Writing a novel is something a lot of people say they would love to do, but only a fraction of them ever get it done. As November closed National Novel Writing Month, two tech faculty members who have published novels shared their tips for other aspiring novelists to make it to the end.
“The challenge I’ve always felt the most when writing a book is finding the time,” said Ted Pelton, professor of technical English. “A novel is something you have to live, breathe and even dream of in order to get down to paper and solve all your problems.
“It’s very rare that you can find someone to pay you to write one, and so most of the time you’re struggling in the rare days off that you can find for work and other obligations. Unless you’re rich, I guess, but I don’t have any information to share on that, ”he joked.
Pelton has published one novel and two short stories, as well as over 50 short stories. Her novel has been hailed by American Book Review as “a touching, trendy and complex journey”. One of the keys to finishing a story, he says, is not to get discouraged when the first draft is a mess.
“The book is as big and ugly as Frankenstein’s monster with a bad head cold. But you have been learning all this time and you realize that now you really know what the essence of your book is. Take everything you know and hit it hard from the top again. Write it as it should have been written the first time, ”he said.
“The first part is to make the story known; the second part is the review, redesign and general problem solving of the book.
Troy Smith, associate professor of history at Tech, has also written a number of novels and short stories, primarily in the western / historical fiction, mystery / crime, or science fiction genres. He’s won the Western Writers of America Spur Award twice, once for best novel and once for best short story.
“Write the kind of stories you want to read,” Smith said. “Don’t expect to get rich, or even make a living, but write anyway. Use your stories to convey your perspectives on the world around you and the human condition, without it being too obvious.
“Be a keen observer of human nature and behavior. Be a careful observer of your heart and soul.