Best Tips and Tools for Writing Your Novel

You finally did it: you made a commitment to writing a novel.

Great! Let's get to it.

Write an Outline

You need a road map. Just like any creative spirit does. Writing comes off in bits and pieces, and to get the work done you take one step at a time.

Where to get that road map? How to choose the story that you have to write, the one that will engage you and the readers?

Make a list of your obsessions, the ones that hurt you. Write about something you would never speak about. That is your story.

Your character, in any case, needs a compelling problem, something that challenges him or her. You can't protect them. They have to live the conflict so that you can tell their story.


With one eye on the general outline, write your draft. When writing, we tend to go back and start changing things. In this first stage it's important to bear in mind what John Steinbeck said on drafts:
Write freely and as rapidly as possible and throw the whole thing on paper. Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down. Rewrite in process is usually found to be an excuse for not going on.
Don't worry about the outcome, it's a first draft. A crappy one is worth more than nothing.

Get Organized

It's time to edit, rewrite, fill the gaps. You need to stay focused, organize your thoughts and find a structure for the story. This is not as difficult as it sounds.

I use Writer Tools to boost efficiency. This free productivity app helps me think quickly and stay organized, and it's designed expressly for tracking and writing a novel.

There is a wide range of book writing apps and you'll easily find the one that suits you best. If you haven't tried any yet, take a look at the various features of Writer Tools:
  • To start, you can create a time line, the list of events that take place in the story. 
  • If you don't have a clear scheme yet, there is the ideas section where to note down just anything that comes to mind. These notes will help you creating an outline. At this stage, you can easily reorder the events, move or remove scenes.
  • List your characters. This section includes a brilliant set of forms, so that you can plan out your characters in-depth. Fill in as much information as you can about their history, appearance, personality... and tag them individually or in groups.
  • Record and document all the locations of the story. You can add images to these places, just like in characters.
  • In the chapters section is where you actually write and build up the story.
  • It comes with an integrated thesaurus to quickly find synonyms, antonyms, and related words.
There are two more special features not to miss:
  1.  Quarterly Goals section. It helps setting yourself writing goals at your convenience. 
  2. Write On PC. It allows you to plan the story on your phone and write it on your laptop all at once in one centralized program. You can afterwards sync to offline and read and correct what you've written while waiting on the bus, etc.
With the set of tools included in this app, my writings and notes are easy to access and find, and I get what I most need as an author: focus, swift progress, and motivation.

You can download this app for free at the Google Play Store. I recommend the Get started guide, it explains it all - including a few more features - with perfect detail.

Write, Write, Write

Show up every day.

If you are having a bad day, think about the characters: what do they want? What blocks them from getting it? How do they deal with the obstacle? Dig into your feelings.

Or think about the dialogues: how do they sound? Are they as you want them to be?

And so on. Write in the good days, daydream in the bad ones.


As a conclusion, simplify things. Don't over-intellectualize the process. Keep your language simple. Use the best tools to help you plan, track and write your novel. Cut what you don't need.

It’s only about what the story needs.

Don't Quit

Don't be overwhelmed by rules and pieces of advice, just like mine. They too often can make believe that a novel is almost impossible to write. Ignore the rules, if they fail to help. Remember that it is just you and your writing.

Stick with the novel. It will improve, and, believe it or not, it will find its readers. Be focused and always visualize, as Margaret Atwood says,
the finished, published version of your resplendent book.

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