If novel writing was a computer game

september 28, 2014 kl. 4:57 e m | Publicerat i Okategoriserade | 2 kommentarer

novel writing computer 2014

Introduction: Your goal is to write a best-selling novel.

Use the keys a – z to write letters that build words.

Press Space to make room between the words.

Press Enter to make room between suitable combinations of sentences.

You cannot play against the computer. Your competitors are humans, but there is no such thing as a sole winner: anyone who completes all the levels is a winner. And if you like, you are allowed to coop with one or several other players.

Level 1: Read some novels. Write something that in your opinion looks like a novel.

CONGRATULATIONS! Move on to level 2.

Level 2: Read more novels. Read tips about how to write a novel. Adjust your novel.

SPLENDID! You may enter level 3.

Level 3: Read even more novels. Read more tips about writing. Make more adjustments.

GOOD! Now go to level 4.

Level 4: Realize that you suck. Understand that you need not only to learn the rules, but also to apply them on your novel. For real.

If you in spite of everything think you have something that can become something, then save your pages as a draft from which you can be inspired.

If your novel is so bad that you are ashamed of it: erase it, delete it, tear it to pieces, burn it, make it disappear from planet Earth.

OK! Let’s write like a pro. Commence level 5.

Level 5: Choose a specific genre and decide to stick to it.

Create a character who the reader can sympathize with.

Let the reader know what your character’s goal is and make something happen that put your character in trouble and makes it harder for her/him to achieve her/his goal, or show the reader your character living just another ordinary day of life when something happens that can lead to an unpleasant, harmful or deadly result for her/him or somebody that she/he cares about.

Make your character do everything she/he is in power to do to make things right. As in life there should be limitations. A lot of people aren’t filthy rich, highly intelligent, multilingual, super strong, good looking, charming karate experts and the proud owners of a helicopter mounted machine gun. Some people have this and that but no one has everything. But let your character use what she/he has to the max.

Add extra problems for your character. All the time. All along the way. Physical obstacles. Bureaucracy. A complaining husband/wife/partner. Mean enemies. Time that is running out. Things that go wrong. Tough dilemmas. Conflict, conflict, conflict. On every page. How much conflict is enough? Too much is not enough.

WELL DONE! Head straight for level 6.

Level 6: Make people talk. A lot. Not so much to themselves as to other persons: so called dialogue. Lots of dialogue. Filled with stuff that increases the tension between characters, no matter if they are opponents or on the same side. Make them say cool or witty things that the reader would love to say if she/he ever would get into a similar situation in real life, no matter if she/he then would dare to actually say it.

NOW WE’RE TALKING! You are ready for the next level.

Level 7: Show, don’t tell. Or show, then tell. Or tell, then show. Anything is better than just telling. Let the reader experience the world through the senses of the character: what she/he experiences in terms of light, darkness, color, sound, vibration, wind, temperature, humidity, texture, weight, pain, smell and taste and how these things affects her/him.

AWESOME! Your work is almost done! Prepare for the final level.

Level 8: Read through your manuscript. Adjust whatever you think needs to be adjusted.

Send your manuscript to an agent or directly to a publisher.

Wait for answer. Read the answer. Feel free to get depressed. It’s ok. You have invested so much time and energy and heart in your novel. The whole world is against you. Yes. But you’re gonna show the world. Yes. You’re gonna show them what a great writer you are. What the heck do they want, huh? What the heck do they want? You’re gonna give them what they want! You’re gonna give them fantastic drama, hard-boiled dialogue and all the details necessary to make the story alive. Alive!

Do it.

Improve your manuscript.

Then send it out again.

Wait for answer.







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  1. Nicely put. Computer games are fun. As is novel-writing, I’m sure. It’s all in details, in the nice system of small rewards: The unlocking of another level, the acquiring of a much needed med-pack, the finding of a secret door, the hefty jug of sparkling champagne. Yup, it’s all great fun.

  2. Perhaps in the future Lara Croft will raid an old library, trying to collect words that can be put together to form a novel.


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