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November is National Novel Writing Month and if you’ve been kicking a novel idea around for a while this is your official invitation to just write it already. If you’ve never written a novel before, though, it can be hard to know where to start.
Online learning site Udemy has tons of courses to help first-time authors write like pros. Best of all, every course on Udemy is on sale for $15 for a limited time only (though they have these sales a lot so don’t sweat if you miss it.)
Whether you’re just starting out or have a full outline ready to go, there’s a course that will help you take your writing to the next level. Here are our favorites that cover the entire writing process, from brainstorming to publishing and everything in between.
Before you start writing, you need to know what word processor you’ll be using. Many writers use Scrivener, which is packed with features that are helpful for novelists, like storyboards and character templates. However, it’s not a very intuitive system, so this course walks you through the most useful tools and tells you which ones you can skip.
If you’re truly starting from scratch, this course is a quick one that teaches strategies for coming up with high-concept story ideas that grab people’s (read: publisher’s) attention. You’ll learn what makes a story high-concept and strategies to brainstorm your own ideas.
Once you have your idea, you need to outline it to know where all the pieces fit together. This course teaches you how to organize your story into “beats” like a movie. This course uses Scrivener, too, so if you’re not familiar you may want to pick up The Essential Scrivener Guide as well. You can find our full post on this course here.
If you’ve got a story outlined already and are using NaNoWriMo to finally pen your first draft, this course teaches you strategies for how to write more productively. You’ll find out how to turn your space into a productivity oasis to ensure that when you sit down to write, you’re getting the most out of your time.
Hopefully by the end of the month you’ll have a first draft of a novel (or be well on your way to getting there.) The next step is pitching it to a publisher. This course gives you insider tips on crafting the perfect elevator pitch, finding an agent to represent you, negotiating a contract, and more.
If you just want a basic overview of everything that goes into writing a novel, this workshop takes you through the whole process step by step. You’ll learn how to plan, write, and sell your novel in during five hours of video content. It’s a great option if you’re a complete beginner and don’t know where to start.
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a total newbie, you’ll find the tools you need to have a fun and productive National Novel Writing Month.
Now get out there and write that novel already. Maybe you’ll even be featured on MashReads one day.
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