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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

How to Get a Novel Written

Okay. So, as a weblogger, for several years you've paid attention to the emanations of another man in the same activity and with a lot of the same mindset, though with some decided differences in a large number of areas, especially the use of language. Yet, great as these differences are, both of you have admiration for what the other does with words.

Regularly this other weblogger has spoken, painfully, of his difficulties in settling down to writing a novel that obviously has taken a grip on his mind and won't let go.

Meanwhile you have long since discovered that, in your case at least, the difficulty with novels is not at all in the writing but instead is entirely in the selling of them. So, as long as the writing is mainly what his trouble is -- for now -- you finally can't resist dropping the following long comment onto his latest complaint on the matter:

Actually there's a way that makes it quite easy to write a novel, and a long one, too, and in just a few months, without going on a hiatus or anything else of the kind. I know, because I've done it several times.

You have only to tighten up your mind to the vow that every day, no matter what, rain or shine and regardless of any emergency, you WILL write at least three consecutive, complete sentences a day. It should take you hardly any time to write three sentences, in the mornings, during lunch, or any other time THAT day.

What you will find happening is that most times you will find yourself writing much more than three sentences. If you get on a roll you might end up with 10 pages. But in that case you don't get flabby and say that that ought to cover the next few weeks. No, the next day you do the three sentences, and again the following day, etc. It also helps if you break off each day at an interesting point where you can hardly wait to pick it up again. Hemingway recommended that. I forgot where I heard about the Three-Sentence Method. I just know it's a sure thing.

As this guy is not religious about responding to comments on his site unless you stir him up, he is obviously not stirred up, and several days pass. Then, without directing his post at anyone, in the midst of having to go through one of the direst situations possible in a person's personal life, he excitedly speaks of how, suddenly, for the last four days, he has gotten some real work done on his novel, when formerly he could write something down only once every three or four months. And he follows that just yesterday by exclaiming that in that one morning he produced no less than 1,700 words, and he is "hot."

Though you naturally have to wonder how much effect what you said about the "Three-Sentence Method" had on things, you're glad that if it did, he didn't implicate you. You know from many experiences that you don't care to recall that writing can be a surprisingly sensitive subject in so many ways. So, to avoid any appearance of wanting to take credit for anything, you refrain even from dropping onto that post a second comment that would have simply said, in the spirit of congratulations: "It's happening!"

Meanwhile if instead you want to find out "How to Make Popcorn," go here for some out-of-the-ordinary instructions of Sept 26.


Blogger Rook said...


Actually, I did decide to just write whatever comes to mind, without so much as a thought to how good it is.

I have scaled back on my blogging a bit. But what I really cut out was my morning journal. I was spending 40 minutes doing deep, introspective writing that produced absolutely no passion to write my novel.

Anyway, thanks for the advice, it did work. And I appreciate the nod to my popcorn post.

1:51 PM  

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