4 Things "Not To Do" When Writing a Novel (+ Tips From Hemingway)

Posted by Arthur Gutch
Published On Sep 27, 2014

If you are an aspiring novel writer or author of any type, you have likely procured as much information as you can find on how to go about becoming successful. However, you might not have read any information about what "not to do" when writing a novel.

Hemingway writing a novel

Hemingway had his own set of opinions on writing, many of these were compiled in 1984 by Larry W. Phillips in his book Ernest Hemingway on Writing. Below are five of his tips:

  • Always stop for the day while you still know what will happen next.

  • Never think about the story when you’re not working.

  • When it’s time to work again, always start by reading what you’ve written so far.

  • Don’t describe an emotion–make it.

  • To get started write one true sentence.

Read below for a few of our own tips on things to avoid in an effort to finish your book and make it a success:

Don't wait forever on inspiration that might not ever come:

Many authors feel they should be "inspired" before they begin to write any piece of literature. Unfortunately, that could cause a lack of progress when you wait for said inspiration to begin working on your novel. Famous author and editor Peter De Vries once spoke about writing only with inspiration. He said "I write when I am inspired, and I see to it that I'm inspired at nine o'clock every morning. " Successful authors will tell you that their secret to writing novels is not to wait on inspiration but to write as much as possible, even when they don't feel very "inspired."

Don't neglect to schedule your writing time:

As mentioned above in the first point, "writing" is the key to writing a successful novel. Without that aspect, you won't get very far. Therefore, it's important to create a writing schedule that you will stick to regardless of what comes up. Accomplish this by establishing a writing quota. This quota will determine how many words or chapters you write in a day or over the course of a week. Having a goal will keep you focused and help you avoid distractions that will take away from your writing time.

Don't wait until you know everything there is to know about your characters' direction or publishing in general:

Some writers find themselves delaying the creation of their novel until they are 100 percent sure they know everything about their storyline and are completely sure how their characters will interact with each other and so on. However, if you wait until you know exactly how your novel will look when finished, wait until you read that next how-to book, take that next class on how to properly develop characters or learn everything about how to find a publisher once you have your novel completed, you might never start your novel. Therefore, do research enough to start your book, and complete the rest of the learning process while you are working on your first draft. This will ensure you are making progress instead of being in a perpetual state of preparation.

Don't write only what's trending:

When a particular novel topic is currently trending, that means that those novels were written approximately two years ago. Therefore, if you aim to only write for in trending market, by the time you complete your novel, chances are good that the topic will no longer be trending at that time. Consequently, it is best to write what you love and what you are passionate about and not to worry too much about whether or not your novel topic will be trending at the time it is completed.

Follow the advice listed above on what "not to do" when writing a novel for a greater chance at novel writing success.                                                                                   

 Keep the Faith and May the Force be with You!

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Topics: writing environment, audiobooswriting tips, self publishing, writing tips, author marketing, time to write, book writing tips, finding time to write, serial novel

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