5 Things to Consider When Writing a Novel


Shelia M. Goss
Shelia M. Goss

Main Character(s) – Who is your main character or characters? Determine whose point of view the story will be told from. Will the story be told from one character’s point of view or several? Remember the more point of views told, the more confusing it will be to the reader. I suggest no more than two points of views. Although there are three main characters in my young adult series the Lip Gloss Chronicles, each book is told from one main character’s point of view.

The Ultimate Test – Britney Franklin’s point of view
Splitsville – Jasmine McNeil’s point of view
Paper Thin – Sierra Sanchez’s point of view

Setting – Where will your story take place? When will it take place (now, 1800’s, 1960’s)?

The Ultimate Test takes place in Plano, TX, the suburbs of Dallas, TX in modern day times.

Plot or Theme – What is your story about? What message are you trying to get across to your readers? Your plot determines what’s going to happen; when it’s going to happen and who it’s going to happen to.

The Ultimate Test is about best friends who deal with growing up. Trust and friendship is tested.

Conflict (internal & external) – What type of crisis is your character dealing with? Is the character dealing with their own insecurities or something from their past (or present)? What or who is standing in the way of your character getting what they want? Conflict is drama. Drama makes the readers turn the pages.

In The Ultimate Test – D.J. is an external conflict that causes friction between the friends.
Some internal conflicts: Sierra is dealing with weight gain. Jasmine is dealing with jealousy. Britney feels she is the glue to keeping the friendship together. Will these young ladies be able to grow up and stay together or will the tests they face tear them apart?

The End – How will your story end? Will all of your characters’ problems be resolved? Can readers see a difference in the character’s attitude or situation? Knowing the end of the story makes it easier to write. You will be writing with a purpose—to get to the end.

Shelia M. Goss
www.sheliagoss.com or www.thelipglosschronicles.com

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10 thoughts on “5 Things to Consider When Writing a Novel

  1. Jennifer C.

    Thanks Shelia for your insight. My one issue when writing is keeping the story going and interesting in the middle. A book is not good if the middle is like soggy noodles. Do you have any suggestions for on how to make sure the middle is as good as the beginning and the end?

    1. Shelia Goss

      Jennifer, I would suggest adding character conflict/drama at the end of each chapter. I call those mini-cliffhangers and they entice the reader to keep reading.

    2. Deatri Post author

      Hello Jennifer,

      I just wanted to chime in on what Shelia has said. End each scene on a cliffhanger. I know it drives me crazy when an author ends a scene with a character going to sleep or some other anti-climatic end. It’s like the author has placed a rest stop in the book. The problem with that is, the reader may not come back to the book or to your future books. YIKES.

      Conflict drives your story, so another thing to keep in mind about that sagging middle is that just as you have a main plot and subplots, you have a main conflict and subconflicts. If your story drags (meaning you have a pacing issue), then you may not be resolving your main and subconflicts fast enough and/or you are resolving them at the same time. You need to stagger them out so they do not all start, climax or hit their resolution at the same time. Ensure your subconflicts are an integral part of the main, not just thrown in there for the sake of adding conflict. Unneeded conflicts and characters hurt your story.

      Happy Writing,

  2. melissa lj

    This great info. i would love to win that book. i need a book like that to help me with my writing.

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