Good Narrative Principles

Women Rule the Reading World


IMG_6131I was at Notre Dame the same time as Nicholas Sparks. And while I didn’t break any track records nor receive a full ride based on my ability to outrun or out jump others as he had, we did attend a handful of classes together. I mention this because every night between the hours of nine and midnight, I hammer out three pages minimum of an historical romance set during the tempestuous and stormy years of the Wild West. It was to my mind, a great time to be a woman with a bent towards adventure.

Just like Nicholas Sparks, I don’t believe in outlines or too much research. It can bog you down. But I do believe in ritual as a way to coax the forces, or whatever you want to call it, to favor me. For instance, whenever I start a new chapter I wear my lucky underwear and socks. Don’t know how these articles of clothes became imbued with the aura of luck but there you have it. I’m stuck with it. I used to go to the gym after dinner and work up a sweat between the hours of nine and ten. Since I’ve taken up writing, I’ve packed on a few pounds and so my lucky underwear pinches my man parts. The socks are red wool — great in the winter but a source of blisters come summer. I could use another lucky object, preferably something a bit more comfortable to help me steer this unwieldy novel safely to harbor.

My wife believes that I should consider writing in another genre, say detective novels or fantasy. But if, like they say, fiction is a supermarket, then I want to be in the aisle with the most shoppers. (Title provided by: Tim Duch)

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