Comedy writer Gary Pearson's surefire tips on writing a bestselling novel
As a writer for This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Gary Pearson is no stranger to controversy. But his latest novel, Me and The Crack Mayor, may be a bit much for even Marg Delahunty: it's a fictionalized account of a young speechwriter employed by possibly the worst mayor in the world: the morally vacant Jim Clark (and his omnipresent brother Tim).
Between fending off lawsuits and researching Jamaican patois, Gary somehow found the time to supply us with a few hilarious "tips" on how to write a bestseller. (Even if he hasn't written one yet.)
- Before starting, have a complete understanding of the English language, including grammar and spelling. I don’t have that and it really slowed me down.
- Go to university or college for courses on creative writing and study English Literature. I didn’t do that either and my book likely isn’t as good because of that. What I’m suggesting might take years or weeks, depending on if we’re talking University of Toronto, or The Learning Annex. I bet both are good. If you read my book, you might think right away, “This might have been better if this guy had taken a course.”
- Send your novel out to all the literary agents you can find. Publishers don’t accept unsolicited work so you have to go through one of these agents. They decide to publish your book. They pay you a huge advance, help you edit it to make it better, do great publicity, and ta da!, you’re a top bestselling author! None of these things have happened to me.
- Read the genre you’re writing. Immerse yourself in the type of book you’re trying to write. I didn't do that either. Before starting Me and the Crack Mayor, I read about five Stephen King books. People are probably going to find it jarring in my novel, when suddenly in chapter seven, a Plymouth Fury comes to life and starts to kill people.
Gary Pearson is an award-winning television writer for such iconic Canadian programs as This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Corner Gas, Just for Laughs and That's So Weird. Gary has received a Writers' Guild of Canada Award, a Canadian Comedy Award and a Canadian Screen Award. He has also been nominated for 6 Gemini Awards and 3 Canadian Screen Awards for his writing and producing. Me and the Crack Mayor is his second novel after the well-reviewed romantic comedy Slapshot of Love.