Saint Matthew and the Angel by Caravaggio

3 Tips for Writing Novels

1) Ask yourself: Why am I writing this novel? To quote Robertson Davies: “There is absolutely no point in sitting down to write a book unless you feel that you must write that book, or else go mad, or die.” An extreme statement, but that is the passion I feel when I embark on writing a novel. “An idea, like a ghost, must be spoken to a little before it will explain itself,” said Charles Dickens. Not all of these ghosts of an idea take form in the writer’s mind, but when they do and become unshakable, they must be explored and brought to light. It relates to what Michelangelo said: “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” 

2) Don’t write a novel for the sake of making money. If financial success happens, great. We all want to profit from our artistic efforts. But the priority should always be: write from your heart to produce authentic meaningful art. 

3) Don’t listen to me. Listen to the voices inside your head. Not psychotic voices. I explore that concept in my novel God, Sex & Psychosis. What I mean is the voices of those who have inspired you to become a writer – your artist heroes. These are the voices, the muses, who will gift you with inspiration when you delve into the creative zone or, what Jung called, the collective unconscious. 

“To write the text you have to live in the myth of it.”
— John Fowles.

Featured image: Saint Matthew and the Angel by Caravaggio