Hi, friends. I don’t know if you heard, but I wrote, like, one whole book. So yeah. I’m basically an expert and thought it was high time I broke down how to do it for you peasant, unwriterly folk. See below for a foolproof writing process. Patent pending.
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How Not to Write a Novel
- Decide you want to make a million dollars and realize the easiest way to get there is becoming an author. Because duh writing books is super profitable (ever heard of a little fellow named Harry Potter?
2. Go with the first story idea you ever had. Who cares if there’s no logline, hook, or plot? How hard can it be to string together 70,000ish words?
3. Dream about book signings and brunches with your imaginary editor. Write nothing.
4. Do some research and learn you need an author “platform.” Begin tweeting in earnest. Stalk agents on Twitter. Decide to write about writing on your blog even though you’ve never finished a book because HEY EVERYONE ELSE IS DOING IT. Avoid writing book at all costs.
5. Decide outlining is for people who aren’t TRUE artists (aka: not you). Besides, you know the beginning and the end, how difficult could the middle be?
6. Very, very difficult as it turns out.
8. Repeat step 7
9. Repeat step 7
10. Repeat step 7
11. Delete second half of book with one stroke of the key.
12. Repeat step 7
13. Give up all dreams of being a TRUE artist and outline the dang thing
14. Rewrite second half of book (sprinkle in a healthy dose of step 7 along the way)
15. Re-read draft immediately after typing THE END. Decide it’s brilliant. Query immediately.
16. Repeat step 7. Add red wine and obsessive email refreshing, waiting for the inevitable multiple agent offers because obviously every agent in the biz should be able to see that your novel will change literary history as we know it.
17. Stop. Collaborate. Listen.
18. Start over. Write an actual book with an actual plot and believable characters.
19. Revise aforementioned book until you hate it more than the Grinch hates Christmas.
20. Let it sit for a while and then revise some more.
21. Query in a healthy, realistic manner.
22. HA! Jokes. That’s not a thing. Repeat step 7 for all time and eternity.
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Oh, goodness, if I had gone with my first ever novel idea, I’d have been turned down immediately by every publishing house. Even six years later, I’ve only finished one novel since then – which is equal trash – and I don’t imagine I’ll finish a good enough one for publishing for another six. (Congratulations on finishing writing yours, by the way!)
Kat, it would have been nice if you could have shared this info with me about a year ago when I was in the “I’m a Genius” phase. Seriously, though, good for you for persevering and knowing your writing well enough to know when it’s not working. It’s tough, but it’s worth it.
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