Mainly On Not Writing a Novel

Many of us have the urge to write a novel, or even more than one. I’ve thought about writing one, but haveย never begun the process, for two reasons.ย 

One, I don’t have a story I want to tell or characters I want to write about. That’s kind of held me back.

Two, I’d probably lack the patience to develop a novel — I’d want events to moveย along, so any novel I wrote would end up as a short story. (An English teacher once told me I had a “spare” style. For a couple ofย reasons, I don’t think she was comparing the story I handed inย to one ofย Hemingway’s.)ย 

The Spanish novelist Javier Marias has written several novels, including successful ones.ย Nevertheless, he’s also written an enjoyable little article for the Threepenny Review called “Seven Reasons Not to Write Novels and Only One Reason to Write Them”. It’s worth reading, even if you’ve never had the urge in question. Having been surprised and impressed by the single reason he givesย for writing one, I may reconsider.