How to Write a Successful novelWriting a successful novel
Writing a bestseller
Now and then I come across great advices for the trainee author. The Big Thrill (the in-house publication of International Thriller Writers) recently featured a beautiful piece about "How to raise the flabby center of a story". Then there' s Eden Sharp's The Thriller Formula, her step-by-step author's self-help guide, which is based on both classical and film.
Simply ask a "New York Times No. 1 Bestseller" novelist how it works. In favor of the happy Child-virgins, who have not yet finished the first movement of his first novel ("I was arranged in Eno's Diner"), Children, a native of Coventry, is the creator of the world's giant Jack Reacher serial with an ex-armmy MP drifting rigilante.
The kid shrugged helpful at the side of the curtains and unveiled everything. He has now finished 20 books, with another one on the way. "Her major issue will be unintentional inhalation," he said as I sat down to sit and watch him writing as he looked over his shoulders and sat on a psychoanalyst's sofa a few feet behind him.
It was a strange experience, I think, a "howdunnit", although he said he wanted to do it all again, possibly at the age of 50. Kid likened launching a new product to dropping off a precipice. Childs call this method his patent "unsuspecting" method. In fairness, not all successfull authors work like that.
For one ( "In his case, Ian Rankin relies on traditional communications instead of burgling into his home and stare at him intensively for a long time), he goes through three or four designs before he is lucky - and also takes several pages of notations. Yet Rankin's Rebus range in Edinburgh has created as many best-sellers as Children.
The kid never despises other authors. However, he rejects a certain literary stance, a self-confident mindset, which he sums up as follows: "And here we come to the mystery, the magical drink, which, if it could be bottled, would be valuable in the world of books. When you want to be a novelist, the mystery is don't be a novelist.
That is why both Childs and Rankins talk with such awe of the storytelling "voice". One of the most important things about Homer is that he is a great author. The winning author is a review of a huge, longstanding, verbal traditio... If you seriously want to be a novelist, think like a scholar. Kind recently told me about this in reference to his novel "Gone Tomorrow", which plays in New York and is now often used to instruct students in the field of creativity at school.
That' s why I'm just now beginning a novel about an eponymous man who rushes into the home of a famous author and robs himself of all his best notions. Talking to Andy Martin is part of the Cambridge Literary Festival on April 14.