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Two Authors: How to Write a Novel

Jeff Vandermeer, author of City of Saints and Madmen and Veniss Underground, on how to write a novel in two months:
Make sure you support your efforts with sound lifestyle choices. I have to admit I exercised less and drank more during the two months than is normal for me. However, I still managed to exercise intensely for two-to-three hours three to four times a week and limited the drinking to a couple of drinks a day most of the time. Eating healthy also helped keep my energy level up. This is important, because you’re doing a lot more typing and longhand writing per day than you normally would, and you have to make it count more, as well.
He should know since he just finished his marathon writing session of a Predator novel.

But if you want your novel-writing experience to be a little more relaxed, take some advice from David Louis Edelman, author of InfoQuake and Multireal:
Persevere. Many young writers get the idea in college that the Muse is supposed to beam you perfectly formed sentences that will just flow from your fingertips in a demonic burst of inspiration at 2 a.m. And this does happen, sometimes. But the Muse doesn’t parse out these perfectly formed sentences often, and she expects you to fill in the gaps yourself.

One of the most important skills every writer has to learn is the ability to keep writing even when you don’t feel that tingle of inspiration. Sometimes you just need to plod through, get from point A to B. There are a lot of footsteps between the Shire and Mount Doom, and occasionally you’re going to just trip or stumble along. Often you’ll find that after you’ve trudged for a while, you’ll stumble on a sudden idea or inspiration that will make that passage light on its feet. Other times, you just have to keep trudging.


  1. Oh Ted, when are we ever gonna write our novels? You know, The Novel? But at least you written some books already, yes? Publish lar... Gimme some motivation... hehe.

  2. teehee! my aim in life is to make you envious! watch out for My Novel to pop out at you when you least expect it!


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