Today Christian author D.I. Telbat has graciously agreed to be my guest on Write Brain Activity. Mr. Telbat writes adventure and suspense short stories and novels. His stories can be read in several online and print publications and anthologies. He offers FREE weekly Christian short stories, or serialized novels, as well as his author reflections, occasional book reviews, challenges to the Christian Church, and writing experiences. David Telbat desires to honor the Lord with his life and his writing, therefore, many of his stories are about the rescue of God's persecuted servants worldwide. There is no redemption without sacrifice.
As you know, I enjoyed reading Mr. Telbat’s book Dark Liaison, A Christian Suspense Novel very much. You can see the review I wrote of it here. That book and Dark Hearted, Book Two in the COIL Series, remain in Amazon Top 100 Bestseller list for Religious Mysteries, and are available from many online retailers.
Please visit Telbat's Tablet at http://ditelbat.com.
Five Must-haves before Writing Your Novel
By D.I. Telbat
While speaking to beginning writers recently, I was asked the question: "What should I have in place before writing my novel?" This person was looking for one simple, maybe magical, answer.
Regardless of all that may follow in the publishing arena, I believe there are five things one must have in order before the first word of a book is written.
Plan. Too often, I hear: "I'll just start writing and see where it goes." That might be a good exercise or learning experience, but it's not practical. Whether it's a lengthy chapter outline or a bullet-point list of events (my system), without a plan, there is no direction. Without direction, there is no depth; only half-baked ideas, however original, but nonetheless, disorganized. Sketch out most of the main characters, the major events that will shape those characters, and consider a unique—if not startling—conclusion.
Research. While you may have life experience, researching topics and locations will make or break your novel. I'm constantly digging into the history of a location, whether I've been there or not. The past affects our characters' attitudes.
For example, if I place a Frenchman in Tampa, how does he feel about the Spanish massacre of French colonists in the 1500s? That was something I learned through research, and that research might be meaningless for my character—or it may develop my character's psyche.
Or if I'm writing about jaguar hunting, is my terminology correct? Am I hunting jaguars in San Salvador where there are no jaguar migration paths? Or have I researched my topic fully and know better?
Audience. If you don't know for whom you're writing, you're not writing for anyone. For years, I got away with this by claiming to be my own audience because I wrote only what Iwould read myself. This only works if I, the writer, fit into a well-defined people group.
More recently, I've begun to target a more specific audience, distinguishing one from the rest. I try to write for both genders in that people group, so I picture certain individuals I know within that intended audience. Might this person enjoy my story? If not, I need to redefine my audience or alter my story/plan.
Yacht. Okay, not everyone has a yacht, but it's just an imaginary yacht anyway. ;) My sailboat is a single-mast Bavaria, low and sleek. On this yacht, I do most of my writing on the bow with my paper tablet and a pen in hand (because that's how I write my first drafts).
To me, the yacht represents peace, much like the ark of Noah's day represents peace and rest in Jesus Christ. Anyone can write when he is angry or otherwise troubled, but I prefer to write when my heart is in order with God and my neighbor.
If our lives are in upheaval, that's okay, too. Great material has been produced in the past from chaotic lives. But your writing will find its fullest potential when your heart (and your head) is at peace.
Pray. The first four principles spell out the acronym for this final must-have. Without communicating with God for guidance for any endeavor, we're just working alone and possibly without His blessing. We pray before we consume food; we should pray for guidance before we use our gifts for His purposes.
In conclusion, don't jump headfirst into writing your novel without a plan, some research, knowing your audience, being at peace, and seeking God's guidance. Following these principles is a recipe for finishing your novel and giving readers your very best.