How To … Write a Best-Selling Novel
Are you a budding writer, plagued by self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy? Do you spend endless hours staring a blank computer screen praying for inspiration? Being the Good Samaritans we are, we’ve decided to help you. We understand it’s a daunting task. You put your heart and soul on the line and open yourself up to a potential endless stream of rejection and ridicule. We want better for you, Dear Reader, and so we’ve compiled a list of simple steps you can take to turn yourself from a penniless nobody to a millionaire author.
◊ Forget Everything You’ve Learned
The masses do not like to be talked down to. An author with a competent grasp of the English language will just intimidate and anger. They’ll think you’re a fancy-pants poshie, who thinks you’re better than them. Dumb everything you say down. Repeat adjectives and verbs like they’re moments away from going out of fashion. Forget about respectable – hell, basic! – sentence formation. Abandon grammar. Write like someone who can’t write so that readers feel you’re one of them.
◊ The Helpless Heroine
God forbid that you’d create a likable, even inspirational, female character. Admirable heroines are old news, man! You need to write a weak and helpless female lead. But she must create a veneer of independence at the same time, to keep crazy feminists off your back. Have her talk about wanting to be self-sufficient now and again before you thrust her into another situation where she screws up and needs a man to save her. Also have her talk about her favourite book because girls who read have depth. Make sure it’s an old classic like Pride and Prejudice, which has a heroine so far from yours that it just highlights further how ridiculously irritating she is.
◊ The Misogynist Male Lead
You need a guy who can put a woman in her place. There’s no room in a best-selling novel for a liberal modern man who believes women are equal and capable of running their own lives or having opinions. He must be devastatingly handsome, brooding, rude – a bit of a dick, really. Making him super rich will make him even more appealing. On top of that, he should also be incredible intelligent, but a lover of music/art/literature or possible in possession of a talent in one of those fields so that he has that sensitive side that will erase the fact that he’s a hideous person. Your other option is a leading man with no backbone, who spends the entire book pining for and running after the girl.
◊ Think ‘Tragedy’
You need a really good weepy scene. Kill off one of the love interests or a child if you like a really big finish. Drag it out and make it unbearably heartbreaking so that readers sob uncontrollably. They’ll then tell other people how sad it is and they’ll buy the book because a lot of people like to have things on stand-by when they want a good cry. This will also rope in people who like a good challenge. They’ll read it to see if they cry and if they don’t that gives them the opportunity to be smug and criticise the book and those who cried at it. People love criticising and feeling superior.
◊ The Big Screen
A sure-fire way of getting your book to that number one spot is to sell the movie rights. People can’t bear to be left out of a fad, so once a movie is made they’ll rush to buy the book. Also movies dumb books down for regular ‘non-readers’ so that they have a better chance of understanding the book. They’ll probably prefer the movie version though.
◊ Be Famous
Celebrities who write books are guaranteed best-sellers. Their fans buy them, their many ‘friends’ buy them. They’ll also cash in on of the population of people who like a proverbial car crash and will buy the book expecting it to be terrible, thus giving them the opportunity to laugh at/criticise the famous author. These people will usually get the best publishing deals, which can even turn into movie deals (I’m looking at you Cecelia Ahern). So if you’re planning on getting your book published, I recommend you join the cast of a reality show or flash the camera during a live TV news report first.
Readers who have been positively affected by Catherine’s How To are reminded to send gift baskets and handsome escorts. Readers who have been adversely affected are reminded that this How To is for entertainment purposes only and any loss of principles after reading is purely coincidental.