How to Write a Novel


Someone who recently read my still unpublished novel Beyond Bethlehem asked me how I did this – actually write a whole novel? My answer was there is only one way to write a novel and that’s to sit down and start writing. It won’t happen until then.

My novel started with a turkey hunt gone good.

I had played with the idea of writing a novel for years, making occasional notes, scribbling down ideas, and daydreaming various scenes. But I never quite got around to taking that all-important first step – actually writing.

What got me started was taking a week of vacation one May to really indulge my recent addiction to hunting wild turkeys. Wouldn’t you know, I bagged a turkey the first day. That left another eight consecutive days to do something else. Since I had used all my spare time the previous month doing chores so I would have the whole vacation free, I didn’t have anything left on the “honey-do” list.

So I started writing. By this time I had been a newspaper reporter for a bunch of years. So I had some confidence I could pull this off. I knew I had the discipline to actually sit down and write on a regular basis. And I was reporting at the rate of more than 6,000 words a week or 300,000 words a year.

Hell, that’s three 100,000 word novels, right?

The entire journey took much longer than that, of course. And I wrote and rewrote this novel many times before I was happy with it. But that’s a bunch of different stories.

This one is about how I started.


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