How to write a novel in one easy step


All great novelists have fame and fortune, so I knew it was the career for me. Unfortunately, I can’t name any great novelists, since they don’t often make an appearance on daytime television.


But I knew a not-so-great novelist. So I gathered my wits, and then sat down for a nap because that took so long. And then I went to ask my not-so-great-novelist friend how to write a novel. I walked to the nearest gutter and pulled up the resident by the collar.


“How do you write a novel?” I shouted.


I knew he would be able to instruct me because he had three attributes all novelists have. One, he had patches on the elbows of his coat. Two, he had a beard. Three, he smoked a pipe. At least I assume he smoked a pipe. He smoked everything he came across, and sometimes he just smoked, so I assume he smoked a pipe.


He looked at me with understanding, if someone’s pupils bouncing back and forth across his eyes could be interpreted as understanding.


“Of course!” he said enthusiastically before falling back in the gutter.


I pulled him up and set him on the curb.


“So,” he said, “you want to write a novel. First, write about what you know,” he said, swaying in the breeze, “so it shouldn’t take very long.”


“Take anyone very long, or just me?” I asked.


“Just you,” he said. I put on my happiest face at his encouragement. My happiest face included my tongue sticking out. That didn’t faze him though.


“Do you have any ideas for a plot?” He asked. Now that’s what I wanted him to ask.


“I want to live on my own cruise ship,” I said.


“In real life, or in your novel?”


“Either way.”


“Do you know the difference between reality and fiction?”


I decided this was the best time to wrinkle my brow and look off in the distance, in the habit of our recent presidents. Just like many with those presidents, he mistook my contemplative look for confusion.


“Fiction doesn’t happen,” he said.


I stifled my horror with a yawn.


 “Maybe writing a novel isn’t for me after all,” I said.


“Sure it is!” He said. “I once wrote a great novel!”


“Oh, was it published?”


“No. The editor said I needed to ‘flesh it out’ but I never would write something so low brow. Here, take a look.” With that he reached inside his coat and pulled out some rumpled sheets of paper. I unfolded them and found the novel to be a page and a half.


“This is it?” I asked.


“Sure,” he said. “When I get this published, I’ll be ranked up there with Shakespeare and Milton.”


“They didn’t write novels,” I said.


With that he pushed me in the gutter. Having nothing else to do, I read his ‘novel.’ My novel had a better ending.