I thought I'd lighten the mood a bit with a humor piece I published on my blog instructing you on how to write a novel. Enjoy. :)
i love how-to posts like ones that teach me how to make a blog button, or fashion a pair of crotchless panties from floss and a handkerchief or the best way to punch myself in the teeth. so i figured it’s practically my duty to teach you folks something that i do best: novel writing.
be sure to follow these steps in order to create a 350-400 page albatross you can lovingly wear around your neck:
- go to a coffee shop to write. and make sure everyone knows you’re going to a coffee shop to write. be sure to type “stopping by the coffee shop to add a few pages to my novel” as your twitter and facebook statuses. casually mention you’re in a big hurry and simply must use the five items or less lane at the grocery store because the coffee shop is closing in an hour and you probably don’t even have enough time to flesh out chapter five as it is. and if at all possible, wear a t-shirt that says “i’d rather be writing at the coffee shop.”
- speaking of clothing, you might want to burn everything you own now and start over with a completely new wardrobe. i enjoy wearing a pair of thick framed glasses and donning a knitted scarf. the scarf comes in handy because it not only soaks up summertime sweat but it also says things like “i am more important than you because i’m writing a novel. what are you doing besides raising kids and performing heart surgery?” and “MFA programs be damned, i’ll publish this baby completely uneducated, thankyouverymuch.”
- when you arrive at the coffee shop (and you will arrive at the coffee shop. in fact, you’ll know the route to the coffee shop by heart and will have to set up a security system in your home to keep you from sleep driving there at night) be sure to take out your cell phone and call your deaf grandmother or the operator. be sure to mention the plot device you’re toying with and why aiden’s character development in chapter seven is taking you for a loop. you might be tempted to only pretend you’re talking on the phone but don’t. the phone will most certainly ring if you do.
- cry at random intervals.
- order lattes with triple shots of expresso and when the barista mentions it’s practically illegal to sell something with that much caffeine in it, say “it’s okay. i’m a novelist.”
- stretch every twenty minutes and be sure to swivel your lap top around so that everyone can capture a glimpse of your word document painted in courier new.
- carry a ginormous notebook with a cover page on the outside that reads “blah blah blah: the novel.” fill the notebook with printed addresses, menus of your favorite restaurants, a list of people you’d enjoy beating with a giant stick of salami. be creative here.
- “accidentally” send out an email to a group of five or seventy of your closest friends that captures the correspondence between you and an imaginary agent who just loves your work. send out a follow up email letting your friends know that you’re embarrassed by your little faux pax but are hoping to “share some exciting news real soon.”
- make sacrifices to the gods.
- take up an unseemly habit like drinking or smoking too much (or preferably, both) and quote memorized lines from authors who died from cirrhosis of the liver or depression (or preferably both) when your best friend has broken up with her boyfriend. she’ll appreciate it.
- don’t edit. ever.
but i’m still holding out hope that good things will happen one of these days. in the mean time i’m stocking up on scarves.