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Jay Dubya

- Learning Novel' Writing from Agents and Editors
- Starting An Internet e-Publishing Business Was Not Easy

Learning Novel' Writing from Agents and Editors
by Jay Dubya
Page 2 of 4

Reader’ allegiance is the author’s greatest weapon. Yes, you can have bad guys in your novel, but they have to be the antagonists and not the heroes. And the bad guys should hang around until almost the end, and if they do hang around until then, they ought to relinquish some of their devious traits and be influenced by the good guy’s superior personality’ strengths. The main character must have "character."

The protagonist (good guy’ main character) ought to be present and active in every chapter, and the antagonist must appear or at least be mentioned in every chapter.

Each character in your novel should have a separate and unique personality. No two characters should seem alike to your readers. In my satirical novel Ron Coyote, Man of La Mangia, Ron Coyote is the idealist, the dreamer out to change the immoral world and his companion Pancho Sanza is practical, naughty, and hedonistic. The two engage in many amusing conversations, and their polarities in interests and values facilitate and support the humorous theme of the adult-oriented novel.

No easy formulas’ are in existence that can guarantee success to an author. One must find his (or her) writing style and voice through years of experimenting, rejection, frustration and failure before fame and fortune become realistic products of your labor. But most importantly, accept criticism from knowledgeable editors, admit you’ve made mistakes and learn something from them.

Writing a novel is not a task; it is a labor of love that is an ongoing project. If writing seems tedious and too much like work, you’d be better off writing letters or newspaper’ ads than attempting to professionally author a book. Novel writing is like a sickness that you love to do. It is mental madness that must be completed, and while in progress, your book is the most important thing in your life that exists on a higher plane than even food and oxygen.

Characters alone do not make a good story. Plots and subplots by themselves do not make a good novel. Novel writing is akin to the double helix DNA’ model. Characters on one strand and plots and subplots on a second strand wrap around each other in an upward spiral, forming a symbiotic relationship. Together their chemistry should unite in a synergy that builds and expands and reinforces itself from chapter one until the final chapter’s last sentence. Good characters need good plots and subplots, and good plots and subplots need good characters. One factor cannot sustain a strong novel without the aid of the other. It all sounds quite simple, doesn’t it?

Okay, your sci-fi’ novel now has terrific characters, both protagonists and antagonists, and an extraordinary plot and well-synchronized subplots moving upward in a well’ organized pyramid structure. Congratulations! You now have seventy percent of the elusive good novel’ writing’ mystery solved. But remember that the fiction book’ industry itself is also a giant pyramid, and only the top three percent of the "damned’ hard-working" authors at the apex of the writing matrix make the big bucks. To enter into their eminent 3% domain you have to be better than the 97% of "wanna’ be’s" in the base of overcrowded writer’s pyramid. This is where diligence in pursuing excellence must be honored and implemented.

Setting is another crucial element of novel writing that novice’ writers take for granted. My editors at the literary agency kept reminding me, "Everything that is said, all dialogue, must have a definite time and place where the characters are exchanging conversation. You can’t state something like ‘Tom Smith once told Bob Jones that Jones was incompetent’." When did Tom say that?

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Copyright© 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 Jay Dubya, All rights reserved. No part of this may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the author.

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