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How To Write A Novel

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Painting by Punching. (The Knockout Novel with Advice from Annie Proulx.)

Sep 10, 2017
 

There's a time for brushstrokes, and there's a time to paint by punching.

Perhaps you're working too finely, that's all well and good when you're laying down a first draft with uncertainty but when you've got wind of your story you need to land a few blows on the 'characters' in your work in progress.

Let insults pelt the page, and injuries accrue upon the person leaving behind a dense impression of a life being lived the way we live them - in suffering - punctuated with occasional rare joys.
 
Look at your 'main character' the person pushing your novel and see a slow-moving morass of personable misery. Suited. Booted. Custom made, their plight tailored to them by your prose. We want to see the lumpen shape of slow-moving misfortune. Your job is to wound him or her, in order to get them to wake up and live the life they've been given against their wishes.

Annie Proulx's Pulitzer Prize winning 'The Shipping News' delivers a masterclass in 'character' creation via the hapless,...

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