Martha Carr: Tips on Getting Started on Your Novel

Martha Carr, author of The List, the first book in the Wallis Jones series, talks about the process of writing a novel: Getting started, building up a series, and more.

Stop looking at your novel as 365 pages. Break it down into bite-sized pieces.

The List, a thriller by Martha Carr

Know why you are writing your novel.

Start with the main characters. Get to know them. Research their background.

Write the ending. Know where you’re going.

Create an outline. Ask questions about your novel’s setting and time.

There are generally three main arcs that describe what’s shifting in the characters’ lives.

Remember: As the writer, you are the driver. You need to know where you’re going.

Notes are your friends. They help you keep on track during your novel and, if you are writing a series, they help you create the characters and situations that will build the series.

You need to have a plot line that allows you to build a series.

Write one page a day and you’ll have a book within a year.

Once you have a first draft, find a supportive group of fellow writers who can give you feedback.

How do you start writing?

Start with the phrase: Once upon a time.

You just need to get started. You can drop the Once upon a time later.

Start with an opening of action. Then let the action go.

Do not start with dialogue. Do not start with description.

For more about Martha and her Wallis Jones series, see

About John Kremer

John Kremer is author of 1001 Ways to Market Your Books, the Relationships Matter Marketing program, and many other books and reports on book marketing, Internet marketing, social media, and book publicity. -- .

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