Tuesday, 18 October 2011

How to Write a Novel

The thing friends and family inevitably ask me, at some point or the other, is 'how does it work? How do you write a book?' So here it is. In a nutshell. How to write a novel.

The Ten Step Plan

1. Get hold of an idea. Or a character. Or a concept. Something that interests you enough that you want to talk about it. If you want to talk about it, you'll probably want to write about it. Beg. Borrow. Pilfer. Buy one at a shop if you have to. Just make sure you get your hands on one.

2. Write about your idea. Make it Something New and Original and Different.

3. Burst into tears and throw it away because you don't like it anymore.

4. Lather, rinse and repeat Steps 1-3 many times.

5. Start over a variable amount of time later with a) a Fresh Take on the Old Idea, or b) a Brand Spanking New Idea. Now it's special, folks. Now you're in business. (At least, you tell yourself so, to avoid going back to the agony, heartache, blood, sweat and melodrama of Step 4).

6. Write six chapters and give up. It sucks, quite frankly. Stinks. Smells like poo. You're not a writer. You can barely spell. Give up the dream. Become an accountant instead. Or Wesley Snipes's stuntman. (Assuming Wesley Snipes still has a career after all that tax stuff. He should have been an accountant.) This creativity lark's not for you.

7. The Idea nibbles at you. It's probably stewing with malaria. Swat it away. You're not a writer, remember?

8. The Idea nibbles some more. It gives you sleepless nights. It breaks you out in a cold sweat on a hot day. It consumes your thoughts. Your dreams. Your soul. You bite your fingernails to the quick. You get tested for malaria. For various personality disorders. You take strong medication, otherwise known as wine. Nothing works. YOU HAVE TO WRITE AGAIN.

9. So you do. Doesn't help you sleep any better, though.

10. Finish the book. Sleep for a week. Wake up. Carefully count your new grey hairs and dye them before anyone notices. Shed many tears over the fact that you now have crows' feet and your bottom is twice its original size from all that Sitting at the Computer.

Then stop sobbing long enough to realize you finished the book. Suddenly your bottom is no longer a concern. Possibly because you've fainted and concern is therefore beyond you now, but whatever. YOU WROTE A BOOK.

See? Easy peasy.


  1. Easy peasy is right! Thanks for the morning laugh... now I'm going to count my gray hairs. :)

  2. I really needed that this morning. And it's great advice just in time for NaNoWriMo. Numbers seven and eight are what remind me that no matter how much I try to convince myself otherwise, I am now apparently a writer. ;)

  3. Funny post. I've actually considered becoming an accountant.

  4. "You can barely spell." Funny! Is it all right if I just throw things instead of crying? Not very manly.

  5. Haha, this post is awesome and VERY true.

  6. LOL! I seem to repeat #3 and #6 way too often. Glad to know that tears and yelling are not just my recipe for book writing. :)
    Edge of Your Seat Romance

  7. You are hilarious!! Oh, this is so true to life :)

  8. This is so true and very funny. It's good that we can laugh at ourselves!

  9. Oh yes, so easy peasy. :P Great post, it made me laugh. :)

  10. Goodness, this must be easier than I thought. I think I'll just whip one up tomorrow :)

  11. BTW, I loved this so much I posted it in my blog today. Thanks again for the laugh!