Novel Writing AdviceInnovative writing advice
Each new author's first obstacle (except, of course, to write the book) is to get a script on a physical person's desktop instead of on the mudheap (the mudheap is the huge bunch of unwanted scripts that appear in all publishing bureaus and are hardly ever read), and my suggestion has always been to find an operative - how do you find an American?
Or, sign up for Publisher's Weekly or The Bookseller and browse the trading column - or contact the publisher of your choice and ask for a referral. /But make sure you choose the right spy. There' s no point in sendin' literature to an operative who sells only non-fiction. But it' s their damned jobs, and it' s cheaper to get the writers to do it.
It' understood these things, and it is also known which writers are looking for certain titles, and even better, they often have more free to maintain a new author than a publishers could have. Once you have a good work to write, you will have little difficulty in locating an operative, but what is a good work?
Recently the Historical Novel Society asked every editor what he was looking for in a script and got all kinds of nonhelpful answers - "Page Turners" or "Bestseller" or "Originality", which is okay, but what are those things? It is an urgent issue for a first writer who sits at home and writes in the awful emptiness, and I should say immediately that I do not think I can give the answers, but I am hoping to send at least a few signals.
The most dazzling, leafing and inventive script we could create, and it can still be rejected (fortunately for some of us the opposite is also the case). It was an authentic voice," said one, while the other asked about "Drive", which means excitement, and if you are not thrilled with your textbook, it will show.
I don't want to make my job a job, but a pleasure. I' m not talking about books, which I don't know anything about, but about the shop of creating legible tales, and to my mind nobody is compelled to do so. It is because we think it is better than working, and because it is fun, and although producing a first (and second or twentieth) script can be a very difficult job, it must not show up in the final work.
It' really nice to write! Styles seem to be a hurdle for many first-time authors, and the only piece of guidance I can give you is how I've overcome it. However, when I wrote Sharpe's Eagle, I would spend lessons rereading and re-reading the typoscript, and every single case I was desperately bummed, I thought it wasn't good because the styles were so awkward, and so I eventually tried an experiment. Did I?
Later, when I had two or three volumes, I learnt that styles are something that can be used in the later phases of the letter. First and foremost, the most important thing is to make history right. Reapply, and don't be worried about anything but history.
It' history, history, history, history. It' not class, not research, it' s history. As soon as the plot is true, everything else will come. The re-writing falls from a tree trunk, the tough work is to get the history. One time I made a 12,000-word tale for the Daily Mail Christmas special. Took eight a day to write the whole thing right and three lessons to re-write it, and this new version contained a whole new malefact.
However, once the tale was right, the play could stand all kinds of blows, because the tale was powerful enough. urt Vonnegut once gave a great tip. Any good tale, he said, starts with a simple one. If your opening questions are correct, the search for the answers will drive the readers through the work.
Most importantly, it will drive the author through the work. There are disagreements here, but I can only talk for myself, and I seldom know how a script I write will end when I start it, and even if I think I know it, I usually prove myself to be false.
All stories are new, and if they're not told, how do you know the end? They are writing to find out what will be happening, and it is the thrill of this finding that should give a script its aura. Once you have your history, you need to keep it in motion. When I could have my own live again, I would have rewritten the first third of The Winter King to encapsulate the storyline, because when I was writing it, I was too preoccupied with building a universe in which I should have occupied the people.
It becomes instinctual over the years, and it should, but a first novel writer may not have those feelings. There is only one thing to do in this case, something I know many professionals have done when they started, and something that seems rare to recommend.
As I was writing Sharpe's Eagle and had never even finished a script, I started taking three more in two. Where was the campaign in the overall map of the volume? Where' d the author put it? Already I knew what I liked in the textbooks, and I was decided to offer more of it in my textbook, and I knew what I didn't like, and I wanted to use less of it, but the three big slides (unfortunately I dropped them) were my designs.
If you like, I learnt the texture of a bestseller, and then I forced that texture onto what I wrote. You have to give your textbook an originality of sound. Since there is only one of you, but if you are not at risk in the future, you will produce a novel that lies within a recognizable category, and you will greatly increase your chance of succeeding if you take the liberty to read works in the same category.
When you' re worried that the long sequence in your fourth section is far too long, you'll see how other authors have approached similar sequences at a similar state in their work. Many of the first novelists' quizzes are already on their shelves, but you have to excavate them.
I mean that you can never know enough about the selected time frame, and so your whole lifetime becomes a research study in the sixteenth or eighteenth or whatever age you write about, but when it comes to a certain volume, there can really be too much research.
What is the purpose of researching 18th c. production when the volume does not contain furnishings? You do as much research as you like, type the notebook and see where the loopholes are, then go and investigate the loopholes. However, don't let research stop you - some people do nothing but research and never get around to it.
Luckily I met my spy (his first words to me were "it must have been a horrible book"), and I was fortunate to find a publishers who knew that bestsellers escaped are seldom the first novel (some are), but that if she persuaded and moated me through the first four or five, the show could be a hit, and I was fortunate to have a woman who was willing to keep the beast away from the doors as I was writing those first two.
I' m also very happy, twenty years later, when I have the same agents, publishers and girl-- At the end you have to finish the work. One page a page and you've done a year' s work! As many of us have found, it is much better to work.