If you have the intention to write a light novel but don’t know where to start from, then this article is for you. Light novels are unique novels that you write for a specific category of people (young adults).
It’s easy to mistake light novels for short stories, but their similarities only end with word count. Due to its cultural origin, it’s not easy to write a light novel in English.
You’ll need some knowledge about light novels and their audience before you can write one successfully. Also, expand your creativity and imagination.
This post focuses on explaining all you need to know about a light novel to deliver a great story. So, sit back and read.
Table of Contents
What Is A Light Novel?
A light novel is a young adult novel that has a Japanese origin. Its name is not because of its length, but its ease of reading and fun. A series of a light novel can be about 50,000 words. But it’s more of a novella because each story is mostly around 300 words.
Sometimes, light novels contain illustrations, which are usually a basis for anime and manga. The images also form a basis for some video games or movies. And they can be added to some magazines. Most writers are Japanese, with few exceptions.
Furthermore, you can write them in genres such as thriller, mystery, and suspense.
Some examples of light novels include Monogatari by NisioIsin, Spice & Wolf by Isuna Hasekura, and Classroom of the Elite by Syougo Kinugasa.
Characteristics Of A Light Novel
- Light novels have images in manga styles, both on the covers and sometimes within the pages. However, they use fewer images. The illustrations are mainly for introducing a new character or place.
- It incorporates the use of poetic devices.
- The audiences are teenagers and young adults. That includes high school and middle school students. So the novel uses expressions that are popular among young adults.
- The stories can be in few words, which makes them short and easy to read. But their length depends on the author.
- It’s written in series or volumes, which can be as little as 2, and as much as 30 or more.
- It’s mainly fictitious, but some have a blend of fact and fiction.
Steps To Writing A Light Novel
Follow these steps to write your light novel.
Step#1: Read a ton of other people’s work
If you want to write a light novel, first you have to read other works. You have to read and analyze other light novels to understand how to write them. When reading other light novels, check out how they introduce their characters, shape the dialogues and create their plots.
Light novels contain lots of dialogue, so look at the character quotes. It’ll help you understand how to write character’s quotes. You’ll find that usually, the dialogues don’t indicate who said them. So, it’s best to write your dialogues with some descriptions. So, your audience can follow them easily.
If you intend to reach an international audience, consider expanding the novels you analyze. The more novels you read and analyze, the better your ability to write your light novel.
Step#2: Create a unique plan
Now that you’ve read and analyzed other works, start to plan your light novel. Write down your ideas. You can start by writing down questions the novel will answer. For example, What if a person was born to rule but lives as a pauper?
Write out your characters, and determine the main character (s). Don’t forget your plot, theme, and setting.
It’s best to set a schedule when you write your novel. Write when you’re not busy with other things. That’ll help you concentrate and write from your heart. Give yourself a break whenever you experience writer’s block. That way, you can gather your thoughts and ideas.
Choose the point of view to tell your story. You can consider first, second, third-person limited, or third-person omniscient. Also, you can use multiple points of view.
Be flexible and have fun writing your character and shaping out your light novel. You may choose to add a mix of other genres into your story.
Step#3: Use cliffhangers
You can improve readership if you keep your audience wanting more. That’s why you use cliffhangers. Conclude each chapter or volume with cliffhangers. They are story endings that leave an unresolved conflict and create suspense. That way, they give your audience a great reading experience.
Furthermore, cliffhangers will make your audience eager to know what happens next. Also, they make your novel less predictable. Predictability often makes readers not finish a book.
Step#4: Write a draft
Pour your heart out in writing your light novel. Don’t worry about grammar errors at this stage, because you’ll have lots of them. Ensure you draft out the chapters of your light novel.
Make sure you note the major events in your light novel to ensure consistency in your work. Avoid plot holes, and don’t miss any details. You don’t want to confuse your audience, so keep it simple and detailed.
Also, always go over your previous chapter to ensure you don’t miss any detail when writing the next ones.
A draft will help you structure your ideas quickly.
Step#5: Edit the draft
Know that you’ll need to edit your draft several times. The aim is to get the correct tone and arrangement for your novel. It’s best to save your final draft on a computer, even if you’re writing in a notebook. Then, proofread your work.
Step#6: Put your images together
When you edit your draft, be sure to get your images ready. You can do it yourself, or ask a friend that can draw. You can also pay an artist to do that for you. The images should illustrate the scene properly.
Then add the images to your final draft. Ensure you match the images to the scenes correctly. You can choose to write your light novel without illustrations. But they can be crucial in helping your audience understand your novel. Also, adding visuals to your story can make it more appealing.
Step#7: Review your manuscript
Take a break before you review your manuscript to help you spot any errors or inconsistencies. Also, you can ask your friends to go through your novel. They might find something you’ll need to correct or improve.
Ensure your novel is something you can buy if you’re a reader. You can also pay a professional to help you revise and edit your light novel.
Step#8: Publish your light novel
Once you complete and review your manuscript, all that’s left is to publish it. You can choose to publish it yourself through a self-publishing site. Advertise online and find a retailer that can market and sell hard copies of your light novel. Also, introduce it to your family and friends.
However, you can send it to several publishing houses if you can handle the legal paperwork. When you successfully secure a contract, you won’t need to worry about marketing your novel.
What Makes A Good Light Novel?
Meta-narrative: It involves writing the mental comments of your narrator. It lets your audience see what’s in the mind of your protagonist. To achieve a good meta-narrative, write in the first person.
Write as though you are the characters, putting yourself in their shoes and write their mental responses to the events. Put their expression and thoughts in words. However, you have to maintain consistency throughout the novel.
Continuity: A good light novel should show continuity. Ensure that there’s a connection between each chapter of the novel. Continuity ensures that you’re able to write more volumes of the book smoothly. It’s also what creates consistency.
Let every event and information in your novel flow smoothly. It should connect to the next idea with ease.
Descriptions that follow dialogues: Even though a light novel consists of dialogues, it doesn’t mean that’s all there is. Add some descriptions before or after some of the dialogues to make them easier to understand.
Clear sentences: Your novel should have clear sentences. Avoid repetitions and ambiguous words or phrases. Your sentences can vary, but they should be mainly short. Also, always express your ideas in simple and precise words or phrases.
Write in active verbs, as they make it easier for your audience to read than passive verbs.
Use imagination: When writing, make use of your imagination. There may be some general methods of writing a light novel, but it shouldn’t limit your creativity and flexibility. Use styles that will help you express your ideas. Let the story trigger your readers’ imaginations.
Avoid clichés: It’s best to avoid clichés when writing. Some expressions are already overused, so write with your expressions. Let them be unique to ensure your work stands out.
Light novels are of Japanese origin, but authors usually write or translate them into English. Unlike most novel categories, they have a limited demographic group which is young adults. So writing a light novel can be a bit tricky.
However, it’s easy to write once you learn the basics. So, before you put together your light novel, ensure you read related works to broaden your horizon. Then gather your ideas and thoughts to put together the draft. That way, you can publish your novel once you edit and review it.
Finally, you’ll need to make your light novel stand out. That’s why you must strive to be creative while you write.