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How To Write A Novel

You will find advice here to help you on your writing journey. Use the search bar or browse through the categories to get a taste of the kind of insights and shortcuts we use to fast track our writers. 
Novel Writing Tips The Hero Overwriting: A Cure Three Wise Drafts Gatsby

Insight.

May 12, 2019
 

Immersive writing and Insight are intimately related and inextricably so.

This is what Tolstoy shows us. It's what makes Tolstoy a great writer.

Following on from the last blog on the ten-draft four-year development process for the writing of the book often described as the greatest novel, I want to show you what Tolstoy achieved with his writing, how he approached, and why.

“Therein is the whole business of one’s life; to seek out and save in the soul that which is perishing.”

The Gospel in Brief - Leo Tolstoy

(My second book This Human Season cites this quotation from Tolstoy at the frontispiece.)

The business of his life, his work, was to honour this passage from the Gospel, which he read and re-read as his favourite book.

Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye. Matthew 7:5

Seen this way, you can understand the wholeness of his approach to his work,...

Read on...

Writing Anna.

May 05, 2019
 

In the 1870's Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy (1828 - 1910) experienced a profound moral crisis. During the writing of Anna Karenina, he went through a personal metamorphosis from sensualist to ascetic. This had a dramatic effect on his literary output and the novels after Anna Karenina are of a different tone, and more didactic.

Writing Anna Karenina required many drafts over four years, and evolved from a rather superficial treatment of a 'fallen woman' to a more nuanced and sympathetic evocation of Anna, the literary heroine.

The novel accrued greater depth over those drafts. The constant in the concept was Anna herself, though her character changed in the early drafts. With Anna, Tolstoy was able to put his finger on his own flaw or failing; the sensualist. Writing Anna enabled him to see the flaw, name it and move past it.

There are one or two ways to write a novel.

1. A fast first draft and multiple successive drafts. (For this method ideally you need a sounding board - an agent...

Read on...
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