Tips for Writing Classic Literature and The Tips of Buying Second Hand Books
It's difficult to define what constitutes a "classic novel." There are many excellent books, but to be considered a true classic, a novel must acquire a degree of greatness or cultural relevance that most new books will never achieve. Here are some pointers on how to write a novel based on classic literature. We've also discussed the advantages of purchasing used books.
If you're going to borrow characters, make sure they're identical to the originals. Give us plausible arguments to explain why they differ where they do.
Returning to familiar characters and occurrences is one of the delights of reading this type of novel. There is pleasure from recognition, but there is pleasure from difference as well, as long as the difference can be accounted for. Basic rule: Don't turn Jay Gatsby into a costumed superhero. Although Gardner's version of Grendel is a talkative, sarcastic, existential loner compared with the wordless monster of Beowulf, through his thoughts and actions we come to understand why he does the things he does in the Anglo-Saxon epic, regardless of his modern voice and attitudes.
Make sure your writing style is distinct.
You won’t write a classic novel by imitating the voice of someone else. Your story should be filled with your own inimitable style and observations on the world around you, just as only Mark Twain could write The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Don't try to be like Tolstoy or Hemingway since there will never be another. Instead, concentrate on injecting as much of your own personality as possible into the style and subject of your story.
Do your homework. Read the book or play, learn about the time period, and immerse yourself in the original's sensibility. If you can't duplicate its voice, make one that is appropriate for the story.
The magnificent Lavinia by Ursula Le Guin takes a minor character from Virgil's Aeneid—the young Latin princess whom the hero Aeneas eventually marries—and narrates the story of the Trojan hero's arrival in Italy from her point of view. Lavinia is the daughter of a king, although she lives in a pre-Roman settlement rather than a marble castle. We can taste the wine, see cities encircled by wooden palisades, and worship alongside these people their home gods because Le Guin evokes the gritty, really primitive existence of pre-Roman Italy in exquisite circumstantial detail. Le Guin vividly brings Virgil's remote, old story—one that very few people today have read—to life via careful attention to character and environment. She must have spent a significant amount of time researching early Latin language and culture, as well as the topography and climate of the future Rome. It is visible on the page. Do the same thing.
Thematic resonance should be present in your story.
Themes that run through classic novels are eternal and universal. A great novel should strive to address some enduring, immovable fact about the way humans behave, whether it's the endless conflict of good vs. evil, the inevitability of death, or the corruptive nature of power. Ask yourself this question as you're writing your novel: What is the core theme? Is there a way to make it stronger? Is my topic one that people from all walks of life can relate to?
Make a vibrant world
A classic literature transports us to another time and place. Nathanial Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter transports us to the heart of colonial America. Another noteworthy example is Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms, in which he vividly depicts the bloodshed and destruction of World War I. Your reader should have a vivid mental image of their surroundings, down to the sights, sounds, and scents, whether your location is modern-day New York or a far-off fantasy world.
Classics bring people together.
Another feature shared by many classic books is the presence of literary and historical references. This is especially noticeable in books that are based on or inspired by the works of others. For example, Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea was written as a precursor to Charlotte Bront's Jane Eyre, and tells the narrative of the'madwoman' in the attic from Bront's novel. On several problems, it adopts a more contemporary viewpoint. It looks at issues such as gender inequality and the intricate ways race and social power influence and effect people's lives.
Draw on the traditions of your genre, whether or whether your novel directly acknowledges other works of fiction. Make connections between issues and fictional antecedents when appropriate and weave your inspirations into your writing. Your novel will have additional layers, giving readers more to discover and debate.
Classics provide us a wide range of interpretations.
When a writer tells the reader what to think about the what and why of a story, the reader's ability to develop their own meaning is diminished. One of the most distinguishing characteristics of classic books is the presence of blank spaces and ambiguity.
In Vladimir Nabokov's highly polarizing novel Lolita (1955), for example, the unreliable narrator Humbert Humbert is a man who has a thing for young girls. Nabokov, on the other hand, instead of directly denouncing his character, just portrays his acts and leaves the reader to make their own moral or ethical judgment.
This is crucial to understanding how to compose a classic: Trust that the reader will figure out how your story's ambiguities fit together. You don't have to be the character's judge, jury, and executioner. To begin, go to the top of the page and click'start your novel' to use Now Novel's Idea Finder to find your key idea — it will help you develop a blueprint for a future masterpiece.
Make sure your story is self-contained.
You'll probably get a lot of mileage out of the delights that readers of the original work will derive from returning to that environment. In Pride and Prometheus, I consider some of the things I included as "Easter eggs" for Jane Austen and Mary Shelley fans. For example, in chapter one, my protagonist Mary Bennet passes by several characters from Jane Austen's novel Persuasion on the street; elsewhere, my Mary recalls having read A Vindication of the Rights of Women, penned by Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Shelley's mother.
Isn't it amusing? However, if enjoyment of your work is overly reliant on familiarity with the original, you risk alienating a large portion of your target audience, and at worst, your plot may be incomprehensible. It should never be required for the reader to pick up on such details: never make a major story element hinge on something that requires such foreknowledge.
Second Hand Books
Because of their low price and availability of second hand books that are no longer in print, second hand books allow us to buy and read more books. Here are some pointers for buying used books.
Buying Second Hand Books: Some Pointers
Decide what you want to do with second hand books.
Take note of the author and other titles when you've finished reading anything you like. Search by category and contact the second hand books online bookshop's customer care department for help. To locate categories, look at websites and use the connections on those pages. Make a to-do list! Fantastic Fiction is a fantastic site that we recommend. It's invaluable for discovering what else an author has written, what novels are part of a series, who else writes in a similar manner, and when or if the author has any new books coming out.
Examine the Second Hand Book's Condition
There's nothing wrong with buying a used book from an internet retailer if it's a title you've been hunting for a long time. If you're a dedicated collector or want to make sure your old second hand books keep their value, go for the best copy you can afford.
The quality of a second hand book is undeniably important; a tattered old second hand novel will always have a low monetary worth, and in the case of collectible books, the condition is critical. A dog-eared, scruffy second hand book with a torn or missing spine and ripped or missing end papers (these are the pages that are made up of a double-size sheet folded in half and pasted to the second hand book's inside cover, with the other half serving as the first free page) is something no collector wants.
Make buying second hand books plans ahead of time.
Keep a list with you at all times, or you'll end up in an second hand books online bookshop like Usedbooksfactory, where the sheer amount of second hand books on display will leave your mind blank.
What You Should Know About Second Hand Books
Take a look at the examples below:
Spine and Boards of Second Hand Books
If the second hand book is a hardback, are the boards and spine attached and in good condition? Is the text on the spine readable?
Annotation in second hand books
Have you looked through the second hand book to see whether it has been annotated? Nothing is more aggravating than purchasing a great edition of a second hand book only to discover that it has been heavily scribbled in red biro by a former owner!
Illustrations of second hand books
If the second hand book is illustrated, search for a list of pictures in the front (if there isn't one, ask your local bookstore how many there should be) and double-check that all of the photos are included. More than anything else, a missing illustration devalues a book.
Dust Jackets of Second Hand Books
A missing or damaged dust jacket, like a lost illustration, can have a substantial impact on a second hand book's pricing. Is the dust jacket conceivable to have been 'price clipped'? In particular, keep a watch out for false dust jackets! A growing number of old second hand books with fake dust jackets are appearing on the used book market. You only have to look at eBay to discover how many are now for sale.
These are only a few of the things to look out for; if you're unsure, consult your local second-hand bookstore.