Thursday, 20 May 2010

How Not To Write A Novel

[Here's the link to my *top ten Amazon best-seller* book (grab a copy for just £2.99!):]

I recently read a book called, 'How Not To Write A Novel' by Sandra Newman and Howard Mittelmark. It is a jocular jaunt into the fundamentals of writing a worst-seller, a useless yarn, a stinking story (can’t remember if they mention over-use of alliteration). It proved both helpful and hilarious, but potentially heart-sinking too for the would-be novelist. They take perverse delight in concocting passages of the kind they have to read, to exemplify their warnings.

Though it feels a tad superior and verges on malicious, I would recommend this book to, well, anyone really, but specifically those engaged in the unholy endeavour of writing a novel.

However, I would welcome comments on a point made in the book. My mother always said, “Nothing’s ever totally wrong or totally right. Never follow anything blindly. Always question.” Which is handy — I can blame her for this show of self-defence.

The fact that the book is subtitled, 200 Mistakes To Avoid At All Costs If You Ever Want To Get Published is a hint that religiously following its suggestions might be a tall order. In my novel or whatever it is, the protagonist describes a dream, but the book ‘says’ (cf ‘Mr Del Monte, he say…’), ‘A good approach is to allow one dream per novel. Then, in the final revision, go back and get rid of that, too.’ (Don’t agree with that last comma, by the way!) Hmmm. What do you think? I did actually go back and change the dream into a day-dream, but I’m not sure. My mother’s words still incite head-scratching over it.

Examples of good books with dreams in them, please, anyone?

[Here's the link to my *top ten Amazon best-seller* book (grab a copy for just £2.99!):]

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