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10 Rules For Novelists From The Greatest Living American Writer

  1. If you are writing a novel, remember that all your competition has already died, except for Joyce Carol Oates, who is undead. Your enemies are watching you via a porthole from hell, and they are envious.

  2. The reader is your enemy, for they are idiots who sometimes watch TV. The only acceptable TV is “The Sopranos,” which you are permitted to watch at the library on a portable DVD player borrowed from your partner, also a novelist.

  3. Do not use a computer, or a typewriter, or an electric typewriter. Only write longhand, in pen, on parchment obtained for you via secret channels by your beleaguered manservant, Roger.

  4. Intermittently change the points-of-view of your characters to make it seem like they are cats who are living through the apocalypse.

  5. Never use the verb “to be” and never say “to be continued.” Novels are self-contained entities, like sandwiches that you refuse to eat because they aren’t expensive enough when your agent takes you out to lunch. There’s no ifs, ands, or buts about this.

  6. When darkness falls upon the night of the full moon, gaze out the window and sweat nervously as you feel the change coming on.

  7. As you sit in the park and feed leftover pizza crust to the pigeons, your only friends, you will have profound insight.

  8. The Internet, a series of tubes, cannot replace the joy of sitting in a dark basement with yellowed documents that only you can understand.

  9. The power of love is a curious thing. Makes one man weep, and another man sing.

  10. It does not matter what you write, for Mother Nature has risen up to reclaim all human civilization. Your words will be buried under a great storm of fire and water and mud. Also, you cannot top me. Abandon hope, for I am the Greatest Living American Writer, now and forever.

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