Five Necessary Ingredients for a New Novel

I’ve blissfully wrapped up my latest work-in-progress and am so looking forward to diving into a new project. (Yes, this is a disease and I can’t help myself. Must. Write.)

As I gear up to put fingers to keyboard and cursor to Word document, I’ve spent a few days working on the following key ingredients:

1. Enough background research to establish a historically accurate timeline and plot.

2. Photos of characters. Having a clear picture in my mind helps me keep the descriptions consistent throughout. I love taking images from the 40s themselves – it helps put me into the era and create more authentic characters.


3. Photos of beautiful horses to inspire and fuel the horsey characters. (I’d argue the horses are more important than the human characters, but not everyone will agree.)

4. Susan May Warren‘s worksheets for establishing character basics, plot points and the inner journey. Check out her writing workbooks to learn more!

5. A compelling opening scene. I’m struggling with this one, as my characters are a bit out-of-the-box. This can’t be any old regular opening scene. This sets the tone and pace for the entire novel. Not a task to be taken lightly.

Writers: What are your key ingredients before sitting down and creating a new manuscript?



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Community Champion at Buffer ~ writer ~ reader ~ urban homesteader ~ former rodeo queen ~ @nmillerbooks