The View From Hemingway's Attic

Culture, politics, literature

William Hazelgrove

William Hazelgrove
chicago, Illinois, usa
January 27
William Hazelgrove is the best selling author of four novels, Ripples, Tobacco Sticks Mica Highways and Rocket Man. His books have received starred reviews in Publisher Weekly, Book of the Month Selections, ALA Editors Choice Awards and optioned for the movies. He was the Ernest Hemingway Writer in Residence where he wrote in the attic of Ernest Hemingway’s birthplace. He has written articles and reviews for USA Today and other publications. His latest novel Rocket Man was chosen Book of the Year by Books and He runs a political cultural blog, The View From Hemingway’s Attic. He lives in Chicago.


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APRIL 9, 2012 5:32PM

Writing the Big Novel

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Hmmm...about 571 pages into the Big Novel. Probably end up around a thousand. The interesting thing about the Big Novel is that it keeps growing out like an atomic mushroom cloud and instead of retracting as most novels do when you pass the halfway point, it just keeps growing. That is because the Big Novel does not play by the usual rules. Most novels just start and have a middle and an end. Very egg like. And you usually roll in around four hundred pages or so. And you can almost feel the arc and where it will end. The Big Novel follows none of these rules.

And so you are constantly stoking the fire and you have to put all your fears aside that naturally kick in. What if this thing just keeps going? Much like fission the fear is not that it will go off but that it won't stop going off. Then the second fear hits you which is: who the hell is going to want to read something this big? But of course that is ridiculous because predicting reading tastes has never been the purview of novelists.

So you roll along and watch the Big Novel grow. Eventually you figure it will run out of steam and start to close down. Because really, what goes up, must, eventually, come down. At least you hope it works that way.

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