How To Write A Novel

How To Write A Novel

Write every day; same time, same place. Read every day. You have two pedals; writing and reading. When one stops working, use the other. Journal your writing process; learn to cheer yourself up. Don't binge write. Think: what does she or he want? Ask of every sentence - has it been said this way before? Finish the novel to know how it begins.

The Mystery

May 20, 2018

There is one reason I write.

There is a reason I write and will always write until they take the pencil away from me. The mystery.

The mystery of what’s going to happen on the page.

The mystery of what’s happening off the page.

Things occur to you differently. You see like a child, you're suddenly shocked at things you didn't see a certain way before and you're seeing them differently because of your emotional attachment to the theme of your book which was not the one you chose. You had an idea and a theme and you began to write, but then something mysterious happened. A wolf whistle in the dark. You were called away from your plodder's work to see behind a wall. You went. That's the main thing, you went.

I never expected the book I am writing to take the turn it has taken. I am now at 25,000 words and have had to regroup and revise the first part to take the beautiful blow of a change of theme and reassess where I've been and where I'm going with the...

Read on...

The Lie

May 13, 2018

'Why haven't you done anything with the book you wrote last year?' My son asked me.

'Because it's not important. I needed to write it but the world doesn't need it.'

'I would read it.'

'You can't because it's not published. I'm not publishing it.'

This is the nub of the matter for a writer; importance.  I know it's hard to confess it. But it's true.

It's only a sense of its 'importance' that will drive you all the way to the end to publishing that book. Or it is with me.

I have wrestled with myself to pinpoint the importance of the book I am writing. At first I began wanting it to be adorable, then I knew it had to also be important but I was only half sure why. After all, why should my time on this earth, my experience, my opinions lead me to any discoveries or convictions or ideas of any importance to others?

I had a premise and a plan for the book, and was armed with materials and ideas thanks to the studies of the Classic course which would stand a chance of the work...

Read on...

The Diary of a Ninety Day Novelist.

May 06, 2018

So, as the Miss Jean Brodie of my creme de creme of writers, I am going ahead of my tribe, or the Kritikme Krew as they are known, and beginning to write my novel in ninety days, having completed planning it using the Classic course. When you're creating a second world - either historical, Sci-Fi or fantasy adventure, you need to work out your system and its logic and language before you begin and there are some rules to these novels which we cover in the course. Break one, because you mean to, not by accident, and don't break more than one!

The planning method I teach in the Classic course is similar to my second book of historical fiction 'This Human Season' and the story is quite thought out but most importantly I have my premise or hook sorted enough to begin writing. 

I thought I would share some highlights - and lowlights - from my working journal so that other writers might see it's never the right time, and it's always work, but where there's a will there's a way. A...

Read on...

The Moral of the Tale

Apr 28, 2018

The Two Points of the Hook.

Here then my beloved writers is your last lesson in creating the simple sentence 'HOOK' or logline for your book which will guide first your writing, then hook the agent, publisher and reader.

Do read the other lessons by simply searching 'hook' on this blog page first....Because this will seem terrifically simple. A hook has two points. A book proceeds between two points - 'Once upon a time' - or 'What if '- to 'The End.'

The tension between the two is the reader's curiosity, piqued as we have seen by the irony springloaded into your story.

Simply put it's like this - a tale of any kind told to humans by humans is and has ever been a morality tale.

'There was a man who... ' This person has a flaw, a failing, either moral (a tendency that will bring them and others misery) or cosmic (a hole in his or her fortune). They can't see it. Well, I can't see mine, but Robbie Burns was right to bemoan the fact that we cannot see ourselves as others see us. It...

Read on...

The Fable

Apr 22, 2018

"Alas,” said the mouse, “the whole world is growing smaller every day. At the beginning it was so big that I was afraid, I kept running and running, and I was glad when I saw walls far away to the right and left, but these long walls have narrowed so quickly that I am in the last chamber already, and there in the corner stands the trap that I must run into.”

