Go to Work on an Oeuvre – additional thoughts on copywriting novelists (Chapter One)

Sorry for the deafening silence. Nat’s been in Istanbul, and I (Lol) was in Cornwall, ‘working on my ouevre’, as it were. Well, let’s just say the idea for novel number three is slowly going from embryo to foetus, but we’re still a very long way off the crazy cravings. OK, I think I’ve sucked the life out of that analogy now. Anyway, having just seen the article on copywriting novelists in last week’s Campaign, I wanted to add a few thoughts into the mix. Being as I’ve written a whole piece on this before I’m going to spread them out into ‘chapters’ rather than reproduce the whole lot here. Firstly, I think it’s worth paying homage to all the other novel-writing creatives that weren’t mentioned in John’s article:

Augusten Burrows – Dry

Joshua Ferris – Then we came to the end

Matt Beaumont – E, The E before Christmas

Al Maccuish – The Ministry of Letters (childrens book, yet to find a home but he also has many TV projects coming into fruition)

Gordon Comstock (OK so he’s fiction, but he did leave his copywriting job to become a poet. See Orwell’s Keep the Aspadistra Flying. )

And some others… Peter Mayle, Don DeLillo, Ogden Nash, Victor Pelevin, Dashiell Hammett, Antonia White, and recently, Jonathan Durden…

If I’ve missed any others, feel free to share.

As an aside…. having just read John Tylee’s article, I feel the need to make a slight tweak to my comment that ‘it was never a burning desire’ to write. What I probably meant to say there was that I’ve never been one of those novelists who has six half-finished manuscripts perishing under their bed, and who has gone to lots of creative writing classes. I was always really intimidated by all that so I’ve been making it up in a hurry as I go along (which probably shows).

So in some ways I feel I don’t deserve the fact I’ve been published because I somehow haven’t ‘suffered’ enough for it yet – although getting nine rejection emails is no picnic. I guess it all came as a surprise. Having to frantically write the second half of book one in about a month kind of forced me to discover how to write. It’s amazing what a deadline can do to you. So for what it’s worth my tip to anyone wanting to write a book is to impose a few false deadlines on yourself. In the absence of a real deadline, it’s the only way you’ll get the fear that you need to inspire you. Speaking of deadlines we’ve got a radio ad to write. Back soon.

TBC…

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