Every culture on earth needs its literary whizz kids, enormobrains fresh out of college who become overnight sensations, twatting the old guard with their hip novels that describe the new age in bold new ways. Even Papua New Guinea probably has its Couplands, its Easton Ellises, its Selfs, its Welshes, its Palahniuks. Though they're obvs gonna focus on the growing influence of tractors on agriculture than the information security implications of the superdominance of Google.
And you can be one of them too. Don't look so surprised. That semi-autobiographical novel about witty coffee shop assistants? That's your ticket out of Cafe Crème. All you need to do is change practically everything about it.
Have your own amazing backstory which is also fiction. Also known as the Frey approach/DBC Pierre tack. That way, you get two waves of pre-book publicity. The first concerns your gripping life. The second concerns the shameful public realisation that all of that was lies. Particularly canny operators will get a third: the one where you actually start lapsing into all those habits you'd previously made up.
Not very important. If necessary, use like scaffolding to build the book, then edit out of the final draft.
Satirise society's vapidity by using lots of shopping and fucking.
Characters should embrace irony. If they work in an office, there should be a doll of Mr T in the corner. They should all talk in long monologues about their first childhood experience of watching Mr T, and how schlocky TV provided the only sanity within their disintegrating post-nuclear families.
They buy into paradoxes like fakeness being its own authenticity, and thus worship things simply because they are superficial. One of them ends up in a supermarket queue behind Suzi Quattro. Big news. They are aware of how Apple is just as bad as Microsoft, and it has made them even more disillusioned. They constantly spout ironic business jargon at each other.
Popular music should form a virtual backbeat to every act. If a song comes on the radio, it's a kitsch classic, say 'Crazy Horses' by The Osmonds, not something cutting-edge that will date. All characters should be able to quote Lou Reed at length, and have intensely detailed theories about their favourite popstar.
Have some zany punctuation habits. The easiest is to randomly insert dashes, the crazy dogfucking ADDs of the punctuation greenfields, bulldozers scoring the playing fields brown. Eg: “the hobos drink on – whassup Julius, you comin tonight – don't ditch me now Donna Karan's gonna be there heycanigetthatwrapnow?” Arrange them into long breathless sentences that suck in everything that might be happening at that moment.
There needs to be an unconventional time sequence. Duh! For beginners, maybe write the whole story backwards. Begin with being killed. Then work your way step-by-step towards the chic niterie where your narrative begins nine minutes earlier.
Write yourself into the book... suddenly, on page forty two, you appear and your own story starts to overtake those of the characters. Occasionally, you meet up for coffee with the main characters. You can obviously read all their thoughts, and this starts to bug them, as does your habit of making them pay the bill for the coffee, until – uh oh! - they plot to kill you. The death of the author, baby. That's philosophy right there.
The characters should all talk to each other in witticisms which convey at once that they are: a) very nasty people and b) v. v. good looking.
“Cheer up. I've just fucked your sister. I'd pay your analyst bills in compensation, but that might count as prostitution.”
“You think you're the first premature ejaculator to say that to me? I'm not down. I just can't move my facial muscles since the temazepam we had on that weekend in Nagasaki.”