How is a novel born? What makes one decide to write such a lengthy composition? Why do writers write a work of fiction?
A colleague and friend of mine has recently written a novel, and I had the privilege of being the first one to read the final draft. That is when a barrage of questions started flooding my mind; questions that I had always carried within but never articulated thus far. Not being able to contain myself I asked my friend turned novelist some rather pointed questions about her new vocation. Her witty and wholesome answers but only whetted my curiosity about novel writers. Why do they write?
Does a writer start off knowing she is going to write a 500 page novel or does the novel simply grow out of what started as a short story? Do the pages of a novel grow to a plan or are they at the mercy of a character that breaks loose and takes the story hostage?
After pondering over these questions for the longest time and finding no palpable answers I turned to the big-wigs of Literature to see what they had to say about novelists and the writing of a novel... I'm not so sure that helped!
Toni Morrison put it this way: “If there’s a book you really want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”
Saul Bellow feels " A novel is balanced between a few true impressions and the multitude of false ones"
Faulkner says "every novelist wants to write poetry first, finds he can't and then tries the short story...failing that...takes up novel writing."
Camus defines the novel "a philosophy put into images."
Chesterton says a "a good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author."
Hemingway believes a novel "should create living people; people not characters."
Henry James says "The only reason for the existence of a novel is that it does attempt to represent life."