Saturday, November 07, 2009

One Step Ahead

So I eventually decided that I'd give that big project a go. Yes, I've got plenty of other claims on my attention at the moment, but for various reasons this is something I thought I'd take a shot at.

Over the last week I've been stealthily working at a story for
National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short). For those unfamiliar with the scheme, the rules are that you start writing any time after midnight on November 1 and you finish before the stroke of midnight on November 30/December 1. In that 30-day period, you write a book of no fewer than 50,000 words.

And that's it.

There are no prizes for this. The point of the exercise is to put a rocket up the bum of people who sit around wanting to write a book but never quite finding the time. By the end of the month, the ideal situation is that you've broken the back of your chosen project, that you have a sizeable manuscript that may not be JK Rowling but that gives you the raw material you need to turn into (hopefully) a viable novel.

My big concern with this - beyond "Do I have the time?" - was the way I write stories in general. I plan. I plot and I fiddle with a tale until I know exactly where it's going and how it's going to get there. Then I start to write. That's not to say I don't deviate from my route map as I go, but I have to have the route map to begin with.

For this project, however, I started with a vague idea for a villain and a single idea for a scene: just enough to get me going. At the end of each day, when I've made my word count, I've been thinking up enough plot to fill the next day's writing. And, somewhat surprisingly, I'm rather enjoying it. Of course, there's the very real possibility I'll get to the middle of the month (or earlier) and find the whole thing is absolute pants, an irredeemable mess that's wasted countless hours of my time. But so far being just one day ahead of the story is working for me.

(I have to admit that I thought of an ending the other night. I'm keeping it tucked away somewhere safe ...)

So here's a little widgety thing that the project organisers provide for procrastinating bloggers like myself.

I'll pop in and update it every couple of days, so you can see how I'm travelling and if I'm falling behind at all. Feel free to drop me a line and have a go if it looks like I'm slacking off.

Apart from that, let's see how it goes ...


Blogger Roo Green said...

What happened to that novel you startd writing either at uni or just after. I remember thinking it was a corker...

7:40 PM  
Blogger Pete Kempshall said...

I've still got a big box of notes for it somewhere. Maybe one day ...

10:29 PM  
Blogger Peter Pan said...

An ex of mine is doing this too.

How is yours doing? is that word count of 20k up to date?
Good luck!

6:22 PM  
Blogger Pete Kempshall said...

Yep, that's bang up to date. Thought I'd have to reload it every couple of days but it must be linked directly to the NaNo site or something.

That puts me spot on where I need to be - lost all of today cleaning for a house inspection ...

6:54 PM  

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