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What should be percolating in the aborning author's mind from the very start?

Let's Talk About Passion

A few basic questions first. Why are you writing a novel? For reasons of ambition, ego? Well, why not? Most of us, in one way or another, tend the ego. We want recognition, validation, a chance to prove our ability to others and thereby rise above (careful... verging on narcissism). We may need to prove something to ourselves, or more simply, gain a degree of independence from an unsatisfactory mode of existence, the existential nausea of daily grind. We might require purpose, a desire to fill our lives with pursuit that restores us with a mission, and what better way to achieve than by writing a novel? Then, of course, there is the pure need to create, the godlike urge shared by all true artists, or perhaps your particular desire to write the novel results from some or all the above working in synergy. 

Regardless, please consider your answers, 
even before the first steps towards writing the novel are taken. Be honest with yourself, and pause to consider also writing a novel because you have something of value you wish to say--a potent concept, alien to many. You might desire to expose a social injustice, restore an unusual footnote of history, or reveal a new world of experience. Whatever your subject or genre, the realization it must be said, and only you can say it, gifts you with passion (and perhaps even a "theme"). 

Core Vision and Realization

As follows:
    att.jpg Ego must be sufficiently tamed, enough to allow full realization that the aborning author is a beginner in every sense of the word and on every level.

    att.jpg Aborning authors must become apprentices to the craft and study of novel writing.

    att.jpg The Epiphany Light must be entered. A new viewpoint must replace the old.

    att.jpg The "Art of Fiction" must be satisfied. Passionate writers fail to become published either because they do not sufficiently understand the art, or are unwilling to make those compromises necessary to satisfy it. See Reasons Why Passionate Writers Fail.

    att.jpg The most powerful novels focus, at their core, on human beings in conflict with one another. Regardless of window dressing, characters are defined by their actions in the context of a dramatic story.

    att.jpg In order to become published, authors must demonstrate a degree of mastery suitable to their chosen genre; and in order to do that, they must become intimately familiar with their chosen genre.
Now that you've absorbed the above, we'll bridge from that last bullet over to Best Ten Steps for Starting the Novel.

From the heart, but smart. There are no great writers, only great rewriters. 

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Michael Neff
Algonkian Producer
New York Pitch Director
Author, Development Exec, Editor

We are the makers of novels, and we are the dreamers of dreams.

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