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It should be clearly understood that I am not an avid reader and I accept I may be missing a lot of things about writing. I want to write a thought-provoking and a deep story with interesting characters and I want to I really want to write and tell the story in the most unique way possible.

But, conceptualizing the idea of my story into a full fledged fiction novel has turned out to be a nightmare for me. Every time I review my work, my writing seems so scattered and I find it makes me cringe.

What should I do to write better and where to start?

Any piece of advice will be highly appreciated!

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    I’m voting to close this question because it is very broad at the moment.
    – Nai45
    Apr 22 at 18:59
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    Rewriting. It's fine if stuff sucks, you look at it, say "This sucks," and rewrite it. Your first novel will suck as a draft no matter what you do. No novel is great before editing, re-editing, beta-reading and editing, letting it sit and then (you guessed it) re-re-editing. Once a publisher sees it after all that, they'll say, "Great story, but can you edit this, that, and the other thing?"
    – DWKraus
    Apr 22 at 23:03
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    "Given I am not an avid reader" Become one. Apr 23 at 6:49
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    It's always possible that you are blocked by your own goal "to write and tell the story in the most unique way possible." Why aren't you allowed to just tell the story in the natural way that you yourself speak? Apr 23 at 19:08
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The First Time ALWAYS Sucks:

Rewriting and editing turns amorphous garbage into great literature like diamonds - take a lump of coal, apply pressure for a REALLY long time, and Voilà!

Rewriting. It's fine if stuff sucks, you look at it, say "This sucks," and rewrite it. Some people write a whole novel before editing because it's hard for them to get stuff out. That works. They find that if they edit while writing, they're paralyzed.

Others write a chapter and immediately edit it so they don't waste time following story elements they eventually will take out. That works too. I'm a little in the middle, but the great thing is, until it's published, you can edit EVERYTHING.

This is true of many things. There are original copies of music in the library of congress. Mozart hardly changed a note, but none of us are Mozart. Beethoven edited the crap out of his stuff over and over until it was perfect.

Your first novel will suck as a draft no matter what you do. No novel is great before editing, re-editing, beta-reading and editing, letting it sit and then (you guessed it) re-re-editing. Once a publisher sees it after all that, they'll say, "Great story, but can you edit this, that, and the other thing?"

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I'm here to save your sinking ship from getting drowned.

Ok, here's the thing about why your ship is not able to set sail: You aren't doing research and by research, it means reading. I'm not here to insult you or anything, but in order to learn from your mistake, you need to recognize the structures and literary devices that could patch up the hole under your boat.

Interesting characters mean interesting characteristics. Creating a character bible would be your best chance. Example: Eyes: Jade-green, Personality: Sarcastic and funny, and etcetera.

Then design the setting: Use the questions below to determine some basics of your place.

  • What’s the physical description of the world?

  • What types of people live there? (how do they look, how do they dress, what are their beliefs)

  • What type of language is spoken there?

  • What’s considered normal?

  • What are social classes and how do they engage with each other?

  • What do they believe about wealth, poverty?

  • What type of government do they have?

Then determine your plot outline and resolution. Link to Google Doc.

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    I don't think it is appropriate to show off your Google Doc in an answer. If there is necessary info to this answer in there, simply copy and paste it into your answer.
    – Nai45
    Apr 26 at 18:38
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Start Small.

You have set a goal for yourself that would intimidate even a seasoned writer.
You want to write a thought-provoking, deep, focused (un-scattered) and unique book.
While you're at it, you want to enjoy the writing process, somehow bypassing the life-eating, friendship-threatening, doubt-inspiring nightmare which most writers must endure for sake of their creations.

My suggestion is to scale down your short term goals and build some tools in preparation for your future, larger-scale literary journey.

Instead of writing your book as a single monolithic masterpiece full of wisdom, wit and transformative insight, write a short story using one of your book's characters, a little of your book's setting and a fraction of a shard of its deep thought-provoking theme.

Write 1000 focused words.

These don't have to be publishing quality words but they should fulfill the rest of your requirements. They should be unique and deep. They should contain something worth reading while simultaneously leaving the reader hungry for more. Don't worry about fitting them into your larger book project. This isn't about that daunting work. This is about learning to love your characters, your setting and your subject matter. It is about finding your narrator's voice and that narrator's preferred psychic distance. It is about learning how to walk before entering the marathon.

You are blessed if there is a great novel idea inside you. In finding that treasure, you are well on your way to becoming a writer. But the dream is not the journey. And a truly great story is timeless. It can afford be patient, waiting on you to refine your skills, so that when you finally do attempt to bring it to life, your ability will be equal to the task.

Keep Writing!

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I want to write [a pretty remarkable piece of literature that should impress probably everyone]

I'm not an avid reader

Well, that won't make it easy at all.

Merely reading just for your entertainment, would equip you with:

  • personal experiences: an overflowing collection of fondly remembered moments that you won through reading taking part in those stories
    • this also both demands and reinforces trust in yourself, to take part in these stories, to allow yourself to be touched and moved by them
    • these memories will also become your guide when your task is guiding others through your creation
  • respect and humility towards the craft: appreciation of what can be achieved through literature, and with it, a compass to find your way towards such achievements
  • samples; familiarity with the repertoire of writing: a broad and versatile vocabulary, sense for style, rhythm, narrative, a believable setting, believable characters, authentic dialogue, tension, relief, plot, change, surprises, catharsis — and more
    • (this may seem a lot of elaborate stuff, but via reading, much of this just comes to you, sort of waiting to get used. Of course it will need plenty of refining — and further research too, probably — but you also need the base mass of the material in the first place.)
    • you will find yourself to imitate, to borrow a lot from things you had read: this is normal, I don't even know if it could be avoided entirely. Accordingly, everyone — even mature authors — do that. They just call it homage then :) In any case, just keep yourself from overdoing it.
  • the kind of empathy that enables you to become your own reader, your own reviewer; your successfully constructive critic

You are missing out on at least this much, when you set out to write without having thoroughly dipped yourself in the medium beforehand.

You report to have the ambition, and even a concept.

Now, to catch up with the shortfalls, start enjoying reading — to be able to write something that you would enjoy reading yourself.

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If it really is a nightmare, stop doing it. Why would you torture yourself? If a novel is pain, try a short story.

If you were using hyperbole to try to ask for a way forward then I would suggest you rephrase it in terms that people can use to help you.

I'm not sure what your question is. Are you asking us to write your novel for you? Otherwise, I would strongly suggest writing a first draft. Then worrying about the quality. If you don't like that way of working, write a chapter at a time and then review it.

I can't tell you whether your basic concept is good or bad. If you really want to aim at unique, try reading James Joyce 'Finnegan's Wake' or some of the poetry of e e cummings. If you can do something like they have done, your writing will be unique.

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    You appreciate the irony, I hope, of "If you can do something like they have done, your writing will be unique."
    – DWKraus
    Apr 22 at 23:19

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