Novel Writing (#2)

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.

Other tips:

  • Try genre fiction — romance, mystery — if you like that genre.
  • begin 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 self disciplineof 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.
  • finish stamp What’s the most important rule of novel writing?  FINISH  IT.finish line



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7 responses to “Novel Writing (#2)

  1. Lovely stuff as usual, Ed. Wish someone like you had been around when I was starting my first novel all those years ago. I made very mistake in the book – and more!
    Dragged it out of the bottom drawer last year and spent a year trying to pull it up by the bootstraps. Managed to get 1 of 4 shortlisted for the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival Unpublished MS AWard in 2011, but will be very surprised if I ever find a publisher for it. [Whinge ends here.]
    Hope you have a lovely Christmas & a safe and Happy New Year. Your students are very lucky to have you.

  2. These are wonderful tips Ed. I have never heard of beginning the novel with action like this. Like you say the most important thing is to finish. No matter how hard it maybe especially when halfway through.

  3. Pingback: This Is To New Beginnings « VeehCirra·

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