I don't want to sprinkle you with fairy dust here, but I love novel writing and I truly believe that it's a magical experience...
Armed with nothing but the spark of an idea and the desire to create, you get to build an entire living and breathing world using only your imagination. What's not to love about that?
"I have been to many writing sites, but yours is the best. With your instruction techniques, you have given me the inspiration and help that I have been searching for...thank you so much."
- Judy Duckworth, Long Beach, CA
But isn't novel writing "difficult"?
Well, it's certainly not "easy" to write publishable fiction - not boiling-an-egg easy.
There will be tough times on this writing adventure you're about to undertake...
But you'll get to have plenty of fun along the way, too...
And so long as you understand the three keys to success, there is nothing to stop you reaching your final destination.
Here's what you need to succeed...
Now, writing talent is seriously over-rated. As a matter of fact, too much of it could actually be a hindrance.
If you like to read novels, you have what it takes to write them. Simple as that. Everything else is down to hard work and commitment.
I can't help you with the need to commit to writing a novel. That all depends on how much it means to you.
My job is to teach you the craft of fiction. And that's where all the free help and advice on my website comes in.
So here's the deal...
If you supply the brains and the motivation, I will tell you everything you need to know to write a novel to a publishable standard.
Better still, it won't cost you a solitary dime.
Don't go scrolling down looking for the catch because there isn't one. This website is supported through advertising alone.
Everything I have written over the last four years (and everything I will write in the years to come) is all yours.
Today's quote comes from Raymond Carver. Now, Carver is famous for writing short stories, not novels, but his words nevertheless illustrate today's tip perfectly...
"I like to mess around with my stories. I'd rather tinker with a story after writing it, and then tinker some more, changing this, changing that, than have to write the story in the first place. That initial writing just seems to me the hard place I have to get to in order to go on and have fun with the story."
If you've ever struggled to write the first draft of a chapter (and who hasn't?) you will know the "hard place" Carver talks about very well. Staring at a blank sheet of paper, or a blank computer screen, IS tough... particularly when the words you write strike you as being amateurish when you read them back.
But that's okay,
Heck, there isn't a job in the world that isn't tough at times. For us novel writers, forcing the words out in the first place is like a well digger staring at an undug hole or a bricklayer at an unbuilt wall.
But knuckling down and getting the words written has its compensations...
For one thing, creating something out of nothing gives you an incredible feeling of pride and accomplishment - even when the words you have written are still on the rough side.
Second, laying those "rough" words down on paper allows you to get to the "fun" part of novel writing - tinkering with the words, as Carver puts it.
So never dread that blank sheet of paper every morning. Look forward to filling it with language, even if the narration and the description and the fictional conversations come out a little clunky the first time around.
Nobody will ever read the first draft except you. People will read the third or the fourth or the... fourteenth draft. And you know what? Those later drafts are not only a lot easier to write than the first one, they're a lot more fun, too.
Writing a novel can sometimes seem like a never-ending task. Sometimes you can work from dawn until dusk and, because you are not quite "in the zone," it feels like you achieved nothing at all.
Even when you do produce work of quality, it is still such a small part of the novel as a whole that it is easy to become disillusioned.
The solution, I think, is to remind yourself that novel writing IS challenging. And it is important, therefore, to give yourself a mental pat on the back at the end of each day's work.
Yes, what you have produced today might only make up a drop in the ocean. It might not even be very good. But remember that most people out there wouldn't have the guts or the stamina to attempt what you are attempting. And, as such, you should feel immensely proud about whatever you have achieved today.
It's like Hemingway said, "Writing is something you can never do as well as it can be done. It is a perpetual challenge and it is more difficult than anything else that I have ever done so I do it. And it makes me happy when I do it well."
Be happy when you write well. Be happy even when you don't write well, but at least you had the gumption to try. Writing is immensely rewarding but immensely tough at times, too. If you aren't going to congratulate yourself, who is?
Whether you're a complete beginner at writing novels or you already have a manuscript or two tucked away at the back of a dusty drawer, this site has all the answers.
Novel Writing Help is...
So do yourself a big favor (and save yourself a fortune on expensive writing guides and courses) and bookmark this site right now.
Oh, and if you could help spread the word by "liking" Novel Writing Help and sharing your favorite pages using the bar on the left, I would appreciate it.
The more people who know about it, the more time I can devote to creating new content and answering your questions.
In case you are wondering who I am, my name is Harvey Chapman and I love teaching the art and craft of novel writing.
I also love reading fiction and writing fiction (when I can find the time - which isn't often). But it is the theory of how novels are built that has hooked me from an early age.
You know all those writing guides you see in the stores? Well, I've been reading them for fun since I was in my teens (including all the out of print ones).
I've also analyzed hundreds of published novels for technique, and I've done plenty of teaching so I know where beginners need the most help. And Novel Writing Help is the result.
Here is how I want you to think of me...
Imagine I'm a friendly stranger you meet in a bar. We get chatting and you tell me you're thinking of writing a novel.
"I know a thing or two about that," I say.
"Really?" you say as you sit up straighter in your seat. "Tell me everything you know."
So I do. And everything I tell you is right here on this site. And it doesn't even cost you a beer.
As with so many things in life, the beginning is not a bad place (if a little predictable).
But if you're still wondering whether you really do have what it takes to succeed, try starting with this popular article: The Myths & Secrets of Writing a Novel.
Already pumped up with confidence? Great...
Then you will want to head straight to the section showing you How to Write a Novel Step by Step. Understanding the writing process is critical...
Finding this website is a great first step (be sure to add it to your favorites in case you can't find it again!)
The next step is to use the site - not just today and tomorrow, but in the weeks and months ahead as the novel in your imagination starts to become a reality.
Good luck on your adventure. And don't forget that novel writing is NOT a race - and that it's okay to have plenty of fun along the way.
"With all the trash on the internet, I appreciate that there are a couple of legitimate writers out there willing to share their expertise. Thanks."
- Joey Przymus, Connecticut
"What an amazing site! Thanks so much for your enormous efforts. I am relishing every detail and will share this find with others."
- Jodi O. James, New Jersey
"I've been drowning in a sea of expensive and unhelpful websites about writing - which did nothing except confuse, annoy and depress me. Finding your website has been enlightening and a very, very welcome find. Thank you."
- Jim Franklin, Derby, UK
"Just wanted to say thanks for putting such a comprehensive and "down-to-earth" site on writing in general. Kudos, my friend, from one writer to another! I have been putting together such a site myself now for a while and had put in more than a few hours writing the content, but after seeing your site...well, there is no point now...you have said all there is to be said and done so in a such a way that there really isn't any need for another site like it in my humble opinion."
- Dan Corkery, Ireland
"Dear Harvey - I've read quite a few "How to Write A ..." books and, boy-oh-boy, yours is best! Thanks SO much for writing it...it pulled me out of my self-indulgent lethargy and has me back on track. Thanks!"
- Morven Hands, UK
"Wow! Great! I love this site, and I recommend it to anyone writing a novel!"
- Eva, London