Novel School

Last month Louise Doughty (apparently a widely acclaimed author, although if I had a nickel for every widely acclaimed author I haven’t heard of I would be far better off than I am today) began a column on, essentially, how to write a novel in a year.

Throughout 2006, I will be writing a column in this newspaper called Write a Novel in a Year. Can you write a novel in a year? Well, yes, if you don’t do much else and you work hard and are talented.

But in actual fact, if you follow the column, and do the exercises I set (yes, exercises) what you will end up with will not be a novel, it won’t even be the first draft of a novel, it will be a body of work, the raw material, which you may one day be able to shape and work on until it becomes a book.

It seems like an interesting idea, and the Telegraph has even set up a message board for the project, but I’m not entirely sure how it’s going to fly. For instance, a quick search of the Telegraph’s site for Doughty’s name only yields the one column. How are we to follow her advice if we can’t find it? Maybe it’s for print customers only. That woud be a shame.


Writer. Editor. Critic.

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