How To Write A Novel

The just released cover of Slapshot of Love. Design by Jodi Boyer.

By novel writer guy who wrote a novel, Gary Pearson, novelist




After bragging about finishing my novel ‘Slapshot Of Love’, (Now available on and people have asked me ‘Gary,how did you do it?’. They don’t really want to know, they’re just being polite. They’re stuck standing next to me at a barbecue and they can’t find a way to move on to another conversation. This is what I tell them, and if you follow these 11 tips, you can write a novel too.


1. Before starting, have a complete understanding of the English language, including grammar and spelling. I don’t have that and it really slowed me down. 


2. Go to University or College for courses on creative writing and study English Literature. I didn’t do that either and my book likely isn’t as good because of that. What I’m suggesting might take years or weeks, depending on if we’re talking University of Toronto, or The Learning Annex. I bet both are good. If you read my book, you might think right away, “This might have been better if this guy had taken a course.”


3. Investigate all the genres of fiction that are selling and write your story in that genre. I did this research after I was finished the book. The big ones are murder mysteries, action thrillers and romance. I wrote a romantic comedy with a satirical edge. There is no consistent market for this kind of book. Bridget Jones Diary was an example of a huge novel in this area, but this was an exception. Most books are romance without the comedy and are definitely not trying to make a point about anything. Men and women getting together is not funny. It’s messy, hurtful, traumatic and ultimately uplifting.


4. Read the genre you’re writing. Immerse yourself in the type of book you’re trying to write. I didn't do that either. Before starting my romantic comedy, I read about 5 Stephen King books. People are probably going to find it jarring in my novel, when suddenly in chapter 7, a Plymouth Fury comes to life and starts to kill people.


5. Keep in mind that experts say first novels should be about 80,000 to 90,000 words, tops. Nobody wants to read more than that from an unknown author. My book is 111,000 words. I found out this word count information after I was finished. I can’t figure out how to cut it down.


6. Drink plenty of fluids. (I didn't really have a number 6)


7. So your book will sell, make your story international, which means set in the United States. My story is primarily set in Hamilton Ontario. As you might have guessed with the title Slapshot of Love, there’s some hockey in my novel. I just read that hockey is America’s 7th favourite sport behind football, baseball, basketball, golf, soccer and horseracing. Somebody is likely right now setting a novel in the world of Arena Football. Man, are they way off! (8th, after hockey)  


8. Start your book as a series of TV scripts. When that doesn’t work, try to write it as a screenplay. Then, when you get bogged down with that, give up and write it as a novel. This is exactly what I did.


9. Write what you know. This is an old piece of advice but it’s so true.   The main character in my book is a 32 year old, single, red headed woman who works in a retirement home. I’m none of those things, and if you read my book, I’m pretty sure that shows.


10. Send your novel out to all the literary agents you can find. Publishers don’t accept unsolicited work so you have to go through one of these agents. They decide to publish your book. They pay you a huge advance, help you edit it to make it better, do great publicity, and ‘ta da!’, you’re a top best selling author! None of these things have happened to me. I have sent it out. I got one rejection so far. It was a form letter.


11. Self publish as an E Book. Slapshot of Love IS NOW OUT ON AMAZON. Just google Slapshot of Love on, or or or wherever your Amazon is! Only $3.99

Latest comments

20.03 | 06:15

Thanks Noreen! Please post a review on Amazon and tell everyone you know on facebook, twitter or just tell people on the street you see randomly. It's not weird

19.03 | 23:22

Read it in one go! It is so sad that this work of fiction so closely follows real life. Great piece of work, hope lots of people read it.

07.12 | 15:14

Hey Gary - lovely article, I am one of the seedling suppliers, life goes on, but the business wont be there for my 2 sons and that's a bummer.

19.11 | 09:56

Thanks Geri. Thanks for taking the time to read it. Uh oh, you better go, your babies need you!

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