How not to write a novel

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How not to write a novel

Here is a salutory tale.

I have written one novel. I can't get it published.
I am writing number two - which is a slow business.

As i was so desolate with my rejections and as the second one was slightly blocked -I decided to write something that I very boorishly, snobbishly, pompously thought would be a 'populist ' novel - and to enter it for the Writers News Completed Novel competition.
It was a modern 'take' of Sense and Sensibility - a three daughters and a widowed mother story - it started well and I was chugging along quite nicely with it - when I saw an intersting thread on here - "worst opening line of a novel" and posted my Sense and Sensibility novel's first line .
And it came to pass that this thread turned into a competition
and at some stage my first line - written in all seriousness - won this damn competirion.
But my point was that a lot of what you can buy in WHSmiths is 'bad' by my estimation - and yet its published - it sells - presumably because the books are easy to read - have compelling story lines, sympathetic characters - so therefore they aren't 'bad'?
Why was my worst line the worst?
What was so awful about it - because I really am a total no hoper or because I was being arrogant?
And how many difficult emotions have you bustled like a spare sock into the back drawer of your emotions lately missus?
I bet you do it all the time.

Anonymous's picture
i agree most violently that bad books are being published non-stop by the big publishing houses; and yes, where are the books 'we' want to read? those that aren't so predictable you want to throw them out of the window after the first chapter? I say we, as both writers and readers, are not being catered to by publishers - they only want what sells, no matter how mediocre it is. I had masses of problems getting my first novel published because it's totally non-comforming to publishing houses and their narrow needs. I found an internet publisher and my book in now in print - anyone who knows they've got a good book, but not a conventional should try out internet publishers. They don't seem to have this hang up regarding new and non-traditional writing. We need more writers who are willing to buck the system and write truly original works. We are all overloaded with the mainstream, and just about every nook and cranny of current day publishing is grossly overloaded now. We don't need anymore pap books! and I'd love to read your 'worst' opening line, Gabrielle ... take heart, it probably means you're a budding genius. Spin
Anonymous's picture
Gabrielle, Please let us know - what was the first line?
the golden cagoul
Anonymous's picture
i'd say my emotions were more like pants in someone else's drawer
Emily Dubberley
Anonymous's picture
my emotions are more like pairs of tights in a drawer - hideously tangled
Lucy Lastic
Anonymous's picture
I'm tight and I keep my emotions in my drawers.
Too Much Coffee
Anonymous's picture
My emotions are buried in the backyard. Down deep. Safe from all to see. Only Spring brings them forth. Then only for an instant. Then back to the soil of my heart. Dark. Safe. Alone.
Anonymous's picture
I still don't quite understand what emotions are. I never seem to get the right emotion to fit the right senario. Maybe mine just don't work properly. But back to the main point of this thread. I think that a lot of stuff published depends on what is popular at the time. There are far too many thirty-something/bridget-jones type novels on sale at the moment. I have a deep dark confession. I liked the Bridget Jones movie, but I tried to read the novel when it first came out and I was bored of it after the first ten pages. I love books and if I start to read one I like to finish it no matter how strenuous I find the process, but I did not finish Bridget Jones. (If this thread wasn't really old I would be prepared for some abuse here). So, these books may be popular, but what about us poor souls who don't want to read them? Who publishes books for us? Or maybe just me? There was a point to this posting but I've lost it. It's probably down the back of the sofa along with my emotions. If you are reading this Gabrielle and you have managed to get this far, what was your first novel about???? I am still working on my first novel, but I don't think it will get published. Even if it was good enough, which I doubt, it is not the kind of thing publishers want to publish. Not that that is going to stop me trying from getting published. Okay, sorry for rambling.
Anonymous's picture
Why, Cornelia, don't you publish the first chapter on here, as someone (whose name I have since forgotton - think it might have been Roy) suggested?
Anonymous's picture
I need courage, and I am not sure how well I could type after a few drinks. But, in all seriousness, that is an idea I might consider, and it would give me an incentive to continue what I have done so far. At present it's collecting dust. Thanks.
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