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What is a Novel?
If you’ve ever gotten pulled into a good book that you couldn’t put down, you have most likely fallen victim to a novel.
Novels are by far the most popular type of fiction on the market today. On average, a novel is basically a story that is usually over 40,000 words. Shorter books are often referred to as novellas or novelettes, depending on how long they are.
As with many other works of fiction, a basic novel has a few necessary components. First of all, it has to have a plot. In most instances, authors will typically need to make this plot believable, or at least possible. Second, a novel will also need to have a setting, meaning a time and place that the story is taking place. Some novels may even have several settings. Finally, a novel must have characters. In order to keep readers interested in the story, these characters must be believable. Readers should also be able to relate to the characters as well.
These books often fall into a certain category, or genre, such as drama, romance, science fiction, humor, suspense, and horror. Unlike non-fiction books, which are usually meant for instructing, novels are typically written for entertainment purposes. During the course of a novel, an author tells a story. Good novels will often be able to make a reader feel all sorts of emotions, including happiness, sadness, fear, or anger.
What Does a Novelist Do?
A novelist is a type of writer, or author, who creates long works of fiction. The majority of novelists typically prefer to write books in one genre, but some have written books in several different genres. Many novelists have written books with elements of two or more different genres. These types of novels are often classified as cross-genre novels.
Every great novel, from classics to modern day works, has started with an idea. It is the novelist’s responsibility to come up with this idea. An idea for a great novel can come from just about anywhere. Novelists, however, typically write about what they know, either by witnessing an event or living through it. For example, some speculate that Herman Melville, an American sailor and writer, based his famous novel Moby Dick on a real seemingly invincible albino whale that terrorized ships and sailors during the 19th century.
When asked where he gets his ideas from, famous novelist Stephen King had this to say:
“I get my ideas from everywhere. But what all of my ideas boil down to is seeing maybe one thing, but in a lot of cases it’s seeing two things and having them come together in some new and interesting way, and then adding the question ‘What if?’ ‘What if’ is always the key question.“
Once an idea for a story has been planted in a novelist’s mind, he must then go about the task of writing it. Some novelists prepare a detailed outline before they start writing. These outlines typically include information about the different characters as well as a timeline of the story. Other writers, however, simply “wing it”, so to speak, and write whatever comes to mind.
Typically, a novelist can write his story any time he wishes. In order to finish a story, however, most successful novelists recommend writing every single day. The majority of writers also usually schedule a time to write every day. During the writing process, many novelists try not to worry about minor grammar mistakes or other small details – they just write until the novel is finished. The finished first draft is then usually fixed and polished several times during the editing process.
Editing a finished first draft – or even a second or third draft – typically requires quite a bit of rewriting. Many novelists will usually edit and rewrite their manuscripts several times before producing a final polished copy.
If everything goes well, a novelist will then usually have his story published.
How Does a novelist Get Published?
Having a novel published used to be notoriously difficult. Novelists had to send out their manuscript to different publishers in hopes that one of them would choose to publish it. In many instances, novelists would have to hire agents as well, who acted as middle men between the writers and publishing houses. At times, it could take several months to get a response – if a response was even sent.
Print-on-demand (POD) publishers are very popular, for instance, these types of publishers allow a novelist to upload a completed manuscript, complete with cover art. The POD publisher will then print a book only when someone orders one. When choosing this publishing option, however, a novelist is typically responsible for nearly all of the marketing and promotion of his book.
With today’s modern technology becoming more readily available, many avid readers have turned to digital books, or e-books. Publishing an e-book is typically very easy, and some novelists prefer this method.
What are the Skills and Education Requirements for a Successful Novel Writing Career?
Creativity and storytelling are two of the most important skills that a successful novelist should have. He should be able to come up with fresh and compelling story ideas, as well as realistic characters. Research skills will also come in handy during a novel writing career, since novelists will often have to research certain elements of a story.
In order to bring his stories and characters to life, however, a novelist should also have excellent writing skills. Not only should he have an excellent grasp of grammar and spelling, he should also have an eloquent and creative writing style.
Technically, a novelist does not need to have any sort of formal education. A degree in English or writing, however, will often help a budding novelist develop his skills.
What is the Average Salary of a Novelist?
The majority of novelists agree that those interested in a novel writing career should not pursue this profession simply for the money. It is sometimes very difficult to make money as a novel writer, let alone get published.
Talented and successful novelists, however, are able to make a decent income from royalties. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, salaried authors and writers made an average income of around $65,960 in 2010. Freelance novelists, though, may make more or less than this, depending on their contracts with their publishers and how many of their books sell.