The Hero Books

 

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The Hero Books.

Choose one of these books and place it next to your bed. You need ONE book for the journey, just one because you are going to be in an intimate and monogamous journey with this book during the ninety days. Yes, you may have afternoon trysts with other books, and flirtations, but you will need to be faithful to one book during your writing of your novel. Every night, please. Even if just for ten minutes before bedtime. Put that prose and the big story shape inside your mind and sleep on it. I promise you it works. Between that and the morning writing routine, you'll become a novel-writing machine.

This faithfulness mirrors the devotion you will show to your novel and helps you focus.

You'll read it once for pure pleasure, and absorb the storyline. (Story, story, story.) When you're reading it for the second or third time, you'll be deep in your own story, and will turn to it for assistance with technical problems. Your close study and profound understanding of how a great book works will give you skills to last a lifetime.

The Hero Book is a key success factor. Be careful about other books you choose to read during your writing period. You might lose sight of your own theme and lose the ability to hear your own voice. Worse, you will start to worry your work isn’t as good as Tom, Dick and Kafka’s and you will get miserable.

Leaning on just the one book allows you to keep your own work in mind. It’s like listening to the same song over and over again until you no longer hear any idiosyncrasies; you’re just feeling the song. 

This is not an unusual method for a working novelist, in fact, it is quite common. Norman Mailer, when writing The Naked and the Dead, would constantly re-read Anna Karenina for inspiration.

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Disgrace by J.M Coetzee
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Everyman by Philip Roth
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The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
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The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene
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Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner
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The Grass is Singing by Doris Lessing.
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The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
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The End of the Affair by Graham Greene
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Brooklyn by Colm Toibin
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Damage by Josephine Hart
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The Painted Veil by Somerset Maugham
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Normal People by Sally Rooney
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Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty
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My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
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Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
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Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller
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The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith
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The Godfather by Mario Puzo
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Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
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The Gathering by Anne Enright
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A Man Called Ove by Frederik Backman
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Less by Andrew Sean Greer
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Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
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The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
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Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut
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1984 by George Orwell
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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon 
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Holes by Louis Sachar
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How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
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Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman 
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The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins 
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Coraline by Neil Gaiman 
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A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
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The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis
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Peter Pan by JM Barrie
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The Diddakoi by Rumer Godden
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