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How to Write a Novel

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

How to write a novel:

  1. Take a shower. Mull for forty-five minutes over the brilliant idea that’s been occupying your thoughts for the last two weeks. You know, the idea that’s kept you from getting any work done.
  2. Open a blank document. Stare at it until its gaping blankness consumes you.
  3. Check your email. Someone may have sent you an urgent message to which you must respond immediately.
  4. Flesh out your character before she takes up so much space in your head that you go insane. Write her down. It doesn’t have to be coherent; who ever said it had to be coherent? She’s scratching at the door of your brain; she wants out.
  5. Take a deep breath. That’s right, breathe the free air again without a voice shouting into your ear. She’s on paper now.
  6. Make a snack.
  7. Tear up the napkin sitting on your table from when you made a snack. It might not make you feel better, but your hands are bored now, and they need something to do.
  8. Check your email again. Someone may have sent you an urgent message to which you must respond immediately.
  9. Realize you may have fallen in love with your character. Worry about what may happen to her now that she’s writing her life story on your blank document.
  10. Print what you’ve written. Be your own editor.
  11. Tear it up, piece by piece. You don’t have to want to destroy it; your fingers have a mind of their own. They will rip off the corner first, and shred it. They’ll tear another strip, and another, and there’s really nothing you can do to stop them.
  12. Decide the only way to free yourself of loving someone who will literally never be alive is to kill her.
  13. Kill your character.
  14. Panic. You have just committed murder.
  15. Break down. You’re allowed to. You were in love with her; now she’s gone, and it’s your fault.
  16. Take one of those little sleeping pills you keep in the bathroom cabinet.
  17. Sleep.
  18. Open a blank document. You have to put all these pesky thoughts somewhere before they gnaw their way out of your head. Write a heartfelt poem.
  19. In order to quench your all-consuming frustration over the fact that you’re just one step below a nice, even twenty, destroy another napkin.