Control: I Finished Another Novel — So Can You…
I, Dalton Lewis, recently finished writing a novel, American Starfleet Independence. I have written a number of novels in my life, but I love and care for every one of them. They are meaningful to me in an important way. This one represents countless hours of hard work and care.
This one took me six weeks or so — to write four drafts of 192 pages. I started out by doing some simple research — I borrowed a book on Guadalcanal in World War II and started reading. I highly recommend using research in one’s novels. I learned about the real-life naval battles and quickly realized that I could turn them into spaceship battles in the novel that I was writing. I began to develop alien races that would reflect the Japanese and German cultures and started to develop lore for them.
I wrote between two thousand and four thousand words per day. I highly recommend that amount of writing. If you’re just starting you might want to ramp up to that amount of output, but eventually it will become normal to you. Also you need to decide if you are a planner or a doer. If you plan on things, you need to slowly and carefully plan everything. If you are a doer, you need to plan absolutely nothing — just write and see where the page takes you. Congratulations — you are a writer.
While writing — planning or no — you need to keep some things in mind. You need character arcs for your characters and they need to each be unique and interesting. I created Annie and Callie. Annie is a badass marine who fights like crazy for everything in life. She overcame an abusive childhood to become a marine and is no longer afraid of her birth father. Callie is a fighter pilot who is quiet and introspective and who lived with the enemy aliens as a teenager and wants to get away from their influence. They will try to break her and make her help them during the story, and this will cause tension between the couple — dramatic tension. Then the story needs to develop and build into something. In my story the battle for the planet Geldon escalates as both sides lose spaceships and even capital ships trying to secure the planet. There needs to be increasing tension and problems as the story continues. The climax happens when they fight the last battle over the planet, but they also must deal with their personal issues at the same time.
When you finish your first draft congratulate yourself. Fantastic. You’re doing great. Just rewrite it — repeatedly. This is the important part, to polish and fix errors and make the story good. Fix character issues, make the plot shine, make the character arcs more clear, and develop symbolism and irony. Spend a decent amount of time rewriting the novel. Don’t just do a light polish. First I print out a physical copy of the novel and write changes in pen and then type up those changes. Then I read the actual document aloud and listen to it — listen to how it sounds and change it based on that.
You can do this. Fight for this. Writing a novel is an important accomplishment. It’s something that you can do. One shouldn’t snooze through life watching television and playing phone games. Work hard at this. Write a novel. And read some — reading is important too. Read good books. Remember — you can do this.
My novel American Starfleet Independence is available now.
Thanks, and take care, friends.