My thought for Today – Aphorism Number Four – Crawl Before you Walk: Walk Before you Run – isn’t at first sight much to do with writing a novel. On the other foot, how can you produce 80,000 words in good and attractive order if you’ve never strung a grammatical sentence together?
The skills needed to write a novel include the skills used in producing a novella, short story, letter home to Mum and, in my case, drama. They might not be used in the same way or in the same order, but they are the building blocks of a writer’s trade.
Selling that first novel, placing that first drama, is an exhilerating but scary business. Fast on the heels of the euphoria is a sinking feeling. How can I repeat this? How can I produce a second novel the publisher will also sign up? And that’s where the aphorism holds good.
Almost anyone could write a best selling one-off. It might be wonderful prose, or it might be wonderfully promoted. Stellar success is not always the result of slog although most of us recognise the actor’s favourite saying – “After twenty years in the business, I became an overnight sensation.”
If you have written for a long time, then you are likely to have the skills to fall back on to do it again. If you become a media darling in too short a time, it could be problematic. The Edinburgh Fringe can project stand-up comedians into their own tv show. They don’t always have the grounding or material to sustain that change in pace.
If you, the novelist, have worked on several themes over a period in writing short stories, then you have a resource to raid.
If you, the dramatist, have written one acts, you know how to re-write a slow scene into compelling dialogue.
If you the writer, crawled out of bed and walked to the corner shop for the milk, the brain should be ready to run with the impressions formed.