Sunday 9 October 2011

Novel Writing

Originally a newspaper column in the Daily Telegraph 'A Novel in a Year' then became a book and I have been using it for the past couple of months as a basis for a bit of writing practice for NaNoWriMo.

The book consists of alternating chapters where Louise Doughty introduces an aspect of writing, from creative prompts, to character development, to metaphors, and so on, then she gives the reader a writing task and then in the following chapter she recaps on the responses to the task given by participants on the website. Sometimes this was interesting but to be honest a lot of the time I would rather have been able to read more of the contributions than the little edited snippets that she gave, with too much of her saying 'this one was interesting' and other people did this or that. More real examples would have been more helpful. I confess I wasn't really giving it that much of my attention and I'm sure if you devoted yourself to the book as a project it would be very helpful. There were lots of interesting and useful bits of advice on the subject of writing from Doughty herself and other authors, and she didn't in any way try to make it seem like a walk in the park. There is no getting around the fact that it is hard work to write stuff and invariably what you end up with will be utter rubbish.

I keep thinking to myself that 1700 words a day is not very much, though of much of the time I will be doing my day job as well. Of course making stuff up is a whole different kettle of fish from writing blog posts, and even they can take several hours to cobble together. I am really feeling like I can use all the advice that's out there when tackling such an adventurous project. So, a useful little book, though you still need your 1% inspiration before the real work starts.


  1. 1700 words a day?!?!?! Yikes! I manage erm.. 10! LOL!

    For me it's the 99% that I find totally hideous and soul destroying!! Inspiration is everywhere!! That for me is the fun bit! Take care

  2. 1700 words a day is a lot for me. But I try not to count words. I'm into quality, not quantity. Over the course of several decades I've learned not to ever "rush it."

    One of my favorite writers is Tom Robbins. He takes between 5 and 7 years to complete a novel. He has been known to spend an entire day on just one paragraph. That's way too slow for me but it helps remind me to slow down and make it as wonderful as I can.

    Thanks, Martine, for sharing. I enjoyed your post.

    Resources For Writers


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