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Last chapter of How to Write a Damn Good Novel II

My annotations in italics. Notes on text in regular format.

Writing with Passion

Self-publishing is a viable alternative.

Creating a masterpiece. Confront truth on chapter 1, page 1. What is the truth about Madeleine? Can she possibly form a masterpiece? Is she a deep enough character, or is she shallow? Her whining about her dreams and her forgotten past doesn’t cut it. It has to be more than that—an expression of her deepest yearning. That is why putting her together with Hildegarde is tempting. To see Madeleine’s hunger for connection, for belonging, at odds with a porcelain doll of a girl who has never wanted for anything.

What do I believe is important in life? What do I hate? What do I love? Where do I stand? What would I be willing to die for? What can I bring to a work that shows the world in a unique light? What would be my gift to other humans? I believe it’s important to get this damn novel finished! I hate the indifference between human beings. I love beauty. I love seeing the personality rise above the commonplace normalcy. I love beauty in dark, forgotten places, beauty in the rejected and undesired. I would die for beauty. I would probably die to see that park in France. The transcendental beauty that rests in the lonely and forgotten is so elevated above the concerns of humans for me that I can’t think of any worthwhile war. I can bring to the world’s eyes the half-light, the half-truth, the searing beauty which lies in the impossible and the never to be. The beauty of love that grows in an unconventional, a wrong or seemingly ugly place, and turn the prism around ever so slightly so that the reader recognizes the beauty in the worst of human beings and looks at every person, the people they thought were unimportant or ugly—and sees the beauty in them, the beauty inside, and recognizes them as a lover of someone.

What am I about as a writer? What is my mission? Where am I going? What do I stand for? What do I want my readers to say about me? What am I trying to achieve? What are my themes? I am about getting the damn novel written. My mission is to finish all of these novels, these dream-visions, to realize all the feelings within me, of which what I have described is only the very outer shell. I am going forward on this journey. I’m taking the time out of my schedule. I’m following all the leads I have on how to be a good writer. I’m digging in even when I don’t know what I’m doing to perfect my work. I want the reader to say, “This has changed the way I see others. This love is beautiful, and that love is beautiful. These people are all beautiful, and I will not judge.” I am trying to achieve some kind of fame. My themes are darkness, decay, decrepitude, the echo of fairy tales, love and romance, desire, beauty, the juxtaposition, the opposites. The thesis and antithesis together, to form a synthesis.

A writer must have something important to say.

Write what you are trying to achieve as your life’s work. What you’re trying to achieve in a particular book you’re writing. I am trying to realize myself as a writer, to understand myself as a person, to figure out completely what it is I should say, how to put my deepest passion into the most effective story, and turn them out, as fast as I can and as well as I can. In Winter Light I am trying to achieve a juxtaposition, the opposites. Darkness and light, beauty and ugliness, hatred and love, existing together in the same human vessel, what one person can feel for another.

What I’m writing should have an emotional and spiritual effect on readers.

I must tap the root of my passions. This is where my power lies.

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