How to Produce a Novel

To write a novel, commit 80,000 to 100,000 words to well-developed, fascinating characters, lively dialogue, and an intriguing plot, all in a setting painted with powerfully descriptive phrases capable of holding a reader's attention for seven to ten hours. How hard can that be?

There is nothing to writing.
All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.

~Ernest Hemingway is a guide to the machinations that go into producing a publishable novel from your writing, because...

Knowing what happens after,
provides an essential perspective
on what must be done before and during.

About Creativity and Writing Talent
Somewhere it is written, "All [people] are created equal," and there is no dispute that every person must be afforded equal rights and protections in a civilized society.

However, with regard to practical talents, people diverge.

We all knew those in school who got A's in math, but couldn't catch a ball in gym, and we remember the all-stars who couldn't add their 3-pt field goal to the team score. Some athletes are born to be linebackers and others figure skaters. Some artists compose music while prepubescent, others produce aclaimed creations closer to sunset.

Similarly, the intellectual ability and artistic imagination that propels great writers are not universally distributed at birth. However...

Most everyone with a basic
understanding of the language can write.
Through study and practice of the art,
anyone can learn to write well.


You may not be a Hemingway who bleeds genius onto a page. But no one knows if they have that talent until they try, and you should be encouraged by that not knowing, because you could be one of them.

By the age of four one has experienced nearly
everything one needs to be a writer of fiction;
love, pain, loss, boredom, rage, guilt, and fear of death.

~Nicholas Delbanco

A man climbs out of the subway station in New York.
He stops a lady on the street and asks,
"How do I get to Carnegie Hall?"
She answers, "Lots of practice."

~Henny Youngman

The essential worldliness required by a writer doesn't reside on the peaks of the Himalayas, among the war-torn ruins of Allepo, or within the concrete canyons of New York. It exists in classical and contemporary works of fiction.

The well read individual is primed to be a worthy writer.

Don't get discouraged if your first work isn't well received. Write a second. And another. Keep at it until you create your Great [American] Novel. Perhaps some tales may achieve a modicum of commercial success, but at the very least, you will have accomplished what less than 1% of those who claim to want to write a book have done, and it can sit on your shelf with your name on the cover and your blood on the pages.

How to Produce a Novel
Stage I: First Draft
  Stage I, page 2
  Stage I, page 3
Writing Intermezzo I
  Preparation for Self-Editing
Stage II: Self-Editing
  Stage II, page 2
  Stage II, page 3
Stage III: Feedback/Review
Stage IV: Publishing
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Books for Writers
Grammar and Punctuation
Writing Non-Fiction
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