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I wasn't sitting around years ago thinking, 'I really want to write a novel.'
Writing a novel is not merely going on a shopping expedition across the border to an unreal land: it is hours and years spent in the factories, the streets, the cathedrals of the imagination.
I know publishing now more as an author than with occasional peaks inside those elite offices than as an industry insider. It was difficult publishing a novel the first time around, while working behind the scenes, knowing all that has to happen to make a book a success and to still make the leap as an author.
I wrote my first novel in the same conditions as most first novelists - I had a full-time job, I shared an apartment, I had no time - and so I became a compulsive outliner of everything. Ever since then, my process has consisted of trying to forcibly rid myself of that compulsion.
A novel is often a longer process in handling self-doubt.
I had been a reporter for 15 years when I set out to write my first novel. I knew how to research an article or profile a subject - skills that I assumed would be useless when it came to fiction. It was from my imagination that the characters in my story would emerge.
Journalism can go right up to the door of the room in which the decisions are made. A novel can go inside the room - and inside the character's heads.
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.
Some day I shall write a novel and call it 'A Walking Tour in the Congo' or 'Thrills and Spills in Aeronautics'; but I keep this type of title as a last & mercenary resort.
People really want to think that these things really happened. I don't know why that important, but I know that when I finish reading a novel or something, I want to know how much of that really happened to this author.
I always find the first thing that really bothers me when I start a screenplay is, I have to find a different form. You can't follow the form of the novel. It's a different thing completely. It's impossible. You just somehow have to find a structure for the whole thing. You have to crack that.
Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
I did not set out to write another novel. One day I sat down with the thought of trying my hand at a piece of nonfiction, a personal memoir of youth, but over the next several weeks, without intending it, the work began evolving into what has become 'Tomcat in Love.'
I mean, every novel's a historical novel anyway. But calling something a historical novel seems to put mittens on it, right? It puts manners on it. And you don't want your novels to be mannered.
I wrote the first draft of my first novel at Michigan, and then I wrote the first draft of 'Salvage the Bones' at Stanford. So I workshopped the entire thing.
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's fun about a dystopian novel is that we can enjoy and be entertained. But that world is only slightly different, right? It's familiar enough to be recognizable, and skewed enough to give us pause.
Do we tend to recall the most important parts of a novel or those that speak most directly to us, the truest lines or the flashiest ones?
In 1980, I published my first novel, in the usual swirl of unjustified hope and justified anxiety.
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.
I read John Irving's novel 'The World According To Garp' when I was about 14 or 15. It was the first grown-up book that I had read. It is the story of a young man who grows up to be a novelist. I finished it, and I wanted to write a book that made the reader feel the way I felt at the end of that, which was sort of both bereft and elated.
A novel should be an experience and convey an emotional truth rather than arguments.
I started writing short stories. I tried writing horror, mystery, science fiction. I joined a little critique group here in town and ran my stories past them. After about three years, I tackled my first novel, Subterranean. It took me 11 months to write.
I'm a great believer in gathering together all your obsessions and seeing if you can make a novel out of them.
Publishers send me a lot of first novels because my first novel was the defining novel of my career, and I guess a lot of people want my benediction or something.
As a romance novelist, I have a rather skewed view of babies. You see, they don't typically fit into the classic structure of the romance novel - romance is about two people finding each other and falling in love against insurmountable odds. Babies... well... babies are complicated.
A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
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