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Funny / How NOT to Write a Novel

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  • The whole book is highly quotable, giving us such lines as "Giving a reader a sex scene that is only half right is like giving her half of a kitten. It is not half as cute as a whole kitten; it is a bloody, godawful mess."
  • "By 2005, 'World Wide Web' was starting to sound like something Mr. Burns would say to Smithers."
  • "This particular blunder is known as deus ex machina, which is French for 'Are you fucking kidding me?'"
    • Later: "This type of ending is a special instance of deus ex machina, known as the folie adieu, which is French for 'Are you FUCKING kidding me?'"
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    • The example for the folie adieu. Going from light-hearted romance to horror in one paragraph isn't sexy or scary, it's hilarious.
  • The authors certainly have a way of getting their point across. After a lengthy explanation of why something is a bad idea, they'll often finish off with a creative way of saying, "Just in case all that didn't convince you — the bottom line is, no editor is going to accept this."
    • "If John somehow turns into a different man and we do not witness that transformation, the editor considering your novel will somehow turn into an editor considering a different novel."
    • "The editor, though, does not have time to become desensitized between thinking 'Oh, this is one of those second-person things' and chuckling to himself as he thinks 'You are now rejecting this novel.'"
    • "While we understand that you are looking forward to the moment when an editor calls to ask what your novel means, and is so taken with your brilliance that he offers you a seven-book contract on the spot—we checked, and this is never going to happen."
    • "Whether you are expressing a private conviction or just being shocking, you will never make it to the shelves. An editor might sit up and take notice, but only because he knows that while it only takes a minute to reject your novel, he will be dining out on the story of how repellent you are for years to come."
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  • A Test: Do I Know This Word? Ask yourself: "Do I know this word?" If the answer is no, then you do not know it.
  • On the subject of proofreading:
    Some manuscripts end up looking like the label on a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s. This doesn’t just happen to the manuscripts of writers with abysmal spelling and punctuation skills; it is often because an author hasn’t bothered to correct all the typos.
    You have to correct all the typos.
    Surprise Quiz
    How many of the typos do you have to correct?
    1. None of the typos
    2. Some of the typos
    3. All of the typos
  • "Writers who try to write from the point of view of a character who is smarter than they are should consider asking that character if this is a good idea before proceeding."
  • "Dear Penthouse Letters" shows just how needed foreplay is for erotica by going from describing Cinderella's Disneyesque bedroom to suddenly having Prince Charming naked and saying "Suck me".

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