Rules For Writing A Novel:

  1. There are no rules.

Best Advice About Writing A Novel:

  1. Don’t.

Possibly Useful Suggestions For Masochists Who Still Want To Write A Novel, Though If I Were You I Wouldn’t Pay Any Attention To Me Since Every Writer Has To Figure Out Their Own Process And Mine Is No Fun At All:

  1. Write a little bit every day, even if it’s all crap.
  2. Start each day by cleaning up your previous day’s crap, then add some new crap to the pile.
  3. Try not to get discouraged.  Crap makes excellent fertilizer.
  4. One day—when you’re cleaning up your previous day’s crap—you may find a gorgeous flower or two growing in your big stinky pile.  Rejoice, then write more crap.
  5. In a month, or a year, or five years, you’ll notice that your crap pile is slowly transforming into a garden.  Rejoice, then write more crap.
  6. Try not to drink yourself to death on the bad days.
  7. Finish the first draft of your novel, no matter how rough.  Most people who want to write a novel never complete a draft.  Rejoice for making it this far.
  8. Clean up the crap.  Write another draft, or ten, or however many it takes to make it good.  Never submit it to an agent or an editor until you don’t know what else to do with the damn thing.

Cautionary Remarks About What Comes Next:

  1. Even if you’ve written a great book, be prepared for people to tell you it’s crap.  
  2. Never let the bastards see you cry.  
  3. Finding an agent is hard.  Remove all sharp objects from your home.
  4. Finding an editor who wants to buy your book is even harder, especially if you don’t have an agent.  Put the bottle of sleeping pills down and back away from your medicine cabinet.
  5. Your book will sell, or it won’t.  If it does, the reviewers may shred it to pieces, along with what’s left of your heart.  If it doesn’t, well, that’s worse.  Either way, avoid high bridges and scenic cliff walks. 
  6. In the meantime, start a new book.
  7. Write a little bit every day, even if it’s all crap.