The best way to write a novel is one word at a time.
I bet you're thinking right about now, ha, ha, very funny. All orneriness aside, if you think about it, this is actually good advice. One of the mistakes I made early on in writing (and since I made this mistake, I'm going to assume others have to) was to get caught up things unrelated to putting words on paper. Or, I should say, I put a lot of words on paper. I wrote tomes of information on my characters, but when it came to writing the story itself, less got accomplished.
This was in part, because busily hammering out plat and details and everything else felt like I was accomplishing something, wasn't actually taking the novel anywhere. Whether you've written for one year or ten, every writer gets stuck in this phase. Part of it, is that story telling, which is an art not often talked about in writing, is not a quantifiable thing. All the rules new writers get, are confusing because most of us can name famous authors who do the exact things we fledglings are told not to do.
Master story tellers know how to tell a story, how to catch a listener or reader and hold their attention. If I were to give a second bit of advice on how to write a novel, it would be this.
Put your darling on the first page. What ever great big reveal you have for chapter twenty, put it on page one. Of course, if you're a seasoned writer, you start to know when to dole out your darlings. I spent eleven years stuck on the same story because I was guilty of thinking that my darling plot turning, cue big music, idea was so great that I could delay giving it to readers. Falling in love of a plot idea... no matter how great you think it is, readers won't feel the same way if you've forced them to sit through 7 chapters of intermission. No writer is that good. Instead, I recommend putting your darlings out there, not only because it's interesting, but it also forces you to get more creative with your ideas.
When you fall in love with one element, you also prevent your imagination from going to a place you probably don't even know it can go.
M.R. Jordan is a writer, editor, sporadic blogger, and lover of beer. Lives in South Korea with her two cats, Bear and Geumbi.
Bear (Gom in Korean) then (above) now (below)
Geumbi (Gold in English)... then (above) and now (below).