Five amazing tips to help you write your novel

by Rachel Baker on April 16, 2014

Alice Hoffman has written more than twenty novels, most of which are pretty good. One of my most favorite books, The Dovekeepers, is actually a Hoffman book. If you haven’t read it, its well worth the time.

For those of you working on “The Great American Novel”, here are five tips on how to begin writing.

1. Start with an image, perhaps a full moon, or a girl wearing a hooded sweat shirt running across the parkway, or two deer on the grass, startled by a sudden movement. It can be something you saw or something you dreamed. You passed by someone in the street crying. Her hair was braided and her eyes were rimmed red. You dreamed you held a bowl of strawberries and each one contained a secret, a story of its own.

2. Write lists. Start with random words, choosing the ones you love like oleander and aquamarine. Go on those that cause pinpricks of fear to rise on your skin: sorrow, graveyard, raven, slash. Write down the names of everything you’d like to find in a garden: roses, mint, rosemary, lemon verbena. List the cities you’ve always wanted to visit or the ones where you’d lived. Include street names, shops you spied when you drove through a town in New Jersey, alleyways in Boston. List the places you’ve longed for in your darkest hours: white beaches, a cafe in Paris next to Shakespeare and Company. Don’t forget names.

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