biggest issue with writing a book is that you need to somehow fill up blank
space on a page with words. Specifically, words that form a narrative. Failing
to do this means you’ve failed to write a book.
is ALWAYS, 100% of the time, the reason people try and fail to write a novel.
honestly not a lot to say about endings except they should be a satisfying
conclusion of everything that’s come before—but, of course, that can be harder
than it sounds. An exceptionally good ending can elevate a story to greatness (The Usual Suspects, The Shawshank Redemption),
or ruin it (Season 8 of Game of Thrones,
The Rise of Skywalker for some current examples). To clarify, when I say good
ending I mean satisfying, which isn’t
necessarily a happy ending.
Let’s say you’ve confirmed your what-if idea is worth expanding into a whole story. Yay!
is where most people get stuck after they decide they want to write a novel.
They might write a few pages, or even a few chapters, and then stall out. Part
of this is waning interest and competing priorities; writing an entire novel is
hard and takes a long time, dammit! If you’re not committed, it’s probably not
starts with a “what if” idea: What if
a teen girl with chronic depression woke up one day with psychic powers? What if Germany had won World War II
(…you see this one a lot)? What if we
found out aliens had been secretly colonizing Mars for hundreds of years? What if a young boy with two progressive
dads and thick glasses moved to the Deep South? What if I lightly fictionalized my own life story (…I wouldn’t
advise this one, tho—most authors overestimate how interesting their lives are
to other people)?
Let me start off this overview of genres by stating the most important point up front: if your goal is to write a book you’d like to be commercially successful, then you MUST PICK A GENRE! I can’t emphasize this enough.
Crack open any Storytelling 101 book and it’ll tell you conflict is your story’s engine. Every story since the history of forever has centered around someone trying to solve a problem; otherwise, it’s not a story so much as a series of anecdotes, or an aside, or your drunk uncle’s ramblings.