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 🙂

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Happy April Fool’s Day everyone 🙂

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Four Revolutionary Tips For Making Conceptual Art

2016 Artwork Conceptual art April Fool article sketch

Well, it’s the beginning of a new month, so I thought that I’d talk about how to make an innovative and revolutionary new type of art today. An art form that I have often sung the praises of, but have never really discussed in detail.

Unless you’re the kind of archaic philistine who clings to outmoded reactionary ideas of artistic beauty (and who frequently spews ignorance-laden bile such as “artists need to practice to get good at making art“), then you’ve probably heard of conceptual art. If you haven’t, then you should be ashamed of yourself!

Conceptual art is a bold paradigm-breaking genre of art that is a clean break from the oppressive traditions of the past. It began in 1917 when Marcel Duchamp bravely placed a urinal in the middle of an American art gallery and, right then, a silly fad a bold new artistic method was born!

For almost a century since then, countless artists have kept this bold new urine-taking tradition alive in order to strike back at the stale old artistic traditions of their parents’ generation.

The idea behind conceptual art is that the concept behind a piece of art matters more than what the artwork itself looks like, or even what it’s made from.

For example, if you think that a discarded drinks can you just found in the park is the perfect metaphor for modern capitalism then, thanks to conceptual art, you can make a bold anti-capitalist statement by selling that worthless piece of rub.. boldly political piece of found art to any modern gallery for at least a five-figure sum.

So, how do you make this bold and revolutionary paradigm-breaking type of art? Well, here are a few tips:

1) The statement: Although writers often swear by the old adage of “show, don’t tell” – artists are not writers and, as such, it would be horrendously insensitive for artists to follow this simple piece of writerly advice!

As such, when making a piece of conceptual art, you need to accompany it with a long-winded statement that explains precisely what your work of art means. Allowing the audience to come to their conclusions about your art often also allows reactionary ideas, incorrect politics and other heresies to slip into the discourse.

So, in the interests of freedom, you must pre-emptively stamp down hard on all audience interpretation with an iron fist and ensure that there is only one way that your masterpiece can be understood. You do this by writing an artist’s statement.

Of course, if the idea of writing your own statement offends you, then there is thankfully a helpful website that will generate a pre-written artist’s statement for you.

2) Art school: Although I have unfortunately never attended one of these fine institutions myself, at least a few modern-day art schools are on the vanguard of this bold new art movement. Well, from everything that I’ve read at least.

Gone are the repressive days where art schools would cruelly force their students to learn. Gone are those horrendous times when attendees of art schools would be made to *ugh* practice outdated “skills” like “drawing” and “painting”.

At least a few modern art schools are now thankfully safe havens where all forms of artistic creativity (except for anything that isn’t conceptual art, of course) are valued and supported. So, if you want to be a conceptual artist, then attendance at one of these schools is almost mandatory!

Not only will you get to meet many of your other fellow conceptual artists if you attend one of these modern convents of creativity, but you will also be inducted into the esoteric mysteries of how to understand and discuss other works of conceptual art. No longer will you be a foolish member of the uninitiated, prone to heresy and blasphemy. You will be a conceptual artist!

3) Dealing with criticism: Unfortunately, due to the old-fashioned concepts of “free speech” and “humour”, it is likely that cynics, traditional artists and other undesirables may feel that they can mock and ridicule your conceptual masterpieces with impunity. This should not be tolerated!

You should not give these heretical “opinions” any platform! You are the artist and they are not! Loudly denounce their “opinions” for what they are – outmoded expressions of stale traditionalism!

Don’t even think about “accepting the fact that other people have different opinions”. Any words or non-verbal expressions that indicate that your conceptual artwork is anything less than a fully valid, excellent and magnificent work of art are ghastly heresies that must be silenced immediately!

Be wary of mild praise too! If someone says that your conceptual work is “ok”, then this actually means that they don’t understand your unique artistic vision!

4) Actually making the art: No, silly! You don’t “make” conceptual art. You find it. If your artistic process even vaguely resembles the act of “making something”, then you’re doing it wrong! You heretic!

But, of course, you knew that already, didn’t you?

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Happy April Fools’ day everyone 🙂 Normal articles will resume tomorrow.