How to Write a Novel
I am writing a novel. I wrote two novels, one published in 2006, one in 2009. Neither of them is particularly good. They have their moments.
Most novels are not that great. A novel should really knock you out. Some novels I love: Song Of Solomon. The Queen’s Gambit. Another Country. The Portrait of A Lady. The Mysterious Affair at Styles. The Moonstone. The Counterlife. Trent’s Last Case. The Plot. Eye of the Needle. Devil in a Blue Dress. And the entire Cazalet Series, by Elizabeth Jane Howard. Yellowface was pretty goddam good, but the ending needed work. But don’t get me wrong. I was extremely impressed and it’s way better than anything I have ever done.
I have heard a third novel is a charm, mostly from myself. That said, The Globe Sessions was Sheryl Crow’s third album and it was a masterpiece, far and away much better than her two prior albums, a complete work with a beginning, middle, end, and nice surprises. This is all my opinion, let the dissenters rush in. I have always thought Moby Dick was Herman Melville’s third novel, until right now. Apparently it was his fifth. This hurts, but I am going to keep it in my personal mythology as true, until I write a fifth book.
I have tried writing this third novel for many years. I have stopped and started many. Right now I am reading a Gary Indiana novel called Do Everything in the Dark, which is genius. It is so much better than anything I have read in a while. Indiana is so good at understanding weird private thoughts: "I'm sick of eating," Miles went on without listening, "pissing, shaving, everything else a person has to do everyday. I don't even bathe in the country, or change clothes. What's the point? I just forget to do it until I really stink." Miles did not stink, but I could tell it pleased him to think so.”
Apparently Gary Indiana begins a lot of books and does not finish them. I have done that, but I want to finish this one, and I will.
The way that I am writing this book might be incredibly wrong, but I will tell you what I am doing, in case you think it’s interesting or in case you’re thinking of trying it yourself.