Monday, July 29, 2019

A Guide to Writing Your Next Novel

Writing a novel is hard no matter how many times you've done it. I'm currently working on my fifth and my brain, as always, refuses to cooperate. I've lit candles and made blood sacrifices, but every time I sit down to write I end up asking myself the same questions: "Why? How the hell did I do this last time? How do you even words? Why is the good stuff in my head incapable of showing up on the page?" I know all writers go through this, and that's why I'm happy to be sharing this guide with you all. It's been working wonders for me. Hopefully it'll do the same for you:

Guide to writing your next novel:

1. Stand in the middle of the road in a strange part of town and scream "Everything's a construct!" at the top of your lungs.

2. Read amazing novels and get angry because you'll never be that good and maybe no one loves you. Maybe you're really a hack.

3. Get inside your blood. Find the ghosts that ride your veins and fight them. Let them win the fist round. Then get up and destroy them.

4. Pull your deepest fears outta the bottom drawer of your soul and staple them to your face with the sharpened bones of tiny birds.

5. Listen to your favorite music. Then listen to something impossibly darker. Listen to something new. Listen to something awful and scary. Listen to the ominous silence. Listen to the blood pounding in your head. Listen to music from movies you've never seen. Listen to atmospheric black metal while walking around the woods at night holding a knife.

6. Eat tacos and ponder life without soy sauce or garlic or salsa.

7. Remind yourself of every fight, every accident, every dance with absolute fear, every instance in which a fucking gun made an unexpected appearance, every night spent pressing your tongue against the blood clots on the inside of your lips, every broken promise, every drop of anger, every death that crushed you, every spirit you've ever felt, every broken relationship, every second of crushing loneliness, every night spent battling a fever, every letdown, every frustration, every fucking nightmare.

8. Punch a wall until your knuckles bleed. Lick the blood off your knuckles. Punch the wall some more. Remember no one owes you a thing. Smile. Pick up a gutter flower and put it in your hair. Tell the world you can do this. Tell yourself you can do this. Do this.

9. Type as if the keyboard owed you money. When you hit a passage that means something, hold your breath and keep going. Kill every meaningless word. Slice every unnecessary word.

10. Reply to the voices in your head. Recognize aliens are real. They live in the closet and come out to watch you sleep sometimes. Scream at the moon. Understand that, if there is a hell, its fire is nothing compared to what you hide underneath your skin. Obsess about everything. Cry without shedding any tears. Finish the damn thing. Move on to the next one with a new set of neon scars.


Gabino Iglesias is a writer, professor, book reviewer, and journalist living in Austin, TX. He is the author of ZERO SAINTS and COYOTE SONGS. You can find him on Twitter at @Gabino_Iglesias. 

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