Things I Wish I Knew Before Writing My Novel

I never realised how bloody funny a book could be until I read Jonas Jonasson’s The Hundred Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared.

I’ve never laughed at a book before and since reading that book I have been writing my own comedy novel. It’s a lot darker than Jonas’ and, at the moment, it’s no where near as funny. But I am slightly concerned because things that I find funny don’t necessarily make anyone else laugh, as my girlfriend likes to tell me. 

A few years ago I went to an evening with David Mitchell and David Baddiel, and they said to write what you think is funny. If you write what you think someone else will find funny but you don’t then it’s going to come across as a bit fake. 


Finishing my first draft 

A year ago I finished my first draft and I will really pleased that I’d finally finished something. However I had only written 52,000 words but I’ve read that most publishers will only consider transcripts that have a minimum of 70,000. The word count has been the main thing that I’ve struggled with throughout the writing process. As I began my 2nd draft instead of cutting and editing bits I was adding whole new sections and plot points which strayed far away from my original story and characters.



Starting again

I was getting to a stage after my 5th draft where I didn’t want to write the book anymore because I was over complicating plot points and I couldn’t find a way to seriously increase the word count. So I started again. I went right back to the beginning by outlining all the chapters in detail, doing the character profiles and writing the character and emotional development of each chapter. Here is a really good template that you can use

I’m now at almost 10,000 words and I’m on chapter 6. My book has 48 chapters so if I continue to average 1,600 words a chapter then that takes me up to 76,800. As long as I get over 70,000 then I can confidently start editing and re-writing again.


Useful tips/ for writing a novel

How to Write a Novel: 7 Tips Everyone Can Use

PD James’s 10 tips for writing novels

30 Novel Writing Tips

Five Essential Tips for Anyone Trying to Write A Book

Writing your first novel: 10 starter tips for success

12 Top Writing Tips for Beginners