Utter steaming piles

JONATHAN FRANZEN’S 10 RULES
FOR NOVELISTS


1.
The reader is a friend, not an adversary, not a spectator.

Allegra sez bullshit.

THE READER IS – unless you’re handing the book to her for free – a person trapped in an exchange with you because of capitalism. The reader buys your words and consumes your words for entertainment. Whether your words stay bought — that is, under your control — is an open question. If you want total control you have no readers. Franzen, having achieved conventional publishing success, seems to have forgotten the market’s role in bringing his privilege to our doorstops.

2.
Fiction that isn’t an author’s personal adventure into the frightening or the unknown isn’t worth writing for anything but money.

Allegra says that Dorothy Dunnett sent that one packing in the sixties, and Jonathan Franzen can go fuck himself.

3.
Never use the word then as a conjunction—we have and for this purpose. Substituting then is the lazy or tone-deaf writer’s non-solution to the problem of too many ands on the page.

ALLEGRA BELLOWS, looks sheepish, yeah, check out any fanfic if you are disbelieving.

4.
Write in third person unless a really distinctive first-person voice offers itself irresistibly.

ALLEGRA SEZ this is advice I mostly take.

5.
When information becomes free and universally accessible, voluminous research for a novel is devalued along with it.

ALLEGRA TESTILY SEZ

Oh no it fucking isn’t. ‘Information’ is not free and universally accessible. THERE ARE STILL BARRIERS TO ENTRY. Research, strangely enough, takes imagination, NOT JUST ACCESS which as I mentioned is not contiguous through human lands.

6.
The most purely autobiographical fiction requires pure invention. Nobody ever wrote a more autobiographical story than The Metamorphosis.

Allegra thinks about her tea getting cold and says

Mmmm, not so sure about this. It sounds good but I suspect there’s no support structure for that elegant idea.

7.
You see more sitting still than chasing after.

Allegra says BUT YOU DON’T CATCH THE IDEAS YOU DON’T CHASE

8.
It’s doubtful that anyone with an Internet connection at his workplace is writing good fiction.

OKAY YOU PRIVILEGED PIECE OF GARBAGE HUMAN, YOU CAN SHUT THE FUCK UP NOW

9.
Interesting verbs are seldom very interesting.

ALLEGRA SAYS I’m looking forward to antlering Mr. Franzen.

10.
You have to love before you can be relentless.

NOPE. You have to hate. Or be a toddler.

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Allegra

Born 1958. Not dead yet.

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