Ninie Hammon’s Blog for Writers

Fifteen Steps to Get Novel On the Page

Posted: October 25, 2012, 8:29PM

Sit down. I'm about to save your life.

Ok, maybe not your life, but your sanity for sure. I'm about to tell you how to get that novel-the one that's been roaring around in your head for years on a custom Harley -out of your head and down on the page.

The key word in the previous sentence, folks, is HOW-using the Webster's definition: "by what means."

In other words, I'm going to make some pretty broad assumptions here. I'm going to assume you already have a story all mapped out. I'm going to assume you understand things like foreshadowing and suspense and story structure, or that you intend to get one of the dozens of great books on those topics and study them.

What I will lay out here in the next few months is what I wish someone had laid out for me when I wrote the first of my seven novels years ago. This will be a "how-to," a nuts-and-bolts description of the process of writing a book-from scene lists, to Crappy First Drafts to how to save your manuscript on your computer and everything in between.

I'm going to tell you all the things you need to know-and to DO-before you ever sit down and type "it was a dark and stormy night."

Can you write the plot of your story in a single declarative sentence? Why should you be able to do that before you start your novel?

How do you set up the plot-divide the book into chapters and scenes?

How do you label different versions of your manuscript as you change it daily so you don't confuse the different drafts?

How do you keep track of the hundreds of details about your story-the date of the first full moon in 1967 and the names of the wildflowers that grow in Wisconsin and how long it takes to drive from Omaha to Miami?

How do you keep track of the hundreds of changes you need to go back and make after your first draft?

How do you keep track of the new ideas you have as you write that you might-and might not want to incorporate into your story?

How? How? How?

Don't stress. I'm going to tell you how.

So if you're itching to write your first novel, or you have one under your belt but realize you wasted a ton of time trying to figure out the basic logistics of the process, this series is for you.

Sit down, and relax. I'm about to save your life.

Write On! 9e



Connie Berry February 6, 2013, 7:12AM |

Hi Ninie, I know Tom from YL and was in your home in Guildford with Beth C. I'm looking forward to reading your posts. Right now I'm going through a fourth revision of my traditional/cozy mystery. If I ever get it published and go on to the second book, I have to speed up the process! Steep learning curve.   Reply

Replies (1)

Elaine Manders March 11, 2013, 4:15PM |

Your comment on the 9 pregnant women caught my eye since I've been trying to write a whole novel in a month. Of course if I do it, it'll be a rough, rough draft. I need help keeping track with those little details you mention so I'll be following your blog.   Reply

Replies (1)

Lillian Csernica March 30, 2014, 4:47PM |

Can't wait to read your tips. I've decided to take my current novel and build it into a trilogy, so I can surely benefit from lessons in staying sane while doing so!   Reply

Replies (1)

Lorraine Wilkie June 24, 2014, 6:20PM |,

I have a couple children's picture books out in the world seeking agent/publishing, but have just started my first novel. I have a plan of attack but it still seems a bit daunting. I'll definitely be following your posts for tips and inspiration!   Reply

Replies (1)

S.L.Rowland September 15, 2015, 7:45PM

Thank you this. This will save the story that refuses to get out my head.   Reply

Replies (1)

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"Oh, and about the 9 and the e beside my name. Say it fast, emphasis on the 9. That’s how you pronounce my first name -9e. (Think “rhymes with tiny and shiny, NOT with skinny and penny.”)

Suspense Author

I have soooo many stories I want to tell you, so many worlds I want you to see, so many people I want you to meet. People in trouble, most of them. Big trouble they didn't ask for but there it is. Ordinary folks like you and me who are forced by circumstances to fight for their lives. And then, smack in the middle of their everyday worlds they encounter the unexplainable. It's always the game-changer.

Welcome to my world. If you'd like to know more about me, I'm easy. Click on Meet Ninie and you'll see. My life isn't really an open book; it's more of a pamphlet, and you are cordially invited to read it. I'd love to interact with you on Twitter, Facebook Fan page, and Goodreads. Or come visit with me at 9e's Kitchen Table, a Facebook group where readers and I hang out. I think you'd like it.