Three Achingly Hip (And On-Trend) Tips For Writing A Modern Novel

Well, I thought that I’d start April’s roster of articles by talking about hip, new, modern fiction. After all, who wants to read old books? What can they teach us about how to write great fiction for today?

Nothing, that’s what!

Just like how literally every gamer will agree that the very latest computer and video games are always the best, every reader is eager to read the latest modern fiction. So, how can you write it?

Here are a few tips, hot off of the press smartphone (I mean, who uses *ugh* printing presses these days? What is this? 1619?)

1) Tomes (or GTFO): You’re never going to believe this but, back in the bad old days, novels were often only a measly 200-300 pages in length. Talk about lazy writing! I mean, these “novels” were the kind of thing that people could read in just a couple of days. It’s practically fraud!

Thankfully, just like how those cool people in Hollywood have realised that the deep and complex drama of a superhero film requires a running time of at least two hours, many modern writers and publishers are giving their readers value for money! In fact, the best modern novels can be so long that most of their readers don’t even finish them. Talk about generosity!

Not only that, the widespread acceptance of 800 -or even 900 – page novels has freed modern writers from the oppressive tyranny of the editors! No longer does a writer have to justify a rich, expansive story to some miserable pen-pusher or agonise about whether their story really needs that 10-page description of a houseplant. No, modern readers want the author’s full artistic vision, in all of it’s majestic length.

In the bad old days, a novel used to be considered to be a paltry 50,000 words or more. These days, if you don’t fill at least a gigabyte of your audience’s e-readers or smartphones (since, like, who uses dead trees any more?), then you are short-changing them! So, remember, the more words the better!

2) Plain Packaging: This will probably disgust you, but back in the bad old days, book covers often used to look like tawdry film posters. A writer’s masterpiece would be handed to some artist who would try to make some patronisingly melodramatic fan art based on it. And the result would often be offensively vivid, shockingly melodramatic and hideously low-brow.

Thankfully, things have been streamlined and regulated these days 🙂 Gone are the glaringly bold and vivid colours of old – a modern novel cover should be rendered in gloomy greys (for thrillers and detective stories) or serene pastels (for everything else). This helps to ensure that no book cover breaks the mellow, ordered harmony of any respectable shop’s website.

Of course, for truly respectable literary novels, there should be no visual elements whatsoever on the cover – just the title and a plain, or lightly patterned, background. This helps to ensure that nothing distracts from the adoring critic quotes on the cover, in addition to ensuring that your readers know that it is a serious novel.

Then again, with the widespread popularity of electronic books, who even needs cover art these days? It’s just a racket to keep those grubby artists in business! So, don’t be afraid to signal your defiance against this painterly cartel by insisting that your latest work is released as a good, honest, plain text file (in Courier, for added authenticity).

3) Social apps: If there’s one terrible thing about reading books it’s that they’re so solitary. It’s like it’s just you and the author. Like you actually have to think and things. Don’t you know that there’s science that says that being alone is bad for you. And, on a more concerning note, who knows what subversive or offensive thoughts might creep into your mind if you have to endure actual privacy whilst reading.

Well, fear no more! One of of the amazing advancements of the electronic reading revolution is that books can now be read on smartphones. And this means that the soma familiar safe haven of social media is no more than a second away at all times 🙂 So, your novel should be written with this in mind.

First of all. All sentences should be short. For easier live-tweeting. #Progress!

There should also be a “like” button on, like, every page too, so that your readers can signal to their friends that they’re, like, actually reading – and, more importantly, what they’re reading. After all, we can’t have people reading the wrong books, can we?

Likewise, don’t worry if you write anything someone doesn’t like. Thanks to modern social media, thousands of enthusiastic critiques from passionate readers will appear within minutes to correct you. So, when you put out the next daily update of your novel, you know what to alter or remove. It’s almost like having a fanatically strict edito… I mean, it’s a bold, democratic alternative to the tyranny of the elitist editors of old!

There has never been a better age to be a writer! It really is a brave new world 🙂


Happy April Fool’s Day everyone 🙂