I know I've done a number of "how-to" posts over the last few years, each more helpful than the last. However, I've skirted the main issue, the question everyone wants the answer to. The hardest part.
How to Write a Novel.
Everyone has a novel hiding somewhere in their head. Maybe it's just the kernel of an idea hanging out in the thalamus. Maybe it's a bit further along, inching over toward the frontal lobe. Either way, most people will never write their novel. Why? Well, to put it bluntly, they aren't smart enough.
You have to be really, really smart to write a novel. The first thing you should do is go out and get your IQ tested. If you measure up, then there's nothing to worry about. Go forth. Write your novel. I'm sure it will be awesome. Most would say the ideal novel-writing IQ is somewhere in the 144+ range.
But, what if you aren't smart enough? What if you don't fall within the ideal novel-writing IQ range, but you've still got the itch to get that idea out?
Well, then this blog is for you.
The first thing you'll want to do is create the perception that you're a smart, writerly type. Consider bringing a pipe with you everywhere and, whenever you want to be taken seriously, pull it out of your pocket and give it a couple puffs. It's best if you keep the pipe in the inside pocket of a tweedy, ill-fitting blazer. No one ever questions the intelligence of a pipe-smoker (so long as it is the right kind of pipe). Make sure that in all your photographs you're holding the pipe up to your mouth and preferably wearing a pair of dorky glasses. If you do this, you'll find that slowly your image starts to shift from "that weirdo in the corner" to "Writer Guy (or Girl)". It worked for me.
Appropriate topics of conversation:
Rare Coffee Blends
Inappropriate topics of conversation:
Next you'll want a sweet writing machine. Portability is super important, because you want to make sure that you can take your sweet writing machine out in public where everyone can see you writing. Another benefit to this is that you can also make snide twitter updates about the strangers surrounding you, which is a very important part of the writing process. I recommend finding a writing machine in an exciting color, because it will help you seem quirky and unique. You don't want to blend in with all the peons at the coffee shop who are doing real work. Load up on fancy software. These days it seems like everyone is offering some kind of program to help you process words better. Buy them all! This is an important step in becoming a Real Writer who has actually Written Things. If you can find a few stickers with writing puns that you can stick on your sweet writing machine, that will give you additional writing cred.
Eventually, if you keep this up long enough, you'll have a novel. Or, at least you'll seem quite writerly.
*pulls pipe out of pocket*
*takes a puff*
Good luck, my friend.