THE LAMMISTERS: “Declan Burke is his own genre. The Lammisters dazzles, beguiles and transcends. Virtuoso from start to finish.” – Eoin McNamee “This bourbon-smooth riot of jazz-age excess, high satire and Wodehouse flamboyance is a pitch-perfect bullseye of comic brilliance.” – Irish Independent Books of the Year 2019 “This rapid-fire novel deserves a place on any bookshelf that grants asylum to PG Wodehouse, Flann O’Brien or Kyril Bonfiglioli.” – Eoin Colfer, Guardian Best Books of the Year 2019 “The funniest book of the year.” – Sunday Independent ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL: “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. SLAUGHTERS HOUND: “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. THE BIG O: “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. EIGHTBALL BOOGIE: “One of the sharpest, wittiest books Ive read for ages.” – Sunday Independent. THE LOST AND THE BLIND: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist.


Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Feature: How to Write a Novel’s First Draft

The Irish Times was kind enough to enquire as to my ‘process’ when I’m writing the first draft of a novel, and - rather more surprisingly - published my answer. It begins a lot like this:
I’m often asked about the best way to write a novel’s first draft, and thank God for that, for otherwise I’d have no social life at all.
  For some reason it generally seems to happen when I discover myself at the bottom of Dawson Street around lunchtime, waiting to cross over to the Trinity side.
  “I say, Mr Burke!” bawls some aspiring scribe who, having recently perambulated around from College Green, has mistaken me for that prime hunk of literary boulevardier Edmund Burke. “How does one go about writing a novel-length story?”
  “Well,” I bawl back, which usually precipitates something of a conversational longueur, it being my accoster’s expectation that I have deployed same as a precursor to embarking on lengthy disquisition, whereas my advice in the matter of writing novel-length stories is as brief as it is simple, i.e., that if they must be written at all, then they really ought to be written well.
  On being subsequently pressed for any further helpful detail, however small, I caution my interlocutors (a crowd tending to gather swiftly at such times) that their cause is entirely hopeless, for the wide-eyed optimism required to countenance the writing of a novel-length story is wholly at odds with what the market currently requires, it being your correspondent’s bitter experience that the modern novel, as the discerning Reader will undoubtedly agree, is rather more Keatsian than not, being a poor, weak, palsy-stricken, churchyard thing largely populated by useful idiots singing out Now can that jive! and What gives, matey? in peremptory tenor.
  For the rest of the piece, clickety-click here

No comments: