Your First Novel

Are you in the process of writing your first novel? Share the ups and downs of your narrative journey!

Location: #Fiction
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Latest Activity: Mar 2

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Building my characters

Started by Vibha Fenil Shah Feb 26. 0 Replies

My novel is about a school so has lots of characters. I have oullined the story and have a general flow. I have been told to expand my characters. All my characters sound same. Can anyone give me…Continue


Started by Bronnie Marcus Feb 18. 0 Replies

I am in no hurry to write or finish my book as I am doing it out of passion but I find that I write about everything else, blog and get distracted, I have a basic plot and have only managed the first…Continue

Tags: procrastination


Started by Karoline Barrett. Last reply by Karoline Barrett Apr 2, 2014. 14 Replies

Excited to announce that the cover for my first novel, THE ART OF BEING REBEKKAH is now ready! It will be out in the Fall! Published by E-Lit Books.…Continue


Started by Karoline Barrett. Last reply by Karoline Barrett Mar 20, 2014. 9 Replies

If anyone is interested in blogging about women's fiction, my first novel, The Art Of Being Rebekkah is going on tour in December! Woo hoo!!! For more information, please click here. Thanks!!!…Continue

Tags: novel, fiction, women's, Blogging

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Comment by Cate Warren on August 17, 2014 at 9:57am

Hi Marybeth! I hope the writing has jumpstarted and is rolling again.

I just joined this group yesterday and your post caught my eye. I struggled with this one too when writing my first novel, (just finishing editing), especially when I'd see people like Salman Rushdie on Charlie Rose saying he did all of his research first before writing The Enchantress of Florence. I wondered how he researched when he didn't know what he was going to need. Obviously, he works differently from the way I, and probably others, work. I'll try to be brief as I have a tendency to run on: I wait until I get to the point where I can't write anymore BECAUSE I have to do research. For me, I have to wait until I find out who my characters are and what they do, what they like, where they come from, who their friends are--everything that makes us real, but for pretend people. I keep blank sheets of paper beside my laptop and I take notes while I'm working, which is patchwork-style in itself: I'm kind of writing to find out what happens, so I follow that initial image or snippet of dialogue and write that, and then I might get something else and know it happens later in the story, so I write that, and so on and so on. I read those parts over and over and more comes, sometimes details, sometimes whole new parts, and then I find out I need to know if it's possible to get milk from goats without separating them from their babies. Where in frilly heck did that come from? I write it down on the paper beside my laptop and keep going. Then there'll come a day where a clearer picture begins to form--I still don't know where the story is going, but I have some idea. I start a list of research material: books, magazine articles, DVDs, documentaries, people to talk to, music to listen to, etc. That list gets big quick. Usually I have some sense of what I need when I write the first sentence--though not necessarily the first sentence of the book, as I don't write in a linear fashion at first--I start reading right away. I only read what I'm using for research while I'm writing as I'm paranoid about plagiarism to the point of neurosis. I find for me, this way I stick to the subject, so at bed time I crack whatever book is up for research (I have Susanna Moodie's Roughing It In The Bush and Richard Yates Eleven Kinds of Loneliness on my bedside table, among others, because for my next, second, novel, two subjects I need to bone up on are pioneer settlements in Upper Canada, and what loneliness looks like on characters without that brazen announcement: "This person is lonely!"). If you're writing then keep going. If you don't know what to right in one section because you need to do research, make a note on paper and then put RESEARCH just like that in the middle of what you're writing--at least this is what I do. I've planned four books that connect geographically and thematically, so I've done work on two other books in this quartet, and the fourth one is around 175 pages and is littered with the capped RESEARCH, and I have notes. I'll get back to it later when it's time for that book. For now I go on with this one. I could research until the end of time, so I stop just out of that having a life thing, because when I'm writing it's my whole existence--eat, sleep, think, breathe the novel. I've learned that's too much. Life makes us better writers. Research is good, but it's best not to let it take over your life. Drafts are a great place for the ongoing research you're doing to fill in areas that are a little thin. And breaks between drafts are good too, to give you time to research and give you distance from your writing so you can see it with fresh eyes. 

But that's just what I do. I think you have to find what's comfortable and works for you, and don't let anyone tell you what you're doing isn't right. You can do this! Best of luck! Sincerely, CW

Comment by Eva Lesko Natiello on August 2, 2014 at 7:39am

Wow, what a week it's been!! THE MEMORY BOX Kindle edition was downloaded 27,452 times in 3 days! This post is a thank you note which recognizes the real reason for that success:

Comment by Marybeth Holleman on July 31, 2014 at 5:54pm

I've written several nonfiction books and am now at work on a novel. This group has great advice, so am hoping you can help me: how do you mix research and writing? I was on a roll writing, realized I needed to do some research, and then - the research goes on and on, and the writing has now stalled. When do you stop researching and start writing? Do you finish all your research first, or do you do research on and off throughout the process of the first draft? OR do you write the first draft all in one go, then do the research to fill in the missing pieces? Thanks for any and all advice!

Comment by Eva Lesko Natiello on July 29, 2014 at 8:13am

FREE Kindle download of THE MEMORY BOX a marriage thriller, today through Thursday! You know you love free stuff! Read this “unputdownable” “thrill ride” of a “page turner” hailed as the “best book of the summer” and a “great read for fans of Gone Girl” (I mean, that’s what I’m hearing…) please consider leaving a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. That would make my day!

Comment by Eva Lesko Natiello on June 26, 2014 at 7:03pm

So excited to announce the cover reveal for my debut psychological thriller, THE MEMORY BOX:


Comment by Syeda Tasmia Tahia on March 31, 2014 at 7:04am

Hello Ladies. Anyone here have a moment (or a few, actually) to spare? I am looking some feedback on the 10th chapter of my YA Silent Voices. It is written from a omniscient third-person narrative, focusing on one or two of the for MCs feelings (or silenced voices) in each chapter.

Silent Voices: Flowers and Flirts

I have taken forever to actually get down to writing this chapter (January blues turning to March blues!)

It would be very kind of you to give me any positive, negative or constructive feedback you may be willing to share. Thank you very much in advance! :)

Comment by E. B. Purtill on February 20, 2014 at 7:41pm

Not long to go before I publish my first novel, The Lamb. Please check out my Kickstarter project or my website. I'd love to hear any feedback the group has to offer.!blog/c18in

Comment by Eva Lesko Natiello on February 11, 2014 at 10:00am

What happens when you finish your WIP? Read my guest post on

Comment by Kristen A Petersen on July 24, 2013 at 3:58pm
You might also look at Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. She uses the shifting POV style effectively in several of her books. What might be really helpful is to see what she did in The Fiery Cross. I've read the series many times and this is the most complicated in terms of POV. This particular volume may actually be a useful tool for seeing how the multiple third person views might challenge readers to stay focused on the story lines. I love her books but this one is tough.
Comment by Liz Gelb-O'Connor on July 24, 2013 at 2:59pm

@ Linda Rosen, A book that did the first & third person POV shifts effectively was a YA series by PC & Kristen Cast, a mother daughter team that wrote the House of Night YA Fantasy Series. The MC Zoey's chapters are written in first person, all the other characters are written in 3rd person. My only advise is to make sure you separate chapters when you jump POVs. Each chapter in their books are titled by the character whose POV you are in. Good luck!


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