If you wanna be a writer you gotta be a reader. We likely all agree on that. But what kind of reader? It’s fun when a novel totally engages us. We get lost in it. It becomes, as John Champlin Gardner described, a “vivid and continuous and dream.’ We float along on the story. Let […]Read article
Category: beginning a novel
Tolkien, Kerouac, and You
I wrote a full draft of my my most successful novel in three weeks. However, every novel is its own puzzle to solve, and it’s usually a mistake to hark back to the previous book (in this case, Memory Boy) when writing a new one. There are two very general approaches to writing a novel: […]Read article
Another Good Question About Your Novel
I often get letters from former writing students, or friends of friends who are working on a novel, or complete strangers who have read one of my books and are working on one of their own. Usually they have a central question about their writing project that they’re hung up on. I try to say […]Read article
A Question About Your Novel?
Why? For what reason are you writing it? The subject is no small matter. Freud maintained that we do things for one or more of five reasons: “honor, power, fame, riches, and the love of women.” (Let’s just say ‘love’.) None of these reasons are necessarily wrong-headed, but there are better ones. How about joy? […]Read article
Good Idea for a Novel?
A quote from Orson Scott Card: “Everybody walks past a thousand stories every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any.” Exaggerations aside, you can see what he’s saying, and there’s lots of truth to it. It’s writers who, as Flannery O’Connor said,”look twice […]Read article
Approaches to Writing Your Novel
My most successful novel for young adults is Memory Boy, a draft of which I wrote in three weeks. That should have told me something. However, as a novelist I’m a slow learner; or more precisely, each novel is its own puzzle to solve, and it’s usually a mistake to hark back to the previous […]Read article