I’m going to be brutally honest with you: I had no clue about when the humble light novel became such a popular medium. But what I can tell you is that it wasn’t sudden at all. Light novels have been around since the dawn of the internet, possibly even before. One of your favorite manga probably started as a light novel. They have been as ubiquitous in weeb culture as anime itself. And so, it’s no wonder so many people attempt to write their own.
Writing a light novel isn’t rocket science. It’s less detailed work than writing a full-length novel and requires a smaller word count as a result. But it’s because of this ease of accessibility and low commitment that it makes for a wonderful entry place for budding writers in the community. It is bite-sized entertainment. But just because it’s skimping on quantity, doesn’t mean a light novel is low in quality.
Light novels are now taking best-seller spots on polls, even adorning physical shelves outside of Japan. It has become a medium that is very commonly used as the source material for a ton of anime that have come out in recent years. Besides the often-fantastical aspect they take, it’s just the perfect word count to keep yourself busy without feeling like you need to invest all your time into reading it.
But hey, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of hard work involved in creating a light novel. Just like any other form of fiction writing, it takes planning and knowing how to write in the first place, to knock out a coherent story. And remember, you’re strapped for word count here, so it’s even more of a challenge. But how do you get started? Let’s break it down!
Read Up On Light Novels To Get Familiar:
I know this sounds like an obvious thing to do. You wouldn’t want to write a light novel if you didn’t already enjoy them previously. But it helps to do more research into just how varied light novels can get when you plan on writing one.
Diversifying your tastes and seeing just how much potential and flexibility the medium can help narrow down what direction you would like to take. Remember, no one writer is the same, and even their works will be different in style, outline, and everything. So, it helps to read up on a variety of different writers and novels to see what pulls you in, and what doesn’t.
Plan Out Your General Outline And Schedule:
And here comes the most exhaustive bit: Writing things down. Now, it isn’t as simple as picking up a pen and paper, and then jotting down 25,000 words in a brilliant stroke of inspiration. Writing, as rewarding as it feels, can be a bit of a grueling process. And you lose momentum pretty quickly.
This is why an outline ready alongside a schedule is so important. A general outline is the entire narrative prose you will be taking, the very basic plot that you will write your light novel around. Once you have that, you can start writing down your first draft.
But just because you felt inspired at the moment, doesn’t mean you let it consume you and later burn out with nothing more than a rough draft. This is where a schedule comes in. Abiding by a set time frame in which you will do the writing and giving yourself a deadline are the keys to write out a cohesive story. Give yourself some leeway, but make sure to stay vigilant when it comes to completing chapters.
Self-Publishing Is The Best Way To Start:
Congratulations, you have finished your final draft, proofread, and edited everything. And you have a complete light novel in your hands. Now what?
Well, you can try sending your manuscript to different publishing houses to see if anyone is interested in hosting you in their agency. But the chances of that happening for a brand-new light novel from an unknown writer? They are slim. But this is where self-publishing comes in.
There are multiple light novels hosting websites out there that you can publish your work through. Granted, you won’t generate any capital, but it’s a good way to gauge how well your story is doing. And if it’s popular enough, you just might get a call back from one of those publishing houses we talked about before!