Saturday, January 12, 2013
how to write novels (part 2)
This is an exhaustive course.
But we must begin at the point before which you actually start putting words down into your WIF file.
WIF in writerspeak means "While I'm Facebooking."
I will also teach you writerspeak.
I am easily distracted when I conduct a class. Did I ever tell you the story about the lady in the bedazzled cowboy hat who, in the middle of a class I was conducting on Character Driven Fiction (don't even try to figure out what that means in writerspeak--you're not ready), raised her hand and said:
"Will you please stick to the topic?"
I'm not going to say where this happened. But it was in a state that starts with a U.
And rhymes with Pootah.
RULE NUMBER TWO: Be on time for shit.
Which reminds me of something: If your characters are boring as fuck, the car of your novel is probably going to be driven at like 5 mph in the fast lane. This will piss people off, and you will never show up on time for anything if that's the case.
This particular session comes with a .
I am about to give it to you, and all I ask in return is that any time you use this you think kindly of me.
Here it is: If you are the type of person who can't seem to show up on time for appointments, work, or How to Write a Novel classes and you want to be absolutely forgiven for your insensitive lack of punctuality, all you have to do is say this:
"I'm sorry I'm late. I had to poo."
It works every time. As soon as you say that, all these things simultaneously happen:
1. People instantly forget about your lateness.
2. People start thinking about pooing.
3. Nobody wants to deal with having a conversation with anyone else about pooing. Not ever.
So this is what I said to the lady in the bedazzled cowboy hat:
"I'm having a hard time sticking to the subject because I need to poo really bad."
Believe me, admitting to something like that instantly erases peoples' hard drives.
So the lesson for today is this: Every writer is going to run into walls when working on his WIF--those awkward parts where you can't seem to figure out how to propel the action forward into the next sequential block. When that happens, it's always a good idea to write in a short scene that involves one of your major characters making poo.
I have a first edition of For Whom the Bell Tolls. I would take a picture of myself holding it (it's sitting right here on my desk, after all), but I just got out of bed and my hair is a mess.
This novel is from a time when people didn't give a shit about book covers. You can tell. Trust me.
Lamest cover ever.
Nowadays, covers are way more important than the shit inside books.
So, before you even start thinking up names of characters who will drive your fiction, and before you even attempt to put the first words into your WIF file (and assuming that you've gotten your hands on an actual Suicide Prevention Pit Bull, assembled your Drowning Victim outfit for our dress-up day, and secured representation by a top-notch literary agent), you're going to need to come up with a cover design for your novel.
Yes, that's how it's done: the cover comes first. The shit inside doesn't matter at all.
Didn't anyone ever tell you that?
Bet you're happy you showed up on time, huh?
So, for your homework, start working on your covers. We'll talk about them next time.
Also, if you have not yet secured representation from a crackerjack literary agent because you were laboring under the hallucination that you have to have written something first (Oh PLEASE!!!), I have collected a list of agents who will sign on clients who've never written anything.
Literary Agents who will represent clients who have never written anything in their lives.
Too bad Ernest Hemingway was a cat person.
And now, if you'll excuse me, I have to ... you know ...