100 Days (Or Less) Part Fourteen:Day Nine

Day Nine

1. Write.
2. Write more.
3. Write even more.
4. Write even more than that.
5. Write when you don’t want to.
6. Write when you do.
7. Write when you have something to say.
8. Write when you don’t.
9. Write every day.
10. Keep writing.

Brian Clark


You now have made:

A commitment to writing your book
Developed a working schedule
Know what your story is
Have developed a number of characters
Thought of a plot of the entire story
Have a short narrative of what your book is about

Take the day off. This is the first of the Coyne Holidays. Time to let your book brew in your subconscious while you decide if you want to continue the course, invest money and yourself in How To Write A Novel In 100 Days or Less.

To help you decide, I am including now a sample chapter Day 17 of the 100 Days (or Less) of writing your book. You will see what sort of instruction and information I am giving in this on-line writing course. Reading it should help you come to a decision: is this the best way for me to get my book written and published.

I want to add one more point.  I think that if you want to write a ‘literary’ novel then this course is not for you. If you want to write a commercial book that will appeal to a wide audience of readers there is much in these remaining 90 Days that will help you get your book written and published. Remember, you don’t need to have written a book to get into heaven. But if you write a book it will always be yours, up there on the book shelf, and proof to you–and everyone else–that you see the world larger than just your own life, that you have the imagination and the creative juices to create something out of nothing. That is, my friend, no small achievement.

Day Seventeen

“Every story has a storyteller.”

John Coyne


William Faulkner called the “point of view” the source of a story. Point of view is a term of art which refers to the relationships between the storyteller, the story, and the reader.

We tell our stories from a point of view: first-person, third-person, close up, distant. (You can also find stories, usually short stories, told from the second-person, “you” point, which is unusually and extremely difficult to pull off as a narrative for a longer book.)

There are many points of view and you can drive yourself crazy trying to understand ‘what is what’ when it comes to telling your story. But this is your first book and I want you to make simple selections, and limit the options. (When you finish this book, you can begin to experiment with other points-of-view.)

So, we’ll decide on which way works best for you and your book.

Third Person Omniscient Point-of-View

This is when the author (you!) know everything about the characters, all the characters and what they are doing and thinking, and can comment on whatever is happening in your story. You can also have what is called Third Person Limited where you only know one character’s thoughts, and nothing of what the other characters are thinking.

You can also have the Objective Point of View. Here the writer (you!) tells what is happening through the story’s action or what the characters say, but never tells what the characters are thinking. As a writer, you are simply an observer. This is best for a story that is mostly action and dialogue. Take a look at Hemingway’s short story, “Hills Like White Elephants” for a good example of this direct observer. You can find it as:  http://www.gummyprint.com/blog/archives/hills-like-white-elephants-complete-story/

First Person Point-of-view

There are two possible first-persons approaches.

The person telling the story, the I is the main character. Think of Catcher in the Rye.

Or the person telling the story, the I, is an observer of the main character. Think of The Great Gatsby.

How I write my novels!

For the last few years, I have been writing a series of golf novels. Two recent ones are The Caddie Who Knew Ben Hogan and The Caddie Who Played With Hickory. Both are told in the first person.

Here are the opening paragraphs from these two novels:

“Memories are magic. Our lives come back to us with the edges smoothed out, those long-ago days all sunny and bright with southern breezes and sapphire skies, and we hardly notice the dark and threatening clouds that frame the picture.”

 The Caddie Who Knew Ben Hogan (2006)

“As I’ve grown older I have come to realize that what is most important to me is not what I daily forget but what I remember. And what I recall from years ago comes back to me so intensely that I imagine I can reach back through time and distance and change with a few words, a gesture, or even a smile, the lives we all once lived.”

The Caddie Who Played With Hickory (2008)

I used the first-person in these stories as I wanted the immediacy of the “I” in telling the story. Nostalgic in tone, the “I” gives me an intimacy with the material, and to the reader.

It is not necessary that you tell your story from the first-person. The natural inclination for most of us is to write our novel in the third-person, telling the story from the viewpoint of an outsider. It is an effective device and allows you to move about more freely with the material.

In my occult/horror novels, (I’ve written eight) I used the third-person. Here is the opening short paragraph of my second horror novel, The Searing.

“In the patch of woods above the river, the white-tailed doe woke with the sun. She raised her delicate head and sniffed the wind. She caught the scent of rabbit a hundred feet higher on the hill and heard a beaver slap the water as it slid from the shore into the river. These creatures she did not fear.”

 The Searing (1980)

It is interesting to read what Ernest Hemingway has to say about the difference in point of view. Hemingway told John Atkins (The Art of Ernest Hemingway) that it is easier to write in the first person. Hemingway said, “When I wrote the first two novels (The Sun Also Rises and Torrent of the Spring) I had not learned to write in the third person. The first person gives you great intimacy in attempting to give a complete sense of experience to the reader. It is limited however and in the third person the novelist can work in other people’s heads and in other people’s country.”

Writing Trick: Jacques Barzun who taught at Columbia University and wrote wonderful books on becoming a writer had this good advice: “Convince yourself that you are working in clay, not marble, on paper, not eternal bronze: let that first sentence be as stupid as it wishes. No one will rush out and print it as it stands. Just put it down; then another. Your whole first paragraph or first page may have to be guillotined after your piece is finished: but there can be no second paragraph (which contains your true beginning) until you have a first.”

Your Assignment: Decide whether you want to write in the first person or third person. The way you decide is by asking yourself: “am I comfortable telling my story this way?” The decision is as simple as that.

Writing Log: Words Written____

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