Sunday, 23 October 2011

Do something that terrifies you 2 - this time it's literary

Last week I wrote a post about doing things that were out of your comfort zone. Taking risks, doing things to which you were unaccustomed. And I wrote this in the final paragraph:

Onto the next challenge. There's something else I'm thinking of doing in November that quite frankly scares the bejeesus out of me.
Since then I've been asked about this mysterious challenge by quite literally no people at all. Thanks. It's nice to be loved. Very well then, here we go.

Is it possible to write a an entire novel from scratch, all 50,000 words of it, in a single month? While doing the normal 'having a job and trying to live a normal life' stuff? I'm not sure, but I'm thinking I'd like to know.

For the last few Novembers I've done something called NaBloPoMo - National Blog Posting Month. Throughout the month you commit to write a brand new blog post every single day. It's quite a challenge; you need to think about something to write and find the time to write it every day. But this year I knew I would be struggling. The posts haven't exactly been coming thick and fast, have they?

So I had an epiphany. Why not just have one great big stonking idea and concentrate on that instead?

I know. If I do this I suspect we'll be looking back on that statement with laughter in the weeks to come.

NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month and, during November, about 250,000 amateur writers worldwide commit to write a novel from scratch. The rules are quite simple. You can't start until 1 November. You must finish by midnight on 30 November. And you must write 50,000 words. That's actually quite short for a novel (anything under 40,000 is a novella, whatever one of those is), but still, it's quite a task.Just to give you an idea, you get about 250-300 words on a side of A4.

If I do this, I have to write 1,667 words every day. And just typing any old rubbish won't do. It really needs to have characters, a setting, plot, points of view, dialogue, etc. Typing the word 'Dust' 50,000 times really won't do, although it might get me into the Booker shortlist for 2012.

This is, without a doubt, one of the most stupid ideas I've ever had. And trust me, I've had a few. The helicopter-based challenge TV show set in Jerusalem, called 'Challenge Hannukkah' being just one.

But I think we can safely agree that I'm not one for physical effort. I can't climb mountains. I certainly don't do marathons. But writing? It's at least in the same postal district as my comfort zone. Hey, maybe I can even get people to sponsor me to do it and raise some cash for a good cause? You know, pledge cash and get a dedication, pay a certain amount and get a character named after you, that sort of thing.

But I'm still not certain. It's acually quite scary. Katie has been supportive. I mean, having me locked away in the spare room for a big chunk of next month is no laughing matter. But she hasn't said no, which I'm taking as support.

I need some opinions, people. Is this a silly idea? Should I just get it out of my system? Something you would support? Would you want to see the end result? (It would not be pretty - first drafts never are.)

Whaddaya think, loyal readers? The comment box is just there. Ahem.


City Girl said...

We do love you. We also trust you'll eventually give up the good without prompting.

For the record? I guessed it was NoNoWriMo. Good luck!!

alejna said...

I admit that I also guessed it was NaNoWriMo...

I think it's a great plan. I will cheer you on, at least in my head. Rah, rah! (Also, you say "silly idea" like it's a bad thing...)

Anonymous said...

I think its a great idea. Go for it! I'll save some cheers for mid-month.
vicki in alaska


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