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How to Write Like Haruki Murakami

Ever wish you could write like Haruki Murakami? His new novel reveals a number of the writing secrets behind his signature style of prose.

Murakami’s 1Q84 will hit stores on October 25. The plot of the 930-page novel revolves around a mysterious novella entitled “Air Chrysalis,” a book that could have been written by Murakami himself. As various characters read this novel, Murakami provides clues for aspiring writers hoping to emulate his style.

As UK gamblers speculate about Murakami’s chances of winning the Nobel Prize for Literature, we’ve collected five writing tips we learned while reading a review copy of the massive novel…

How to Write Like Haruki Murakami

1. Write simply and carefully: “While the writing was deceptively simple, a closer read revealed that it was in fact calculated and arranged with great care.”

2. Edit out all unnecessary words: “No part of it was overwritten, but at the same time it had everything it needed.”

3. Focus on literal descriptions: “Figurative expressions were kept at a minimum, but the descriptions were still vivid and richly colored.”

4. Touch on dark themes: “A peculiar darkness pervaded the novella’s style … it was like a fabulous children’s story, but hidden down deep somewhere it had a strong, dark undercurrent.”

5. Write musical prose: “Above all, the style had a wonderful musical quality. Even without reading it aloud, the reader would recognize its deep sonority.”

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