Editing and copy editing
How to Write a Novel
How to Write a Novel the Right Way—Why Not Write a Novel?
Would you like to write a novel? Why haven’t you written one already? Do you need a Novel Writing Machine? Ask the best novel writers you know how they wrote a novel. Chances are, they didn’t buy a novel writing machine. They ARE Novel Writing Machines!
I had a client who wanted me to edit her book series. She was annoyed that I didn’t change anything to make it sell better. I found words she used improperly, wander instead of wonder, statue instead of statue, and I tried to fix the sentences to be grammatically correct, but as far as the actual writing was concerned, I liked her friendly style, and I wanted to find out what happened to her characters in the end. I liked what she wrote and how she wrote it. She wanted me to fix her work.
I can’t fix someone’s work. I cannot fix someone’s work. There, no contraction. Fixed. But do people use contractions? Of course, obviously, because it has a name, contraction. People speak in contractions, so of course real characters use contractions. What is a real character? It is a made up person that is real to someone who wrote it. Historical figures in historical fiction generally say stuff the real characters said, but they also say stuff the author of the fiction work want them to say. Are they real? Who is real? Is Harry Potter real? I’m sure someone men named Harry Potter are sick of that darn book, but J.K. Rowling is my favorite author. She is not my favorite, though, because Harry Potter is my favorite character, but because she went from being a welfare mother to the richest woman in Scotland in 3 years. I don’t care what she wrote about; I just want to be rich, and I think you want to be rich, too, so rich you can write about anything you want. Well, what is stopping you from writing right now? Are you reading this right now? Are you writing right now? You want me to tell you how to write your novel? What’s it about? Who’s in it? What do they do? How do they do it? Why do they do what they do? Okay, now write it down. Write down the novel that’s in your head.
I can’t read minds anymore. They took away my license for that. Mind Reading is a federally documented disability. It drives people crazy when they have too many voices in their head. No, that’s a regular disability, what is that? If you have that, I apologize. I’m not making fun of you. I’m being totally serious. Anyway, so, no, I can’t read your mind. You have to write something. I can ask you questions about your life and help you write an autobiography, and I can outline a presentation you want to write. I can even document what you put in a sound recording. But what do you want to get out of your head?
Writing may be a talent, but it is a skill, a skill that not only be taught, it has to be learned, but I can’t make you write what you want to write. You can handwrite something, and you can pretend it is yours, but even if you steal something, who have you stolen from? That’s a choice. I had a student who turned in an essay I found on the internet on an essay writing site. He apologized and said the person who wrote it for him should have used an original essay. I am not kidding. The email is in storage somewhere in a folder marked Student. I think as a business major, he had thought, “How dare that person sell me a copied essay! I shall speak to him at once!” He is most likely going to get kicked out of college and use that example in a book he will have ghostwritten called “My Rise to the Top” once he has made his second billion dollars. He did not waste time writing an essay, no, he was thinking ahead, when he could hire a Business English major or even MBA to write down documents for him. As a teacher, I laugh about this all the time. As a writer, I have seen ads for essay writing companies and how much they pay, and I read a Reader’s Digest article about how people pay this man to write for them so they can graduate from college and become the leaders we surround ourselves with today. I could badmouth other students, but that is not my style. I don’t like to punish people just because they have No Home Training, or more like Public School Training. That is because I cannot badmouth teachers who have no training in Classroom Management. They can’t figure out how to get students to sit down and shut up. Well, why should the students do so if we have nothing important to say? I cannot teach my business majors how to make money any more than I can teach my engineering students how to build a car. I have no information on how to do either, so I write about what I feel when I feel it. Is that efficient?
Heck, no. I want you to sit down and write as much you can in the time you can write it. If that’s an hour a week, then you write for that whole hour, and eventually you will have something to sell. I promise you that someone will buy something you wrote. If it is someone you are related to, hooray. If you want it the whole free world, that’s stretching it a bit, don’t you think? Maria Carolina de Jesus wrote “Child of the Dark” on scraps of paper, and someone put it into a whole book. She sold it and made enough money to buy a house. Was she in an apartment? No, she was in a garbage dump, a favela. She skipped the apartment phase of her journey to buying a house. Do you own a house? If you do, congratulations. Now where is your writing room? Is it where you have your TV set? See, that’s your first mistake, your second, and your last mistake. The writers of those shows already have houses, apartments, condos, whatever they are living in, and they are paid because you are sitting in front of your TV, or your computer, don’t get technical, watching what they created in their minds. So how do you get your work on TV? Where is your work in the first place? Have you asked? Have you finished an episode on your own? What have you written?
Before you judge your own work, write it down first! Before you say you need to edit it before you send it to an editor, gauge how rotten you think it is and consider how awful it would be to write about a kid who lived in a closet. Dumb, right? How many of your friends know that Harry Potter lived in a closet? I don’t want J.K. Rowling’s talent because she has too darn much of it, but more importantly, I want people to pronounce “-ough” like “cough” every time they see my name, Gough, because I thought her name was like “ow, my head hurts” and not “o,” like “row your boat.” Now every “owling,” except “owling,” is pronounced “o” like my friend informed me quickly in Rowling’s career. If they met, my friend would have an attack of some sort, some sort of giant fit and would need some sort of medical care. My friend, bless her heart, as they say here, down South, writes fan fiction, which automatically cannot be paid for because it is not sanctioned by the Head Writer Herself, She Who Would Not Be on Welfare Again. I love you, J.K., I really do, but you must type like crazy to get those novels out of your head. I commend you, I salute you, and I recommend people read your books.
So if you want to be like her, a rich, rich person, I say go for it. If you want my help to do it, certainly! If you cannot pay me right now, that will be a problem. I have had projects that are still not paid for because of “when it comes out but never gets finished” logic. However, if you want help, come get help, but get it out of your head, guys and gals, or whatever, I’m old. I hope you come and get yourself some good guidance, and I hope you will choose my writing consultant firm for your needs.
Lynette Gough, Owner, Make a Great Impression Writing Consultant Firm