Aspiring authors: don’t write a novel.

Write 1000 words, every day. Or 2000 words every day. And in time, you’ll have a novel.

Pull those thousand words up like an oil-slicked chain, every word a chainlink, from the deepest part of your mind. That’s where the good stuff lives. Once it’s down on the page, maybe it’ll look great. Maybe it’ll look like shit. It may just look like a coiled pile of nasty old chain covered in slick black oil.

But once you’ve cleaned it off and straightened it out in editing, and joined it with a hundred or two hundred other lengths of chain in a set pattern, you’ll step back one morning and realise that hey, I’ve built a big chain bridge here. A big old chain bridge that can take your readers from the beginning to the end. And take them safely across the gaping Chasm of Understanding.

To torture the metaphor just a little bit more, it’s a suspension bridge. Every reader likes suspense. It’s essential. And… a trip across a bit old suspension bridge without at least one windy, swaying, uncertain episode in the middle would be a pretty dull affair.

But that’s a way off yet. You need to focus on pulling up those oily chains first. A thousand or two thousand links at a time. If this helps anyone, in my next post we can look at how to string those chains together into a bridge. I mean book. I mean… bye.

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