Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

A thousand words: illustrating the novel to attract readers

Here’s an oldie moldy from a year ago, but I’m still intrigued by the idea of images in novels. Unfortunately, I can’t think of a way to do it in my next book, but maybe somewhere down the line I can start experimenting with it.

Does anyone know of a novel, literary in particular, that uses illustrations effectively?


The reality of it is that books — novels, I mean — are competing with all other “entertainment” media, including You Tube, Twitter, video games, pop music, movies, television, and a few things I’m sure I haven’t heard of yet. And if this really is the case, novels probably don’t stand much of a chance against these more visual, more interactive, and less time-intensive activities (though in the aggregate, people spend much more time, or waste it, doing these things than they do reading novels). The question is, can writers find a way to refashion the novel so that it would appeal on a more visual level, or an interactive one, and pump up its competitive chops in the almighty marketplace?

I’m skeptical, to a great degree, because there’s no getting past the fact that consuming a novel is to read, not to view. And to insert, say in…

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3 comments on “A thousand words: illustrating the novel to attract readers

  1. John W. Howell
    June 5, 2014

    I do know of a novel that uses illustrations. I remember Jailbird by Kurt Vonnegut had some simple drawings of a rectum, but that’s about it.

    • Kevin Brennan
      June 5, 2014

      You’re thinking of Breakfast of Champions, which has a number of little drawings in it. The one you’re talking about looked like this, if I’m not mistaken: ✳ (but bigger…)

      • John W. Howell
        June 5, 2014

        You are probably right. I get so confused

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This entry was posted on June 5, 2014 by in Publishing.
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