By Edward Nawotka
Tim Hallinan learned the hard way about finishing a novel. Before becoming a published novelist, as he explains on his website, he had started three novels, but finished none of them, when his house burned down, destroying all of his manuscripts. “Naturally,” he writes, “I had backups of all my unfinished novels, and naturally, they were all in the house. I had a life-changing revelation: if I had finished those books, they’d probably exist somewhere — in print, or at a publisher, or in a box in the garage. And then I had a second revelation: whatever I was, I wasn’t a novelist, because I hadn’t finished a novel.
“So I made some notes on the book I remembered best, flew to Thailand, and wrote the whole thing in seven weeks. And it got me an agent, and then a three-book contract, which led to another three-book contract, etc. In other words, finishing the book turned me into a writer.”
On his site, Tim generously distills this life lesson into a jargon-free six-part series of articles on how — and perhaps of even more importance why — to finish a novel. It’s well worth bookmarking if you’re anything like me (and most writers I know) who have abandoned writing a book before giving yourself a chance to really ever get started.
READ: Tim Hallinan on how to finish your novel