According to novelist Lawrence Block, the novel is the place to start. Block argues that:
- The market for short fiction is gone
- A reasonably prolific novelist can earn a decent living.
- Skill is less at a premium. Novelists have to be good storytellers. Being a good writer is less of a premium.
- The idea is less important. A poet has sixteen lines to get their idea across, a short story writer has about two thousand words, but the novelist has ninety thousand words. He or she can come at the idea from many angles.
- Try genre fiction — romance, mystery — if you like that genre.
- Don’t begin your novel at the beginning. Start with action. Filter the background in little by little.
- It takes self-discipline to write a novel. Set a goal, a certain number of pages or of words, and try to live up to that goal. Success in life is showing up for work.
- Read all kinds of novels. Read them once for the story, then read them again from the writer’s point of view.
- Write long. It’s easier to cut.
- Rewrite your novel. Then write a synopsis (present tense), then a query letter. Keep sending it out. First novels are hard to market. While waiting to get your first novel published, do #2.
- A novel is not a long short story. A short story is one. A novel is many.
- Fiction is truer than non-fiction. Non-fiction gives us the facts. Fiction gives us the underlying truth.
- What’s the most important rule of novel writing? FINISH IT.
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