How to write a novel

Oh, ghod. I wish I hadn’t heard wannabee writers say every single one of the things you’ll hear here.

Thanks to Jim Woosley, who sent the link.

(For the queasiness, too, dude.)

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and indie-publish my new ones.

26 comments… add one
  • Angie Dec 8, 2010 @ 19:32

    I liked how. They talked. In short, separated. Segments. Such as these. That was quite funny. And true. I think MY heart. Just stopped. 🙂

  • Lisa Dec 7, 2010 @ 15:06

    Absolutely wince-able. Scary, but true. I loved the line about letting agents fight over him.

  • Rachel Dec 7, 2010 @ 11:01

    Watched it on my break – laughter is the key to ones heart!

  • Jim Dec 7, 2010 @ 8:53

    I’m glad eveyone enjoyed it. For values of enjoyment…

  • DorianTB Dec 5, 2010 @ 0:54

    The horror, the horror! This was hilariously funny (and chilling) because it’s all too true! Thanks for sharing this, and here’s hoping the world’s idiots might possibly recognize themselves in this. I can dream, can’t I? 🙂

  • Maggie Dec 4, 2010 @ 22:19

    I can’t believe there are actually people out there like that light-colored bear/dog/whatever that animal is.

    Great video! 🙂

  • Hitch Dec 4, 2010 @ 2:38

    That is a complete riot.

    I just came off of editing a book written by THAT guy. It’s the nadir of my existence. I’m so grateful I’m done with it that I’m going to take the rest of the night off. 😉

    Thanks for sharing–I wonder if he’d get the joke if I sent thim this video?


  • zette Dec 3, 2010 @ 4:41

    This was so true it was scary. I even had Russ look at it and he was shocked becasue he knows I’ve heard every one of those things, most often when I was reading submissions for Double Dragon Publishing. Someone got this soooooo right. LOL

  • Julian Adorney Dec 2, 2010 @ 17:22

    Revised 30 pages of my screenplay for class today. Tore out about 300 words, wrote a new 500. I’ve refined the main character and made some of the scenes a lot more dynamic.

    Now that the class is over, I don’t think I’ll keep writing the script. It just doesn’t capture my interest at this point. I’ll probably write a couple short stories before the new year, and start something big (a novel or a new screenplay) in January.

  • Michael McNeill Dec 2, 2010 @ 13:52

    I’ve been writing – ok, off-and-on sporadically – since 1987 (and still consider myself a novice). I like to pride myself on not having had most of those ideas. Unfortunately, I *have* heard pretty much every one of them from creative-writing students and would-be authors!!

    And I don’t *think* I ever told any of them “I’d kill you if I could get away with it”! Thinking it, however… ;D

  • Crystal Cherie Dec 2, 2010 @ 3:39

    This was funny! I dare say an insult to novice writers though. At least, I’d like to pretend that any aspiring writer would do research first, come to the realizations that editing is their job also, and that nothing happens over night! I know I did! Also decided to minor in creative writing at the same time! Thanks for this great video! I loved it!

  • Jason Dec 1, 2010 @ 23:35

    That was good, haha. I feel sorry for people who don’t feel they should read. I had a good month and read four novels (being a music student, that is a good month…), among them Theodore Sturgeon’s Godbody and Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End. Wow. Just wow.

    I was wondering, they mentioned Stephen King’s autobiography/writing book and wondered what others thought of it. I read it twice, not even for the content but just because it’s so fun to read his words. He has quite a way with language.

  • Brittany Dec 1, 2010 @ 20:47

    My favorite line was, “I’d better warn them not to steal my idea because it’s copyrighted.” And I’ve heard someone say this before, too. 😛

  • WandersNowhere Dec 1, 2010 @ 19:29

    You know, I’m embarassed to admit there have been times when I thought like the guy in the vid (to an extent). Though my response to ‘I want to direct the movie of the script I’m writing’ was to, uh, study directing in college.


    I got better.

    • Danzier Dec 2, 2010 @ 22:35

      (Replying to Wanders’ comment about studying film directing)

      I hope more aspiring writers take that tack, actually. It would keep them out of the market for a couple of years and give them the opportunity to get a job in something that won’t make us shoot them in self-defense.

      Film Society can shoot them then. 😀

      • WandersNowhere Dec 3, 2010 @ 0:29

        Since I survived college and a couple of film shoots without being shot (except with a camera) I’d say I’m in the clear 😀

  • Samantha Dec 1, 2010 @ 16:09

    This is hillarious… and awfully disturbing. I just can’t believe someone could have such an ignorant view of writing…

  • WandersNowhere Dec 1, 2010 @ 5:08

    This is ten shades of brilliant.

  • Jeff Nov 30, 2010 @ 22:22

    “I wish I could kill you and get away with it.”

    “I have a gun in my car”

    …by the time the conversation is over she realizes it’s self defense not murder.

    Love it 🙂

  • Ash Nov 30, 2010 @ 21:59

    That actually made me dizzy. I think I need to lie down.

  • Danzier Nov 30, 2010 @ 20:25

    Did you really hear someone say “But I’m the talent” as a defense against knowing how to spell?!

    …I’m not sure if the queasy feeling is from the stomach bug I picked up, or the idea that “writer” could be dragged down to “talent” by someone who doesn’t know their up from their down.

    • Holly Lisle Dec 1, 2010 @ 12:08

      I’ve heard, “I’m the writer! I come up with the ideas—it’s the editor’s job to fix the spelling.

      Same thing.

      • RebeccaG Dec 7, 2010 @ 9:28

        One of my friends told me that he was the idea person, that he had these amazing, best selling ideas and that he’d give them to me if I wrote the book. He said he’d give me a forth of the money we made. He compared his idea to Stephanie Meyer’s books.

  • TimK Nov 30, 2010 @ 19:39

    Yeah, queasy. That’s how it made me feel, too. That poor guy. Makes me want to cry, actually, more than it makes me want to laugh. I’ve known people like that. They have very real needs that are not being met. -TimK

  • Julian Adorney Nov 30, 2010 @ 14:53

    Absolutely hilarious! My favorite line: ‘I’ll just walk into Random House and give them a copy’. Well, that and: ‘I wish I could kill you and get away with it’

    Ah well. Maybe some of those aspiring writers will find this website, learn to write, and produce something I’ll want to read (possibly after reading a book themselves). Here’s hoping!

  • Lisac5 Nov 30, 2010 @ 14:48

    Hilarious! I love it.

    My favorite part is a toss up between ” I’ll finish it in a week ” and “Will they let me direct the movie.”

    Thanks for the laugh.

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