Stadler University in the Scottish Highlands has today released the results of its ground-breaking decade-long study into the secrets of writing a bestselling novel.
“It’s been a lot of hard work but it’s been worth it,” said Professor Juanita Randling, the lead author of the study and a world-renowned expert on popular fiction. “And we’re pleased to be able to share it with the world.”
The entire report is available for sale from the university as they attempt to recoup the costs of the study, which informed but confidential sources have estimated to be over a billion dollars. But several key components of the formula have been released publicly as part of today’s announcement.
“We hope people take advantage of this research,” Professor Randling said. “The more of them who can tick writing a bestseller off their bucket list, the sooner they can move on to spending the money they will make from it.”
The formula for writing a bestselling novel includes:
1. The main protagonist must be male.
“The emasculation of men in the last few decades has trickled through into fiction – actually, it’s been more like a gusher – but bestsellers have ignored political correctness. After all,” said Associate Professor Joshua Caton, the study’s co-author, “who wants to read about men being saved by women? No one, that’s who.”
2. There must be a female love interest.
“Love still makes the world go round,” according to Francine Shay, the study’s Lead Research Assistant. “And the protagonist needs someone to save. Whether it’s a wife, girlfriend, daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, cousin, whoever, the love interest is crucial. And she has to be beautiful. Ugly people just don’t cut it.”
3. The good guys must be American.
“It’s simply an imperative,” visiting US academic and study contributor Dr Ronald Evans told this reporter. “Not a moral one but a bestselling one, particularly if you’re writing in English. Russian heroes, Chinese heroes, Iranian heroes, it’s just nonsense.”
4. But the bad guys can be American government institutions.
“American government institutions are full of left-leaning liberals,” Dr Evans adds. “We used to be able to call them communists but now they sue the pants off you if you do. Bestselling fiction is the last place you can tell the truth.”
5. The bad guys must be caught in the end.
“It’s reward for effort for anyone willing to wade through 350 pages of a novel,” PhD candidate Evelyn Long explained. “The bad guys get away with all sorts of things in the real world and we read fiction for the poetic justice that’s lacking in our everyday lives. Any novel in which the bad guys don’t get caught is simply missing its final chapters. And it’s definitely missing the ultimate element that will make it a bestseller.”
Professor Randling and Associate Professor Caton, along with a dozen research assistants and study contributors, have tendered their resignations to the university and plan to put the years of research to good use. Despite none of the academics having completed their novels, they have all signed multi-book, multi-million dollar contracts with leading publishers.
Rumours have been swirling that key parts of the formula have been withheld but the authors have denied this. “Bestselling novels tend to be better written and we’re looking forward to improving the quality of all writing. We owe it to readers everywhere. Anyone who purchases the complete report will have everything they need to write a bestselling novel.”
This reporter, for one, looks forward to the guaranteed good reads in years to come.
For those who haven’t figured it out yet, all academics, institutions and secrets referenced in this study are completely fictional and tongue-in-cheek. If there is a secret formula to writing a bestselling novel, nobody has figured it out yet. Happy April Fools’ Day!