Daily Writing Tip 31 of 100, A Future For The Novel

For one hundred days, I’m going to post a writing tip each day. I have a whole bookshelf full of writing books and I want to do some reading and increased studying of this valuable resource. This will help me keep track of anything I’ve learned, and help motivate me to keep going. If anyone has a favorite tip of their own to add, contact me. I’d love to put it up here.

Today’s tip – A Future For The Novel

Source – For A New Novel essays on fiction by Alain Robbe-Grillet

It seems hardly reasonable at first glance to suppose that an entirely new literature might one day – now for instance – be possible. The many attempts made these last thirty years to drag fiction out of its ruts have resulted, at best, in no more than isolated works. And – we are often told – none of these works, whatever its interest, has gained the adherence of a public comparable to that of the bourgeois novel.

This essay was written in 1956, sixty years ago – a year before I was born. It could have been penned yesterday.

When Alain Robbe-Grillet espoused on how the public fancied the bourgeois novel I’m sure he never imagined the extremely popular horror of the young adult genre. I guess it’s good that people are reading, even if they are reading Pablum… but still.

Of course, there is plenty of unique stuff out there. For example, Alain Robbe-Grillet’s work. I stumbled across his unique novel Jealousy… and loved it – I even found it entertaining. Many don’t.

So be it.

That’s one good thing about literature – everything that has been written (pretty much) is still out there. Sure, the teenagers or the book club ladies might not be gobbling up the avant-garde, but it is still there in an obscure dusty library or a musty used bookstore or Amazon or Abebooks or some slightly crazed but trusted friend (get with me if you want).

It’s all there.

And maybe we can work on adding to it.


“There are spiders living comfortably in my house while the wind howls outside. They aren’t bothering anybody. If I were a fly, I’d have second thoughts, but I’m not, so I don’t.”
― Richard Brautigan, The Tokyo-Montana Express

Louise Bourgeois, Spider

The Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden, New Orleans Museum of Art

(Click for full size version on Flickr)

“Spider venom comes in many forms. It can often take a long while to discover the full effects of the bite. Naturalists have pondered this for years: there are spiders whose bite can cause the place bitten to rot and to die, sometimes more than a year after it was bitten. As to why spiders do this, the answer is simple. It’s because spiders think this is funny, and they don’t want you ever to forget them.”
― Neil Gaiman, Anansi Boys

“There was less than I’d expected in the rainy-day fund that Mom had kept in the bottom of an underwear drawer in a panty hose egg labeled ‘DEAD SPIDERS.’ As if I hadn’t always known it was there. As if I wouldn’t want to look at dead spiders.”
― Adam Rex