outline a little bit before embarking on your creative journey.

There are many elements and factors that will set your story apart and make your novel an excellent read.

We’ve compiled some novel writing tips from best-selling, famous authors on how to empower your writing.

1. Create a Writing Plan to Guide You

Have you ever read through a book and thought it could’ve been better? Perhaps the writer didn’t arrange his scenes well enough to make it satisfying? Maybe the book was good but the ending was rushed and forced?

These kinds of situations result usually from poor planning and strategy. If you’re not a plotter, you need to at least understand what it is you’d like to deliver through your story.

Of course, every writer has the innate freedom to explore their characters and stories, but forming a blueprint wouldn’t hurt. A blueprint for your novel will assist your inner logic and will ensure that every segment of your story is incorporated in your book the right way.

The famous writer Nicholas Sparks who published the bestseller novel The Notebook in 1996 provides this novel writing tip:

“The writing plan should consist of the introduction, the conclusion, and the major events, information about the characters, period frame, voice, period, and secondary characters. Once you achieve this, the rest of your story will flow naturally.”

You can also use one of LivingWriter‘s pre-made one-click templates at livingwriter.com to get started on an outline much much quicker!

2. Your Story Should Be No. 1 

A good novel writer always researches the plot elements of their story. However, don’t make the mistake of letting your research overwhelm and overshadow your story.

Sometimes story concepts will demand intensive research if you want to keep your audience enthralled with the veracity and accuracy of your fictitious story. However this research should be alluded to, not dumped into your story. No one (mostly no one) likes to read research, and if you’re throwing around your research to make a point, you’ll lose the reader along the way.

Your reader should be on the journey you crafted for them, fully. They shouldn’t have to think too much, they should be getting lost. In the novel On Writing by Stephen King, he goes into this quite a bit.

3. Read Again and Again and Again

J.K. Rowling always provides this writing tip to her young fans that approach her for advice. “Immerse yourself in as many books as you possibly can,” she quotes.  

Jane Austen also recommends the same. “For one to become an amazing author, you have to read, read, and read some more.”

It goes without question that a large percentage of the world’s best writers are zealous readers. Read in your genre, and read some more. This is one of the only ways you become good. You’ll notice the things you like and don’t like, your mind will start to work and feel the way a story is told and structured.

4. Your Character Development Should be motivated by Real People

In addition to crafting the mechanics of your novel’s plot and narrative, it’s vital to develop your characters. Your characters should shock, awe, inspire, motivate, thrill, scare or enchant your audience. If your characters are well written, you’re 75% of the way there.

Don’t be afraid to use characteristics of real people you know as characters in your plot. However, don’t copy-paste their life story either. Use the quirks in their personality, the way you feel around them, the way others act around them, to come up with relatable characters.

A novel writing tip from one of the greatest fantasy novel writers in history, J.R.R. Tolkien who wrote the successful trilogy The Lord of the Rings:

“When I was getting started on The Hobbit I came up with an inquisitive character inspired by an old man who used to love gossiping and talking about the weather. My boys and I even made a joke out of this where we named him Gaffer Gamgee and the name stuck, which we used to describe old men with such character.”  

5. Always Endure and Take Criticism Positively

The novel writers who make it to the best-selling lists are the ones that have persevered through harsh times, rejection and criticism. Some make it up their right away, their first time, but that’s extremely rare.

Dean Koontz, an esteemed author who has had fourteen of his books reach the top of the New York Times bestseller catalog couldn’t agree with this more.

In one published interview to advance his book Odd Apocalypse, Koontz shared this useful writing tip for one to become a bestselling author:

“Perseverance is as equally important as talent and expertise. Current bestselling novel writers who persisted in the face of several knock-backs eventually made an unending list of top-notch names that recognizing all of them would give me carpal tunnel syndrome.”

6. Write to the End

This may sound like an obvious novel writing tip but coming to think of it several writers never make it to the end of their books, even the most gifted ones.

This may sound obvious, but think about how many gifted writers out there never made it to the end of their books. How many beautiful stories that were put away because of fatigue, lack of motivation and other factors.

Many wannabe novel writers imagine a painless, smooth experience where they happily type away every day while sipping coffee, but sometimes that’s not the case. Keeping this in mind will help you barrel through some moments of doubt in your process.

Sophie Kinsella, a bestselling author has some useful advice in this writing tip to help you keep your motivation to the end of your novel:

“You’ve had enough and you detest everything about your book from the storyline to the characters. You begin to regret why you created that miserable story, to begin with. Truthfully speaking, every book is challenging to construct, every writer reaches a block, whether it is an obstacle in a certain scene or a plot wall. But this shouldn’t make you give up. Push to the end- it doesn’t have to be perfect, even if have to re-write, at least you will re-write an already completed book.”

7. All These Novel Writing Tips Lead To Publishing Advice

Margaret Atwood, one of Canada’s first-rate authors offers excellent publishing advice. What do you do after all is said and done with your writing?

Her literacy and investigative fantasy writing have earned her over fifty-five global and national recognitions including the acclaimed Booker and Arthur C. Clarke Awards, therefore, you can take her word for it.

After you’re done writing your novel, comes the quest for a reputable publisher. These are words Atwood had to share concerning acquiring a publisher:

“Be cautious with small publishing companies, in case the bigger fish fail to appreciate your writing. They may claim that they want and need you but only work with those who love your work, not those who promise you the big bucks. Also, some writers self-publish flourishingly but several others don’t. Therefore, consider other writers’ advice and you’ll find a lot of practical writing tips.”

We’ll be writing an article on traditional publishing and self-publishing soon!

Dont forget!

LivingWriter (among the other amazing things it does) saves you the hustle and bustle of self-publishing by exporting your novel to a selection of twelve ready book sizes for publishing on Amazon. Not everyone can land a publisher book deal but you can still publish your beloved novel!

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At LivingWriter, we believe that great writing is about more than just putting words on a page – it’s about crafting a story, screenplay, or research paper that resonates with your readers.