In this keynote, he blended practical advice with honest and encouraging insights, breaking up the arduous process of writing a novel into the following areas: organization, research, writing, revising, morale. Here are his main points from each area.
- Use separate documents to keep from feeling overwhelmed
- The more planning you do, the less rewriting you do
- Save in versions and email the versions to yourself
- Keep rigorous lists for every aspect of book (facts, details, characterization, research questions, etc.)
- Bookmark and highlight versions to flag for research
- Utilize Google street view
- Research is like a ship: it’s there, underneath, but never seen
- Don’t waste time; every word for a reason
- No scenes just because you like them or to show off your research
- Despite planning, don’t be surprised if you have to do major revising
- Some things you can’t see until the end
- “Every book teaches me to write it, but not the next book.” – E. Welty
- Ask yourself: is writing the best us of my time on earth?
- It’s hard to get confirmation that what you’re doing is worthwhile because people can’t read it all like they can a shorter work
- Laughter can give you a sense of control
Writing a novel is not for the impatient.
When writing a novel, you’re part of a community that stretches across the world and time.