In the hundreds of years that America has existed, no author has cracked the code on writing the undisputed “Great American Novel.” Thankfully for you, I’m here to share my best tips for new writers setting out on their Great American quest.


  1. Writing courses are lame. If you’re literate enough to read this magazine, that’s good enough to get started. If you’re in such a program, now is the time to bow out and recover the precious time you would’ve lost.
  2. Every writer needs a good backstory, so you’ll need to move to South Dakota or Idaho and get adopted by the local wealthy family. Make sure you experience enough hardship to write like a true tortured artist, but you’re well-off enough to be a novelist.
  3. Countryside staples are a must for your novel. Fill it with small midwestern towns, beautiful rolling hills, starry night skies, and roadside Culver’s that really scream “America.”
  4. Metaphors are so last year. Why would you say things are things that they’re not? It doesn’t make any sense, and just wastes time you could be using describing a Culver’s. As I always say, time is money.
  5. Give your work a title that’ll shock the critics, like “Critics Suck.” Yeah, something like that. Anger is a great motivator.
  6. Spend most of your time on the cover art. Everyone judges the book by the cover, even “authors” like you. Try putting something eye-catching like a hot babe on the front.
  7. Last but not least, make sure to include me in your dedication page (only) if it’s a hit. After all, you won’t make the New York Times Best Sellers & Dedications list without a gooddedication.
  8. Be careful with foreshadowing the future. Hungry readers will investigate every inch you give them, so it’s best to waste their time wi—

—T. Schroder