“You only need to change your direction,” said the cat, and ate it up.

Franz Kafka: “A Little Fable”

 Oh do not say novella, say fable if you can.

As you read in the last blog, Coelho wrote his 45,00 word 'The Alchemist' in two weeks, as it was 'written in his soul.' It is 'a fable about following your dream.'

As those taking the new Classic course have been discovering, what you write can come true. In the very first chapters of 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone' JR Rowling declares that Harry Potter will become famous worldwide.

In this way, the book is a spell. Of course...

Read on...

Project #Mayfly.

Apr 20, 2018

 Announcing Project #Mayfly.

 It's a month since I completed writing 'The Classic' and writers started taking the 45 lessons.
After schooling myself in the ways of the all-time classics, it took four weeks to get my premise - hook etc - finally sorted while I read and made notes and began sketching out material and planning the book using our Kritikme Five F's.
I am only now finishing up the reading and notes I need. I think I may finish this weekend.
I have one significant trip I need to make to check out detail for the book. It's six hours there and six back so will require some middle of the night magic so as not to inconvenience my older teens.
Then it's a wrap. I'm ready to write and in the next blog post you will learn more about what I'm going to write. Ninety days will crack it.
Official starting date May 14th. I will try to keep schtum until then as I am starting at the beginning of our seasonal...
Read on...

How Do you Know You're Ready To Write It?

Apr 15, 2018

Do you know, I think I am ready to write this book.

Gosh, it's taken ages to get it straight and to make it simple.

(“I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” Mark Twain.)

Here are the three things you need to have short and sweet before you start;
  1. The hook - spring-loaded with irony. See this blog post here for advice.
  2. The 'system' or philosophy of the secondary world (if you're writing in the Classic genre - ie crossover children's / adult, fantasy, Sci-Fi, YA or historical) - what makes it different, special, consoling, magical, what it's residents know or believe in a simple phrase of ideology ie:

“Always eyes watching you and the voice enveloping you. Asleep or awake, indoors or out of doors, in the bath or bed - no escape. Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimetres in your skull.”  1984, George Orwell.

Here, you must include the force of good pitted against the force of evil...

Read on...

Where the writers shop.

Apr 14, 2018

I write stuff. I buy stuff. Yes, I do.

It's time to come out of the closet. I write, I am an author, and I also like nice things.

I know I should abjure all fripperies in favour of sackcloth and the ashes of the latest manuscript, and 80 days out of 100 I do, but then you see when I come up for air, I fancy a handbag. 

And when I am preparing to write a novel, I don't think twice about buying a beautiful new notebook, a heavyweight fountain pan, a scented candle and other items for the altar of my writing desk. I keep the bag, and maybe the wallet, close by to look at them to remind me of what will happen when I come into my kingdom, when my books are back on the bookshelves and I'm having mild panic attacks on radio stations. Then, when that day comes, I will look like I'm smart, I say to myself. I'm ready!

It's a material and a spiritual practice, getting set to write a book. A bit of preparation and comfort-shopping before a pilgrimage to the within. You have a map and...

Read on...

The Plot-Free Novel

Apr 13, 2018

Of course, there are no 'rules' to writing novel; one must follow one's heart. But we don't.

We tell ourselves we can't write more than we tell ourselves we can. Working alone in a dusty garret with a sulking cat telling yourself that you've lost the plot is not the way to produce the material you need for a novel.

The support and good cheer of productive writers writing alongside you is, it turns out, a critical success factor. And while there are no 'rules' there is a method that works and it's a method most working authors use but rarely confess. It's one of the secrets behind our the success of the Kritikme novel writing course, and it's what makes us unique. 

Anyone with a yen to write a book can write a novel with Kritikme so long as they read books. (We cannot help people who do not read fiction.) Week in, week out since I launched Kritikme,  writers are slamming down manuscripts on kitchen tables.

Our success rate has roasted a few old chestnuts, and...

Read on...
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