One foot in another world: discovering what it is to be a novelist

Nail Your Novel

freya hartas carl has the funk‘I’ve been working on a novel,’ he said, and worlds collided.

I have such conversations all the time, but never in that place. I was freelancing on the magazine where once upon a time I was a full-time sub-editor. It was a day of facts, punctuation, page proofs, libel-watching, house style, hard news and deadlines.

Then one of the desk editors told me he’d started a novel and we jumped universes.

First he told me he’d had a story idea. An idle ‘what if’ moment; an entertaining daydream. Then, purely to keep track, it became necessary to write it down.

One day he discovered a book that seemed made for this situation (not Nail Your Novel; we need to have words about that). Before then, he hadn’t known that author manuals existed. He hadn’t done writing exercises since his journalism training, but now he found himself drawing up character…

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