Putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) is exhilarating, but it’s also scary as hell. It’s an understatement to say that writing my first novel was a steep learning curve. My school days were a distant memory, so when people talked about adverbs and protagonists I thought they had lapsed into another language. But I knew there was a difference between writing and writing something good.
When you know something's not right with your story, it can be difficult to figure out exactly what isn’t working. One technique I found helpful, is to rewrite scenes/chapters from another character’s perspective. This can give you valuable insight into the characters and plot. It may even take you on a different tangent.
These are what I think are the eight key steps to the process of writing a novel.
1. Brainstorm ideas, develop characters and flesh out the plot.
2. Write a story summary.
3. Flesh the summary out, to create a précis.
4. Detail character profiles.
5. Write the first draft.
6. Solve problems, refine and edit.
7. Put it aside, then read a hard copy. Now you can see how the story holds together.
8. Re-edit (be ruthless) and polish until you are pleased that you have a saleable, professionally presented product.