Writing is easy. Great writing is hard--especially since great writing has so many layers.You want to write a novel? Just write it. Write?

First you have to know how to tell a good story. I know a lot of people who are terrible writers with great stories. Readers want to be engaged. They want to feel what the characters are feeling. They want to be transported to a different place. It doesn't have to be another planet (it should rarely be another planet) but it should be convincing. This is also very subjective. My great story may not be your great story.

Second, you have to read extensively--especially in the genre you want to represent. I can't stress this enough. Read, write, read, read, write.

Third, you have to understand that less is more. It's not necessary to fill your sentences with as many unique  and obscure adjectives as you can you can find in your thesaurus. Everyone's veins don't need to be cabling fiercely out of their necks. No one needs to traverse any distances. That type of writing doesn't feel honest. I wrote a novel two years ago and recently cut out 10,000 unnecessary words because when all was said and done, they weren't telling the story, they were untelling it.

Which brings me to the fourth item--show don't tell. Writers know what this means. It's our mantra. Essentially it means instead of writing "He stood dejectedly in the doorway, sad to see her go," write something like "He stood in the doorway, shifting from foot to foot. His shoulders dropped as she walked away." Also, don't ever write "dejectedly" into anything.

Fifth, the devil is in the details. They really bring a story to life. Add colors, smells, sounds and textures to your story

Sixth, find some beta readers--at least a dozen. It's really hard to be objective about your own writing. Writers tend to see their work in black or white. It's either the most amazing thing ever written or it's the worst crap they've ever read--depending on the day. Let other people read your work and listen to what they have to say about it. If you get defensive, you won't get usable feedback and your story will suffer.

Seventh, find an editor who isn't you. See above. You can't be objective about your own writing. I'm a tech writer in a critique group with another tech writer a multi-book published author and a freelance writer. After we all edited my novel, my friend who works in the financial services industry found a dozen typos we'd all missed.

By this time you will have cried and sweated over your story. You will have fallen in love with your characters. You'll hate them. You'll have a crush on them. You'll never want to hear their names again. You'll have dreams and nightmares about your story. You may even forget they're fictional sometimes.

This is why writers drink.