Thursday, 12 February 2009


Another from the (review of) How Not To Write a Novel.

A great many plots problems that show up in unpublished manuscripts can be resolved with a single strategy. Know what the chase is and cut to it.

Start your story in the middle of a conflict, not any old conflict (my neighbour's bath is overflowing,) one that matters to the protagonist. (my bath is overflowing and my hunky electrician is about to be electrocuted and my cat is sitting on the washing machine)

Don't faff around describing the weather and the protagonist's clothes and what they had for breakfast. Cut straight to the water lapping over the top of the dyke (levee).

Another rule

In most novels, a pet should have about as high a profile as an armchair.

Not Lassie though.

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