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I had a novel in the back of my mind when I won an Ian St James story competition in 1993. At the award ceremony an agent asked me if I was writing a novel. I showed her four or five chapters of what would become 'Behind the Scenes at the Museum' and to my surprise she auctioned them off.
Like many writers, I started by writing short stories. I needed to learn how to write and stories are the most practical way to do this, and less soul-destroying than working your way through a lengthy novel and then discovering it's rubbish.
I wrote a novel for my degree, and I'm very happy I didn't submit that to a publisher. I sympathize with my professors who had to read it.
Divorce in a young-adult novel means what being orphaned meant in a fairy tale: vulnerability, danger, unwanted independence.
Every novel presents a slice of life. A noir policier for example presents one slice, one that perhaps addresses social dysfunction or some sort of pathology, while mine present a slice that is more upbeat and affirmative.
Alexander McCall Smith
It's no accident that my first novel was called Americana. This was a private declaration of independence, a statement of my intention to use the whole picture, the whole culture.
Among the many problems which beset the novelist, not the least weighty is the choice of the moment at which to begin his novel.
I like to take certain aspects of genre fiction and modify them in my own way. 'Your Republic Is Calling You' follows the form of a spy novel, but it leads readers into a world of Kafkaesque irrationality.
To me there's no difference between a book of stories and a novel - they're just slightly different shapes.
I'm not constrained by being a genre writer. Any story I can imagine, I can cast as a fantasy novel and probably get it published.
The characters you refer to as predatory and unsavory are useful. They're the ones who make a novel into a thriller. They're active, and most of the common virtues, the signs of a good person, are not.
What makes literature interesting is that it does not survive its translation. The characters in a novel are made out of the sentences. That's what their substance is.
The process of writing a novel is getting to know more about the novel until you know everything about it. And it's been described as a kind of dreamlike state where you're letting the novel make its own shape, and you're putting into it the pleasure of creation, which is intoxicating.
I think the problem with the term graphic novel is it sounds pompous, it sounds pretentious, whereas on the continent, they call it an album, which to me sounds, it's got more much of a connotation of a kind of a music single and an album collection.
A book is sent out into the world, and there is no way of fully anticipating the responses it will elicit. Consider the responses called forth by the Bible, Homer, Shakespeare - let alone contemporary poetry or a modern novel.
After college, I was living in New York and wrote furiously, a huge novel that I knew was a failure. I hoped that the book would work, but to be honest, I think I knew it would never work, even as I was finishing it.
What I want is to respond to the challenge posed by the mass media - to permit the novel to say what can only be said by narrative - to allow it to be itself.
The theory of founder effects does not explain how novel features like plumage traits arise.
Peter R. Grant
What could be more boring than a novel that tells you how to think about everything that happens in it?
When my novel 'Beach Music' came out in 1995, I had included a couple of recipes in the book and had tried to impart some of my love of Roman cuisine and the restaurants of Rome.
There are people who say they want to write novels. They think, 'I'll learn my craft on the romance novel.' If you don't love the genre, it's going to show, and it's not going to be a good book.
I traveled to Ireland to research 'Sandcastles,' to visit the coastline where my ancestors looked toward America, the tiny town they once loved so much, and the docks from which they sailed toward their dreams of building a better life for their family. The answers I found on that journey are woven through the novel.
Living in an entirely different physical as well as biotic environment, such a population would have unique opportunities to enter new niches and to select novel adaptive pathways.
In my third novel there is an actual black hole that swallows everything you love.
When I start getting close to the end of a novel, something registers in the back of my mind for the next novel, so that I usually don't write, or take notes. And I certainly don't begin. I just allow things to percolate for a while.
You can be interested in a Jane Smiley novel whether or not anyone says a word. She enters into her characters' thoughts with great understanding and depth.
A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Image of the Moment
Come, gentlemen, I hope we shall drink down all unkindness.
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