It’s mid-October, which means a fair proportion of the writing community is starting to eye next month with nervous glances. November is National Novel Writing Month; in which writers across the globe try to hone a single story into at least 50,000 words over 31 days. It’s a challenge, it’s a community and, for many, it’s an obsession.
There are some basic rules to NaNoWriMo, like it should be a single piece of fiction, which you haven’t started writing (planning is OK though) before November 1st, but no-one checks up on you and “winning” is merely determined by inserting your word count into their count feature, so it’s a question of honesty. Mind you, the prize is a PDF certificate and a warm fuzzy feeling, so if you cheat, you’re only really cheating yourself.
For the last two years, I’ve followed the rules. Eric is the product of last year’s effort – 80,000 words or so – and Adam (at 120,000 with a LOT of padding) was 2009’s contribution. This year, however, I’m trying something slightly different.
I’m going to be away from my computer / internet connection / life for the next three weeks, (blog posts will be brought to you through the wonders of delayed posting!) so I’m going to start November a week behind. Also, I’m still deep into editing Eric, and don’t really want another novel on my back at the end of November. Finally, I’m signed up to do a short story writing project I’m referring to as Booker’s Seven, for which the target is 49,000 words.
So, as of November, I will be trying to write seven short stories, each 7,000 words long (plus a bit so that the total tips 50k!). Each story has been allocated one of Christopher Booker’s seven plots (he says there are only seven possible plotlines in all stories. More another time on my reaction to this), seven main characters, seven themes and seven first-lines. I’m working with a group of 6 other people, who are combining these differently, so that we will in the end have 49 stories mixing up our plots and themes, but the writing will be entirely my own.
To add to the challenge, I have decided to write the stories in seven different genres, most of which I’ve never dabbled with before.
In all honesty, I suspect I will find this harder than a single novel of 50,000 words, but I like a challenge, and having been a purist for two years, I’m ready to branch out. To all my nano-ing buddies, good luck with the first week. I’ll catch up with you after 7th!