Writing A Novel? Easier Than You Think.

Tony Ollivier
6 min readAug 14, 2019

Applying butt to chair with a word deadline works wonders

image courtesy of Pixabay

Tom Wolfe squeezed out only 135 words a day; Hemingway averaged 500.

Both guys didn’t have the internet pounding on their door. Netflix wasn’t screaming for a novel they could monetize into a TV series. Both guys didn’t give a rat’s ass. They wrote to a schedule and a quota and with paper and pencil.

Photo from Wikipedia — Papa Hemingway

They were Tom Wolfe and Ernest Hemingway. I’m not and you aren’t either.

But, I have a novel coming out this year. My first. And I have five other novels in various stages of draft, waiting for the right time and inspiration to turn them into saleable products. My drafts are above 50,000 words with a beginning, middle and mostly an ending with interesting characters and quirky plot lines. Too quirky, one agent told me.

I also work full time in a corporate job with two teenagers, a wife and a mortgage.

My about-to-be-published book gave me license to tell people I’m a writer. But most people I talk to say “I’d like to write one but could never do it.

Yes, you can. But realize like the first time you made someone dinner or had sex, your first won’t be that good (unless you are Diana Gabaldon; Outlander was her first and a hit!)

But I get it. When my friends say “I could never do it”, they mean “I wouldn’t know where to start.”

You do. You just don’t realize it. Your chain smoking aunt that works at Walmart? She’s a character. The struggle you face trying to get your 96-year-old with mild Alzheimer’s into an old folks’ home and the siblings aren’t in agreement? That’s a story.

Image by Jan Steiner from Pixabay

A story needs a beginning, middle and end. Your chain smoking aunt goes to work, sees a man carrying oxygen while he’s shopping and decides to change her life and stop smoking. That’s a story.

“But remember, when I said your first…