"I Want to Write a Book!"

  • Don’t call it a romance
  • Trumpet your literary history

Sparks writes 2000 words a day, three or four days a week, for four or five months at a time on each of his novels. He’s managed roughly one book a year since 1996. And the author sees himself as part of a grand tradition. “I write in a genre that was not defined by me. The examples were not set out by me.

  • Find the conflict

The tough part, says Sparks, is to find “the primary conflict” that will keep his characters apart despite their instant attraction and evident compatibility. In Dear John, it’s 9/11 and the hero’s determination to go fight in Afghanistan. In Nights In Rodanthe, it’s the hero’s immediate need to go reconnect with his son in South America.

If all else fails, it will emerge that one of our central couple is rich and…

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