Except not really, because I'll be focusing on my final portfolio for a nonfiction writing class I'm taking.
It's been a challenge. I'm most comfortable writing sci fi and fantasy novels. Short stories don't come naturally, but I've learned the basics of how to write them. Lyrical nonfiction essays are another beast entirely. However, through reading the works of masters and writing over a dozen during the term, I've learned a lot, some of it very applicable to my own writing.
1. Kill your darlings.
This is a widely known writing "rule," to delete anything that you love for no other reason than you wrote it and it's perfect. At the sentence level, this is overwritten prose. In a novel, you can get by with a bit here and there. However, when writing nonfiction essays, this sticks up. My classmates and professor were always quick to call out an overwritten sentence or something that was just beautiful for beauty's sake. Plainer prose is almost always more powerful. Whenever you put something in to make the piece "lyrical" or "literary," take it out. Stick to the story, the narrative. Beauty will come out of clear, focused writing. Any overwritten sentences just make it look like you're trying too hard.
2. Let the form echo the content.
The best essays we read used the structure of the essay to reinforce what they were talking about. A piece about the history of the Monopoly game subtly moved through the narrative by following the spaces on the board. Another piece about repetition drew on repetition to organize its ideas. I wrote a piece about Nagoya Castle when its cherry blossoms are blooming, using some Japanese words throughout. My class suggested that I draw on the grammatical structure of those sentences to rewrite the essay. This can be applied to writing novels in a way I hadn't thought about before. Look at the content of your story and see if any of it lends itself to a certain structure. This can be the form of the piece (such as epistolary), the tense, the point-of-view, chapter length and breaks, or the starting point. If your novel is a thriller, for example, where the clock is racing, putting it in present tense might make it stronger.
3. Stakes are incredibly important.
When my piece on Nagoya Castle was workshopped, one thing that was brought up was that there was nothing at stake. My classmates wanted to know what the narrator had to lose. Why were they reading the piece? At first, I was pretty confused. It was a lyrical essay about cherry blossoms, after all, not a spy novel. But having something at stake, no matter how slight or subtle, does one vital thing: it makes the reader care. There should always be something at stake in your novel, even before the inciting incident. Every chapter, every page. It doesn't have to be life and death. It can be as subtle as someone being afraid they will never see a place again (my revised essay). Whatever it is, it will make the reader care.