Novel progress

Stage 1: Developing the novel

  1. Idea
  2. Working title
  3. Identify a genre
  4. Premise.
  5. Estimate the length of the book.
  6. Identify the main characters.
  7. Point of view
  8. Identify the setting
  9. Write an outline

Stage 2: Researching for the novel

  1. Make a list of what you already know
  2. Make a list of things you need to find out – use question form
  3. Identify potential sources
  4. Use keywords to do a preliminary search. This will hopefully lead you to more comprehensive source
  5. Check your facts (don’t rely on one source)
  6. Synthesis your findings – organise your research
  7. Evaluate your findings
  8. Check that you have answered your own questions

Stage 3: Compose the novel

  1. Chapter 1 – finally started
  2. Chapter 2
  3. Chapter 3
  4. Chapter 4
  5. and so on

Stage 4: Revise

  1. You need to approach your manuscript with a fresh and clear mind. Have you had at least a week’s break from it?
  2. Read your premise and outline and keep them close at hand
  3. Make a copy of the original manuscript
  4. Read the manuscript from start to finish. Remember, no fixing and try not to take notes. You are only reading at this point.
  5. Reread the manuscript looking for problems in the overall structure of the novel. Now you can take notes, but avoid editing – you can mark mistakes, but you must not fix
  6. Reread the manuscript as many times as you need to, concentrating on different aspects, such as character continuity, chronology, scene transitions, dialogue etc.
  7. Make the changes you’ve outlined for yourself
  8. You might also wish to rework the beginning and end at this point
  9. Read it again. Are you happy?

Stage 5: Editing

1. Reread the manuscript and check for the following:

  • Overuse of words, ie repetitiveness
  • Are the sentences coherent – are there any fragments, run-on sentences?
  • Consistency in tense
  • Punctuation
  • Adjectives

2. Make the changes you’ve marked
3. Check the layout
4. Do a spellcheck – it should be the last thing you do
5. Celebrate

I’ve added a few words to the novel. At this rate I should be finished around 2080.

Word metre available from


8 Responses to Novel progress

  1. Enger says:

    I liked it. So much useful material. I read with great interest.

  2. JassiMostru says:

    Very nice and intrestingss story.

  3. WP Themes says:

    Amiable fill someone in on and this enter helped me alot in my college assignement. Thank you as your information.

  4. Hi Sharon,
    I found your blog through Chattanooga Writer’s Group. I’m an organized writer, too, but I’ve never written the steps down like you did here. Maybe I should have, then things would have proceeded much smoother. I’m going to integrate this idea in a MG that’s 3/4 of the way completed. I’m very excited about using the Word Meter–never saw one before! Thanks for posting.
    Rita Lorraine

  5. Hi Sharon,

    I love your brilliant check list. I’m also very goal oriented when I write a book and it definitely helps. But I’m worried you’re a bit slow! Could you set yourself a weekly goal of 4000 words so that you know your first draft will be finished in six months? I found this really helped me pull my finger out and do it. I told myself that if it wasn’t done now it never would be and it really worked.

    There’s plenty of great advice for me here and I’ll be trying some of your writing exercises with a writing group I’m starting so I’ll let you know how it goes.

    Thanks for the great ideas. Good luck with the book and keep up the great writing!

    • Hi Annabel
      Thanks for your comments and your honesty. You’re right, I do need to set my self a word goal. I’ve started keeping a spreadsheet of how many words I write on the novel compared with for this blog to compare. I suspect the blog will win this week.

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