John Braine

You then begin the first draft.  As Hemingway said, all that matters about this is to finish it.  You must set yourself a target of at least sixty thousand words, you must write the maximum amount of words possible each session, you mustn’t revise, you mustn’t go back, you mustn’t check.  You must never miss a session;  if you do, you interrupt the flow.  It isn’t impossible to resume it, but it’ll slow you down for a while….

There are only three technical points to bear in mind.  You must have at least twenty chapters, each must end with a hook to draw you on into the next chapter, and you must end with a bang.  There must be nothing vague about the end of the novel.  If in doubt about the chapter ending, let it be as improbable and melodramatic as you like, provided only you don’t stop writing to think about it.  When you reach the end of the novel, it is permissible to slow down and to take some pains.  You will, in fact, discover that even if you didn’t know the end before ou began, you’ll know it long before you finish.  When the first draft is finished, you’re given your first reward, a sense of accomplishment…


As soon as you’ve finished the novel, give yourself one working week off, then spend the next three weeks planning your second novel.  You should have finished at least the first draft before your first novel is published.  And it should be absolutely different from the first.


Writing A Novel