Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

How Many Ways Are There To Write A Novel?

The “powers that be” in the worlds of the novel–those folks who set themselves up as “experts”–might tell you there are two ways to write a novel, or definitely only four, or as many ways as there are novelists.

When the “experts” disagree, it’s time to make your own decision

Wikipedia’s opinion of what a novel is: “…a book of long narrative in literary prose….Further definition of the genre is historically difficult.”

Of course, the word “novel” comes from roots that mean “new”.

And, if you plunk the words how+to+write+a+novel into Google, you’ll be able to lose yourself in the sea of, sometimes not so novel, opinions

Sophie McCook, one of my new friends on the open-source social networking platform, Diaspora, is writing a chapter a day of her novel and posting it on a blog, tinychaptersontherun.

BTW, if you want an invite to Diaspora, which is in Alpha-testing-mode, send me an email at and I’ll make sure they invite you :-)

Here’s what Sophie says about her novel:Tiny Chapters on the Run  is the story of Miriam Short, told in bite-sized chapters, published once a day (except weekends – the author is only human!). Miriam has no tact, delicacy or grace. She lies, steals and inadvertently kills.  But she did also get her brownie badges in ‘basic mental adjustment’ and ‘innate self-worth’.  There will be ups and downs, loves and down-right dirty lies.”

As of the time I posted this, there are 53 chapters–they’re short, remember :-)

I’ve read the first two chapters and am having a time-schedule-freak-out—-prep for writing sequel to Notes from An Alien, 30 hours a week being Events Manager on Book Island in Second Life, attending to various social networking and other Webby tasks, wondering when to carve out time to read Don Quixote, and very necessary amounts of meditative zoning-out—-but Sophie’s novel has sucked me in…

DO  go read it.

DO  come back and let me know what you think.

I’ll pass your comments along to Sophie :-)
Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)


8 responses to “How Many Ways Are There To Write A Novel?

  1. Jane Watson September 16, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    “There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are. – W. Somerset Maugham.”

    Sophie, however, seems to have worked them out because I really enjoyed Chapter One of her Tiny Chapters on the Run!


  2. Alexander M Zoltai September 16, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    Jane, I’ve relayed your comment to Sophie over on Diaspora.

    Perhaps she’ll come over here and respond :-)


  3. Simone Benedict September 17, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    Time schedule freakout, huh? Lol, oh man, can I relate to that!

    I just read the first 2 Chapters of Sophie’s novel. I’m glad I took the time to do it. Good stuff!


  4. Alexander M Zoltai September 17, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    Simone, I’m hoping I can get Sophie over here to respond to ya’ll :-)


  5. tinychaptersontherun September 17, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    Hello! I’m flattered by Alexander’s comments and yours in turn. I’ve been writing flat out as a way of releasing a few years’ worth of pent-up energy after working as an editor on other writers’ work. This novel is first-draft but hopefully it’s pretty energetic. I appreciate any feedback for the re-write! Many thanks again


  6. Alexander M Zoltai September 17, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    Wow, Sophie, thanks for dropping by :-)

    You heard her, folks, Feedback for the Re-write :-)


  7. Selena September 18, 2011 at 2:41 am

    Ever since discovering flash fiction, I am enamored with the short story. I’m heading over there now to read….


  8. Alexander M Zoltai September 18, 2011 at 2:59 am

    Cool, Selena :-)


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