Thursday, February 10, 2011

How to Write a Novel

I'm reposting this from Novel Matters. I was having a week of doubt and wonder. So I made a list to ensure I had, in fact, done due diligence and followed all the steps it takes to write a novel. Helped immensely. Hope it does you, too.

Step 1:

Please choose one of the following options:
a) Give birth multiple times. (You may also choose to give birth to multiples. Triplets work well)
b) Have all of your body hair waxed off in one afternoon. (It is preferable that you have this preformed by a person who does not speak your language) Repeat weekly for one year.
(This step ensures you have vast experience with pain, AND attempting to reason with characters who are indifferent to your needs.)
Step 2:
Commit acts of Random Bizarre Behavior (RBBs) in public places. Record people’s reactions to your behavior in a purple notebook.
Examples of possible RBBs:
- Enter a crowded elevator and begin singing The Battle Hymn of the Republic at the top of your lungs. Be sure to flail your arms around, especially during the chorus. Interrupt yourself often by asking others in the elevator to give you more room.

- Enter a busy shopping mall. Shake hands with everyone you see and thank them for their excellent customer service.
- Approach a female stranger. Address this stranger as “Aunt Bea”. Demand to see pictures of the new baby.
- If you are approached by a police officer: calmly and patiently explain that you voted for ‘the other guy’. If this fails, claim you are Canadian and don’t know better (this only works if you are in the US).
(This step exposes you to the full range of natural, spontaneous human reactions and emotions needed to create believable characters.)
Step 3:
Invent a perpetual motion machine. Give it a catchy name. Then, hide it in a closet for at least one year. After the appropriate amount of time has past, take the machine out of the closet, tinker with it until it moves at double the speed.
(This step ensures you are able to do the impossible – at least twice.)
Step 4:
Knock on a stranger’s door. Tell the stranger you are the love child they gave up for adoption. Mention you are unemployed. Repeat this several times until you are numb to all rejection.
(This step ensures – well, you know what it ensures.)
Step 5:
Take all of these experiences and divide them into chapters. Give it a plot and a catchy name. If possible, include vampires.

It’s possible to be on more than one step at the same time. So, which step are you on? Do share!
I bid you good writing.


Paula Wiseman said...

Hilarious! However, I should have read it later in the day so as not to risk waking the children by laughing out loud. So needed, too. It's been one of "those" weeks.
Many thanks for the post!

Sharon A. Lavy said...

Well, I am on step 1 a.

However I would love to observe you going through the other steps. (Just to make sure I get it right, you know!)

Nikole Hahn said...

"Commit acts of Random Bizarre Behavior (RBBs) in public places. Record people’s reactions to your behavior in a purple notebook."

Purple? Does it have to be purple?

Actually, my husband and I once met in sears from different directions. Our conversation went something like this within earshot of other people:

"Hi, what did you tell your wife?" I ask.

"I gave her the same old excuse." My husband replies.

Our conversation continues down the row talking about how much we love each other and how our spouses haven't caught on yet.

We got some looks. LOL. It was fun. I've got to do that again.