"Writing a Novel" offers both a practical guide for budding writers and a source of alternative approaches for the more experienced novelist. Rosemary Aitken introduces the concept of the reader contract - what the writer must undertake to do in order to satisfy the reader. Topics covered include getting started - knowing your strengths, understanding your imaginative style and creating a setting for your novel. It covers creating believable and consistent characters, both major and minor, and how to use dialogue to give information and show personality. Creating and sustaining plots and sub-plots, planning the chapters, and controlling the style and pace of the narrative is also covered. Also included is how to deal with publishers and agents.