The noble art of novel writing: The Tendell method

september 14, 2013 kl. 5:01 e m | Publicerat i Skrivande | 4 kommentarer


Do you need to read this?

Seven billion humans don’t. Either because they already are successful authors or because they are preoccupied with other things than writing novels in their spare time.

It is my wild guess that only one in a thousand actually try to write novels. A whole lot more probably have dreams concerning novel writing, but it stops there.

Now is the time when you need to identify yourself.

Are you a novel writer?


Reading the rest might take a while, and there are so many other things to do that perhaps can make your life even more worth living, so please confirm: Are you sure that you are a novel writer? Do you really want to get published?



Connecting cyberspace with human…


You’re one in a thousand on planet Earth.

You are gifted, talented, basically made of the right stuff.

You are an amazing creature.

You are capable of writing awesome things.

But, hey, it’s hard to get published.

Yeah. As if you didn’t know already …

Have many times have you been turned down?

One time? Two times? More?

And it will never happen again, right?

Yeah. You’ll show them …

You’ll show them that you can write.

You can write a good novel.

No. Not a good novel. You can write a goddamn bestseller.


All you have to do is relax and listen to my advice.

Who am I?

I’m a guy who is writing a bestselling novel.

How do I know it will sell?

I realized it last night when I took my creating method and made some serious changes to it.

If anyone else can benefit from my method, it’s my pleasure. I know what it’s like to be a writer and getting letters of rejection.

I deserved the ones I got.

As a writer, I wasn’t ready.

But now, I feel more ready than ever.


First: Decide the genre and stick to it. If the novel can be presented belonging to a certain genre, it’s easier for a potential reader, who for the moment prefers that genre, to assume that the novel will fulfill her or his needs.

Second: Figure out the basic story, with or without having an idea of how it’s gonna end. Just create the main character or characters and the main conflict or conflicts. Write a short text that could use as a teaser on the back of the book or at the internet book selling site. If you can’t make that text sound interesting, it has probably to do with lack of real conflict in the story.

Does the character want something to happen or stop something from happen? Is it very important to her or him? So important that she or he is ready to fight for it? Is there someone or something that hinders her or him from easily achieving what she or he wants to happen or not to happen? Who? What? A gangster squad? The authorities? An army? A rival? A predator? Demons? Zombies? The characters moral compass? A promise? A contract? Lack of money? Lack of food? Lack of fuel? A storm? A fire? An asteroid the size of Belgium?

Make sure you create a story that can result in an interesting teaser. That teaser will help you to stay focused when constructing more details of the story. If you use the teaser in the letter to the agent or the publisher it will also increase your chances of getting your whole manuscript read by that agent or publisher.

Third: Write a synopsis. Three pages. Fifteen pages. Who cares? What matters is that you get a grip of the whole novel, including the end.

Choose an end that both completes the story and admits the story to evolve into a trilogy. If the first book becomes a bestseller, number two and three will almost automatically result in high sales. Publishers love high sales. What about you?

Fourth: You have a genre, you have a teaser, you have a synopsis. You are ready to write a novel. Now, go for it! Your words might suck. It doesn’t matter. Write thousands of words that suck. Fifty thousand. That will be enough for a start, but if you have more words in your blood, pour those words out on the pages. But do not go beyond one hundred thousand words. Enough is enough. Less is more.

Fifth: Keep chapters short. Approximately no more than one thousand words long. If you have chapters that are too long, split them. Each and every chapter don’t have to end with a brilliant cliffhanger. The chapter size itself can help the novel to become a page turner, because when the reader soon finds out that the book is made of short chapters, it’s easier for her or him to decide that she or he will probably have time to finish one more chapter before the subway train arrives at 34th Street, before gate 17 at the airport opens for boarding or before it’s time to put the book on the bedside table (and you want them to read just one more chapter, and then just one more chapter, and then just …)

A reader who makes it to the last page and feels good about the experience might talk with enthusiasm about it to others, and that kind of recommendations might have an even greater effect on sales than any marketing budget.

Sixth: Edit your novel four times, each time with a different focus. The focuses are drama, dialogue, description and rhythm.


Are there enough reason for your characters to do what they do? If not, give them that reason.

Are things going too well for them? Make them suffer more. Create more conflicts, obstacles, dilemmas.

Are the characters three-dimensional? Do the good guys have dark sides? Are the bad guys nice sometimes? If not, make some change.


Do your characters have individual ways of expressing themselves or is it you who talk all the time? Think about it.

Do every dialogue have one or two lines that will become cult? Ok, that was a tough one, but are there any memorable lines at all in your novel? Hard, cool, crazy or witty lines that someone in the real world would like to repeat with her or his tongue?

Are long dialogues combined with action so that the reader is reminded of where the characters are or what they are doing while speaking? If not, make dialogues more alive by putting in some action now and then, he said and handed her the bread basket. Oh, now I get it, she said and took a parmesan oregano.


Are your characters described with enough personal traits (hair, face, body, clothes, footwear, accessories) (no need, though, to use all of them) so that a reader probably could have pointed out a character accurately in a photograph of the character and seven random people lined up against a wall? Make your characters identifiable and thereby more alive.

Are time and place and light and sound and smell and taste and touch not only described as facts, but sometimes also in terms of how they affect the minds of the characters? Try it.


Take a timeout. Then read your novel aloud and make adjustments.

Make it whenever you feel like, hmm, this ain’t got the flow.

Help your readers flow through the world you create for them.

Do your magic.


I wish you the best

Håkan Tendell



4 kommentarer »

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  1. NO

  2. Exactly the kind of pep talk someone like me happened to be in need of right now, so thanks a bunch!

  3. You’re welcome.
    Go with the flow.

  4. Some genuinely wonderful articles on this site, thankyou for contribution.


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