Seven Step Process to Create a Novel


Writing is such an adventure, but sometimes it can be daunting.

Imagine you are sitting down at your computer with coffee in hand. You go to turn on your computer, excited to get started writing. All night you tossed and turned with plots and dialogues roaming through your head. You see your characters in action deep in your imagination. It's as if you are in the room with them listening to their conversations, or you may be out in a battlefield watching your characters interact with the enemy while cheering them on.

Now you are staring at your keyboard on your computer and silence.

You take a deep breath, and as you sigh under your breath, the following words spill out,


"How do I put this all together?"



You run your fingers through your hair and with a clenched jaw, feeling inadequate. You sigh again and exacerbate,



"How in the world do I create a novel?"

Don't worry; you are not alone in this thought. I, too, have asked the same questions. Relax, it's all part of the process.

Although there are many ways to write a novel out in the marketplace, I will share with you how I approach writing my children's book that could help you get started too.




  • 1. Brain dump

  • 2. Pre-draft

  • 3. The first draft

  • 4. The second draft

  • 5. The third draft 

  • 6. The fourth draft



Brain Dump


A brain dump is dumping everything out that's in your brain out onto the page without the concerns of grammar and syntax. Fill up the page with everything in your mind regarding the story.


"Don't get it right; just get it written."

~James Thurber


I use a creative method I learned from the author, Mary Carroll Moore, called the W-chart. It's a storyboard method using 5 Islands of the story + Epiphany Moment. This charting method helped me to see the rising and falling action in my storyline.

















1.  The Triggering Event is the outer event that starts the whole story, where we begin to set up the problem. Increased tension.

2.  The First Turning Point is a bottom point in the book. New information appears, and things bottom out and where the character begins to recover from the problem.

3.  Dilemma/Conflict sometimes called a Pop moment. Your story has been percolating; then it EXPLODES where the deepening of the problem happens.

4.  The Second Turning Point is the lowest of the lowest point of the book. The character faced with the absolute worst scenario, and they need to get out of it! The resolution of the problem begins to take shape.

4.5 Epiphany Moment (fiction) OMG moment! In a mystery, it's a crisis point. The problem may not be solved; however, there is a new light that sheds on the issue, or understanding comes to them or a change.

5.  Resolution is the part of the story's plot where the main problem is resolved or worked out. It occurs after the falling action and is typically where the story ends.


Once I've completed the W chart, I then place it into a storyboard. You can stretch this out more if you are writing a YA or adult novel.

















The First Draft


"Don't think about the sentences; think about the story. Write the story down"

~James Patterson


So, I can now see my story visually by chapters in the storyboard. It's time to flush out the scenes a bit more. I want to make sure I can see my plot, my characters, and any relevant details; I need the reader to understand to keep them engaged in the story.

I took a writing course from a master at creating bestsellers, James Patterson, through I learned a lot as a writer in his class.

One of the things he says is, "get the story out! Get it down on paper."

James Patterson makes sure that his outline includes the character arcs, the villain, the set-ups, and payoffs. He writes and rewrites his framework until he is happy with it.

This outlining process is an essential step in the writing process. Don't rush this. Here in the outline, you will start to see the melding of your story coming together.

When you outline the chapter, you are sketching a scene. Get that? Each chapter is one scene. Outlining in this way will help you organize your writing so that it's clear to the reader.


The Second Draft

Map out the characters. In this process, I flush out the characters until I feel they are polished. Sometimes my characters are not fully developed in the predraft. I know what kind of story I want to write, but I don't know who they are yet. Every author has a process of how their characters come to them. This is how it seems to flow for me.

  • Make a list of characters in your story. Start with the protagonist (the central figure in the story) and antagonist (the adversary of the story.)

  • Write 20 attributes about your character in a column like their names looks, vocation, how they talk, their style of clothes, how they move, what they want.  


  • Circle three of your favorite traits.

  • Ask yourself if the remaining three traits still make for a compelling character?

  • You can still add other attributes if it lends to your story well.


The Third Draft


The third draft is a great time to review your research on the backstories of your characters, places, events, legends, etc.

I used a Costa Rican Legend and crafted it into a unique feature in Colors of the World: Adventures. The Song of the Rualdo Bird














I created Princess Brea and her Rualdo bird companion, Poas.

Brea, Princess: a dryad of great beauty and magic, ruler of the Island of Palmyra, dressed in a robe of green and blue pearls, stepped forward. A young girl with long blond hair crowned with pastel pearls, suntanned skin, and adventurous features. She has blue and green wings. Companion: Poas, the Rualdo bird.

Poas: A Rualdo bird, companion of Princess Brea. Has blue and green feathers, can change size from small enough to perch on a shoulder. Also, large enough to carry the Princess. Can speak intelligently.


The Fourth Draft

Work out the dialogue for your story. Here you want to pay attention to your dialogue tags.

What's a dialogue tag?

A dialogue tag is a group of words before, after, or in between the actual dialogue itself. For example:


"Did you get my laundry?" asked Molly.


The phrase "asked Molly" is the dialogue tag in the sentence.


You use different punctuation and capitalization, for each placement for the dialogue tags.


Tag Before the Dialogue


Stephanie asked, "Are you coming to my sleepover?"


Tag After the Dialogue


"Are you coming to my sleepover?" Stephanie asked.


Tag in the Middle of the Dialogue


"The flashlights," she explained, "are bright enough to light our path through the forest."



Commit yourself to at least two hours a day of writing to maintain consistency and synchronicity in your writing.

I write anywhere from six to eight hours a day. I take weekends off, which allows me to set my writing aside and come back to it with fresh eyes on Monday.

I leave the weekend for me to run errands, visit with my friends and family, church, and rest.

Let me know how this goes for you. Or even better, connect with me how you approach writing your novels. I'd love to hear!



You may enjoy reading further:

Seven Steps to Generate A Good Story and Connect With Your Audience


How to set up and optimize your book cover

Exercise The Writer's Block Out

Do You Know Where You're Going

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