Novice to Novel: Part 1


My Journey To Getting Published

I’m writing a novel! As it turns out, surprisingly, my years of pandemic hibernation were not all in vain. I have managed to put words on digital paper, and by the thousands; and not just comments on Reddit such as “username checks out” and “this guy gets it,” but honest to goodness storytelling. I would say that all in all I am just a little past the halfway point in the novel that I am writing and I am really falling in love with the story that I am bringing to life. But I realized that there was a problem.

How the fuck are you supposed to learn how to do all of this?

There are so many steps to getting a book published and there is an endless amount of (sometimes contradictory) advice out there on the internet that it can be seriously overwhelming. I have been researching how to write a novel for years and I am still not very confident that I will be able to pull this off. I am not even all that confident that my story is all that good or that it is as well written as I hope it will be.

There are so many questions and anxieties to try to extinguish.

Do I write Gud?

Is my story enjoyable?

Is my main character too cringey?

Does my book wreak of beginning writer?

And so many other concerns that I could go on and on. So I am deciding to do something a little crazy. I am starting from the beginning, and showing you guys all the steps along the way on my path to getting a novel published.

Now I know what you may be thinking, sometimes it takes years and dozens of submissions to get published, how long is this going to be? Even Stephen King was rejected 30 times before he found a publisher for Carrie.

Well, you know what, you are right. And I am in it for the long haul. If this becomes a 90 part series spanning the next decade, LET’S DO IT! Or maybe I will just self-publish, whichever comes first. But I am going to see this through.

So, what does all this mean?

I am going to start at the beginning. I was thinking about how to format this series and I figured the first step to writing fiction is to learn how to write fiction.

Now, full disclaimer, I am not a complete novice. I have a bachelor’s degree in English and I have already written the rough draft of a different novel. BUT, that being said, I think it would be a great idea to start fresh.

I am going to head into this as if I am an avid reader who all of a sudden wanted to jump into the fray of professional authorship. And I figure if anyone reads this and wants to learn how to write with me, they can follow my steps and maybe we both get published at the end of this.

So here is the gameplan for step one:

Preparation.

Every good story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. This is also known as the plot, or as I like to say, “what the fuck happens in the story.” So I am going to start with learning how to create a plot. I chose two books to read to try and figure this out.

The first one is Save The Cat! by Blake Snyder. This is a book that has been sitting on my shelf for a long time that I have always wanted to read.

Why this book?

For a while I wanted to write screenplays. I really got into the youtube series, “Lessons From The Screenplay.” Many of the books I own on writing have come from recommendations on Michael’s videos. “Save The Cat” is one of the most recommended books I have ever seen on writing a screenplay, so I chose that one.

But why a book on screenwriting?

Simple, it is short and I hope to adapt my book into a movie. I know there are plenty of books on writing a novel, and that movies and novels are very different structure-wise, but hear me out. There are far more people in the world that watch movies than there are people that read books. It is a sad state of reality but it is a fact. If I can write a book that feels like you are watching a movie, it will translate much better to modern audiences. I truly believe that movies are the most modern storytellers in society and that book structures will have to adapt to them or they might get left behind. Why do you think thrillers and mysteries are so popular? They are structured like movies. So I am going with a book known for influencing some of the most prolific screenwriters.

The second book I am going to (re)read is The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler. This is the book that changed everything for me. It is a thorough analysis of The Hero’s Journey that was first introduced by Joseph Conrad. He was the author of Heart of Darkness, which the movie Apocalypse Now was based on. He was also a professor of mythology and he discovered that most myths and stories, including movies and video games, all boiled down to the same basic plot structure, which he called “The Hero’s Journey.”

I was skeptical as all hell when I read that claim. Well, I was wrong. It really is incredibly accurate and will surprise you with how often you see The Hero’s Journey in books, movies, and video games. After reading it you will be watching Lord Of The Rings and see Gandalph approach Frode and say to yourself, “oh, here comes the mentor archetype, here to help Frodo cross the threshold into the New World. Classic end of the First Act.” The book is incredibly well written and I learned more about storytelling in this book than I ever had in 5 years of college.

My plan is to reread The Writer’s Journey and try to boil down the important bits into my next post sometime next week. I am also going to read Save The Cat! and see what it adds to the Hero’s Journey and how my new insights will change to story structure of my novel.

I am really excited to start this journey and share it with you guys. I am going to share some of my novel with you guys as we go along. That way you can see how what I am learning is affecting my writing and how it will change the final outcome of whatever it will be. Please let me know your comments and suggestions, I would really like this to be an interactive experience so we can go on this journey together.

Thank you so much for reading,

Chris Joy

Categories: Novice to NovelTags: , , , ,

2 comments

  1. That’s wonderful, Christopher! Your points on writing a book are valid, and I’ll be keeping up with this blog for news on releases. Thanks for this update 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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