There are so many resources out there that it can be confusing to the beginning novelist. Do you make an outline or not? Do you use index cards or a notebook to make notes? What if your novel deviates from it's path? What if the story ends too short? What if it is too long? And even if you have written a novel but have been unable to market it successfully, how can you improve it?
These issues of novel mechanics will be discussed in later posts. In the meantime, the best thing you can do for yourself is to do homework. Oh, no, not homework! There's a good chance that you already know what genre or topic you want to write about. As you read your favorite novels in your genre, take note of each plot and subplot. How does the author draw you in? Take note of the characters. How life-like is each character? As you read, simply pay attention to the structure of the novel and see how you can apply those same principles to your own work.
You've probably heard this before but it is so vital, so important, that it bears repeating. You need to read, read, read. Only by reading all you can, can you get an idea of how to form your own work. Only by reading can you get that extra burst of inspiration you need to motivate you to work on your own project.