Max Barry: Fifteen Ways to Write a Novel

Posted: 28th June 2014 by Jason Kristopher in On Writing, The Craft
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Writing a novel is, as Barry says, hard. Also, “If there were a single method of writing great books, we’d all be doing it.” Amen, hallelujah. Barry’s managed to compile a great list of ways that have worked for some. Personally, I find a word target (#1) helps, and having a no-holds-barred critique group demanding new work every month doesn’t hurt, either.


The Word Target

What: You don’t let yourself leave the keyboard each day until you’ve hit 2,000 words.

The Word Ceiling

What: You write no more than 500 words per day.

The Coffee Shop

What: You take your laptop, order a coffee, and compose your masterpiece in public.

The Quiet Place

What: You go to your own particular writing place and close the door on the world.

The Burst

What: You write in patches of 30-60 minutes. When you feel your concentration flag, you go do something else for 30 minutes, then return.

The Immersion

What: You pull out the network cord, turn off the phone, and write in blocks of four hours.

The Intoxicant

What: You consume alcohol, narcotic, or caffeine before writing.


Those are just the first 7. Read the full post for some great ideas.

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