Wednesday, August 8, 2012

How to write an instant bestseller in 10 easy steps

I've been holding back, I admit. In reality, I could produce a bestseller and make a ton of money off it. Because I know the golden formula. Ignore everything you've read in how-to books on writing. Their only purpose was to confuse you, make you unsuccessful so that THEY could get all the glory.

But I'm on to them. I have researched and found the simple yet perfect elements of creating the next bestseller. And now, out of the goodness of my heart, I will present them to you. So that you too may bask in the golden rays of fame and fortune.

Step 1. POV

A. First person. Really bad, whiny, bitch first person. Or, better yet, completely hallow first person. Like this: Hi, I'm an empty shell of a hot girl who thinks she's plain. Won't you please fill me up with your own hopes and dreams? So that you can pretend that I'm you. This way, screw character creation and traits that could be unappealing. If you don't like me, you don't like yourself. So take that! I can't fail!

B. Third person. I'm pretty much an observer. You can get into my head from time to time so I can shower you with my stupid/whiny thoughts. I'm not you, but I could be. And you wish you were me. You could hate me, but you want to follow me around and see what happens.

Step 2. Protagonist

Since the vast majority of readers are women (or so some study says), the protag HAS to be female. The preferred ages are between 17-25. She HAS to be a virgin who has never been attracted to any other male in her life.
She usually comes from a broken family - divorce, death, that kind of thing. Her parents have the parenting skills of young goats, therefore our heroine can do what she wants, when she wants to.
She loves books - possibly old books (classics) and listens to music on an ipod. Occasionally, she uses google to research strangeness, but doesn't seem to use a computer for anything else.
She has hobbies, but is never seen doing them. She's pretty klutzy, but doesn't trip more than once or twice. Spends too much time inside her own head and can develop suicidal tendencies.

Step 3. The love interest

He must be an ADONIS with sculpted/sculptured everything. He's soooo handsome that the Protagonist instantly drools.
He MUST be a jerk. Complete asshole. Control-freak. Stalker. Totally unreasonable. He's bitter and sarcastic and snappy. He gets scary when he's angry.
He has something special: he shines in the sunlight, he's filthy rich, he has super powers, he's a supernatural being... and others along those lines.
He pretends not to like the Protag at first. Then he like totally opens up to her and she sees his warm, fuzzy, unicorn-filled interior which makes him SOOO sensitive. Then she totally gets to change his bad ways. And he LETS her and is happy to be molded.

Step 4. The plot

Listen carefully, because this is really important. There must be NO plot. At least not one that makes sense. Or is very important to the story. Or makes sense. The core of the story is: insecurity, angst, bitching and moaning, long stares, sex, lovey-dovey moments and stupid reasons to fight.

Step 5. The villain

Must be stereotypical, with lame/easy to understand/unimportant motives/motives so complicated that you decide you don't actually care that much. He will pose no real threat to the heroes. He will only succeed because the protag, her hero or both of them are reeeeeaaaaaally stupid. If he exists, he usually dies/is easily defeated.

Step 6. Side characters

They must be really annoying and silly to make the MCs look good. One of the MCs doesn't have friends. The other has one or two. Insert big families, and there you go.
Side characters are made to enable, cheer on or create trouble for the MCs. If they're interesting or have backstories, they must be immediately assassinated and be made to look bad.

Step 7. The triangle.

There must be a love triangle in the story. The love triangle should give the reader no doubt as to whom the heroine will end up with. It will always be pretty obvious that it's Mr. Douchebag. The triangle will be used to cause fights and jealousy between the MCs, even if it's obvious to everyone that they don't stand a chance.

Step 8. The craft of writing

The writing must be simple most times with horribly long/twisted words that no one actually uses being tossed in from time to time to show how intelligent the characters are. The phrasing must be basic, monotonous. The dialogue clipped and preferably untagged. Every point should be made a number of times both through dialogue and narration, to make sure the reader gets the message/ doesn't forget that vital piece of information.
Butterflies must flutter in stomachs and the stomach and throat must constrict and twist and turn. Eye rolling and lip biting are a favorite. So is frowning. The eyes must blaze a multitude of emotions and colors as often as possible.
Don't forget to mention how god-like the hero looks every other page, just in case your readers forget that very important detail.

Step 9. The execution.

Make sure the book is part of a series. Write the following books in the same manner. Don't put in any character evolution that makes sense. There must be no recurring plot points. Try ending with a cliffhanger. If you don't have one from lack of plot, insert one in an epilogue. Try to make the books longer with each volume.

Step 10. Cover art
Make it very artistic - put an object on a black/grey background. Write the title in either lower case or maybe shouty capitals. Another good idea is using goth girls on the cover. Whatever you decide to use, all the covers MUST be dark and creepy. The writing should stand out. Make them hardcovers.

After you complete this masterpiece, a big publisher will buy it from you. If you're lucky, it will be transformed into a major motion picture with talentless actors and huge budgets. You will be rich in no time.
People will either love it or hate it, there will be fervent discussions regarding your work and people will be begging you to write more. Hence, you'll spit up a novella and gain even more cash.

Now that you know, good luck. I will be waving down at you from the height of my helicopter.

All of the above is a pamphlet and must be treated as such. It has surfaced from reading 'golden' literature in the last year.

Can anyone recognize the source material for this post? (Clue: I'm taking about 5 book series, out of which one isn't actually crap)


  1. So true! Especially 1 and 2. Creepy stalker is just so sexy. >_<

    1. Very! We should use them more often in our writing!

  2. Too Stupid You Wish They'd Die characters that never die. That's the key! Makes your readers feel superior and they'll come back for more.

  3. That's what I've been missing. Maybe I should dumb down Loralee and Sir Robert. Nah!

    1. Give them angst and bitchiness, too - lots of it! :D

  4. I have to know - what's the series you're talking about?

  5. Stephanie,

    I confess: I've been an evil lurker...following your comments about FIFTY SHADES at Goodreads in the "What Are You Reading" forum.

    May I "gift" you a copy of my novel, TROMPE-l'OEIL, a description of which you can find at Goodreads, also at Amazon? I'll be promoting it this coming Wednesday (8/15) as part of an online PEACE DAY celebration. My contribution to that celebration will be an excerpt from that same novel -- namely, an anti-war demonstration (with music) in Rome, Italy.

    I'll let you be the final judge. But I believe you might find TROMPE-'OEIL to be a suitable antidote to whatever ails you about FIFTY SHADES. Just sayin'.

    If the answer's a tentative 'yes,' please shoot your direct e-mail address to me at: RRBrklyn(at)aol(dot)com.

    If the answer's a definitive 'no,' please forgive the intrusion.

    Mulţumesc, Stephanie!


  6. I figured out Twilight, 50 Shades, and possibly Fallen to know what the other two are.

  7. This made me laugh :D. Unfortunately, I only recognise "Twilight". Clearly, I'm not reading enough at the moment.

  8. Here is the full circle: Twilight (duh!), Fifty shades of Crap-- I mean Grey, Fifty shades of Grey, The Fallen series (we have a winner with that one ;)), The Hush, Hush series (I still get nerd rage when I remember I read those books)and The Mortal Instruments series - this is the one I actually mentioned not being crap. I rather enjoyed it, though I couldn't care less about the characters.


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