And the Disciple of the Mightiest of the Muses did descend from the heavens—or possibly Mount Olympus, Asgard, New York, or the Scottish Highlands, depending upon thy novel’s pantheon or setting—and did present two tablets (an Apple iPad and a Blackberry Playbook), saying unto those who toil at keyboards, with pencils, or upon smartphones, that from this day forward thou shalt treat the following commandments as divine inspiration and follow these precepts to the letter.
One Thou shalt begin all novels with thy heroine awakening and dwelling upon her life and her lack of future prospects. Thou shalt create great reader empathy if she be aware of her loneliness.
Two Thy heroine shall, at the earliest opportunity, reflect at length upon her own countenance in any available reflective surface. Her mouth shall be too generous, her nose too cute and upturned, her long hair too wavy, her eyes too cat-like, her cheekbones too defined, her breasts too large and her waist too small, her hips too curvy and her legs too long. She shall remark despairingly upon these shortcomings in soft, breathy tones, or a low, husky voice.
Three Thy heroine needeth only one brief first glance at thy hero, and no matter how uncouth or cruel he may seem, she shall see past his flaws and knoweth that he can be saved by the love of a good woman and also get for her a really big diamond engagement ring.
Four Thy heroine shall have a quirky best friend, either gay (if he be male) or overweight (if she be female), but never both.
Five Should thy heroine awaken to discover a strange man in her dimly lit bedroom, she shall not be so frightened that she does not admire his manly form which shall cause a stirring in her loins.
Six Should thy heroine arrive at her home to find the door ajar, she shall not use her cell phone to summon the police and await their arrival. Nay, she shall enter the premises unarmed save for the words, “Hello? Is anybody there?” because all malefactors are compelled by those magic words to announce, “Run! ’Tis I, thy evil stalker ex, come to kidnap thee.”
Seven Should thy heroine be fleeing for her life and such flight taketh her into a room she hath not seen before, even the most fleeting glance shall allow her to describe the room’s decor in detail, especially the richness of the drapes.
Eight Thou shalt not suffer any noun to go unmodified, nor shall any verb want for an adverb. Wherever possible, thou shalt modify adjectives with the adverbs “very” or “extremely”.
Nine Thou shalt describe persons, places, and other items in great detail though they have no true bearing upon thy story as they shall be deemed to addeth colour. Also, thou shalt insert large portions of backstory into thy opening chapter and include ALL research within thy novel.
Ten Thou shalt consider every word, even unto the smallest, to be sacred and steel thyself against the temptation to edit that may be held out to thee by false prophets of grammar, character motivation, and story structure.
And one final bonus commandment: Immediately upon completion of thy first draft, thou shalt prepare an email addressed “Dear Agent,” and send it far and wide throughout the land with thy wondrous novel attached.
Gina X. Grant writes wacky books featuring crazy creatures. She is represented by Rosemary Stimola, the agent who also represents The Hunger Games. All three books in Gina’s RELUCTANT REAPER trilogy release Summer 2013 from Simon and Schuster’s Pocket Star imprint. Previously, Gina wrote a different brand of book under the pen name Storm Grant.
Buy your copy wherever eBooks are sold!
Book 1. THE RELUCTANT REAPER, Death is what happens while you’re making other plans.
Book 2. SCYTHE DOES MATTER, Be careful what you wish for, it just might get you!
Book 3. ESPRIT DE CORPSE, Hell is where the heart is.