The Great American Novel

It’s the first day of July – Independence Day is just around the corner, and if you’re an American writer there is a good chance that you are busy writing the next Great American Novel.

Last week while pondering The Great American Novel I wrote down a list of what would you need to include in your story to make your book qualify as The Great American Novel:

  1. a revolutionary beginning
  2. a charming “coming-of-age” story
  3. a romance
  4. a “come-from-behind” victory
  5. a hero with a flashing smile and twinkling eyes
  6. a “gut-busting” success
  7. a “rags-to-riches” saga
  8. an “us and them” struggle
  9. a religious background
  10. a rapture prediction
  11. guns, car chases and lots of explosions
  12. manifest destiny and American exceptionalism
  13. scapegoats, super villains and other monsters
  14. flags waving and lots of red, white and blue
  15. cowboys and indians
  16. terrorists and warmongers
  17. greed, sex, gossip and lies
  18. the American dream of home ownership
  19. cars, highways and road-trips
  20. good cops, bad cops and buddy cops
  21. football, basketball, baseball and ultimate fighting
  22. a ride into the sunset
  23. a twist at the end of the story
  24. a sequel

And there you have it… just fill in the details and you’ve got a best-seller or a timeless work of literary fiction.

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