I used to think that there were two challenges about writing a novel: 1) finding a great story, and 2) trying to get that great story published.
While I still believe these are the biggest challenges a writer faces, I realized there are 4 more challenges that came along my way:
1) Novel or Screenplay?
You love reading novels. You love watching movies. And you love creating dialogue-heavy stories. So how do you decide whether your story works best as a novel or a screenplay?
As a writer with no connections to Hollywood, I realized that I had a better chance of finding a publisher that might be interested in my novel. Now, please notice that I said easier, and not easy.
Getting a novel published seems to be relatively easier than getting a screenplay to Hollywood. I had a sneaking suspicion this might be the case and this is the article that helped me make up my mind: The Novel vs. the Screenplay: a Tough Love Guide for Talented Writers.
2) POV : Point of View
So you decided you’d rather write a novel. You have your characters, and you have your story. But from which point of view are you going to tell everything?
I really struggled with this decision. I tried different ones through several chapters, and then saw what worked best. I also looked at my favorite books in the same genre to see what other authors did.
Remember your options:
Third Person Limited
Third Person Multiple (or Author Omniscient)
Articles That Helped Me With POV
3) Order of Scenes
Which chapter will you start with? How do you order your scene?
I think that with all the other decisions regarding your novel, you have to decide what works best for you. I rewrote, reordered and rewrote again. And, I did eventually go back to my first order. It provided the best flow.
4) Quantity of Dialogue
Since I was originally planning to write a screenplay, my chapters are filled with dialogue. I am not saying it is all dialogue, but my characters talk a lot. And because I decided to go with Third Person Omniscient, I think the amount of dialogue works for the story.
But of course I have to remind you that I am only in the writing stage. I haven’t finished the story, and haven’t sent queries to any literary agents. Right now, my only concern is to put my story on paper. There might be many changes along the way. And of course we don’t know if agents/ publishers are going to be interested yet.
However you should keep in mind that you need to have a story to be able to get a rejection or approval. So come on! If you have a story to tell, start writing it. Then you can deal with formatting and querying.