Monday, August 31, 2009
Could You Write a Book in a Month?
A lot of people think they can – 119,000 people to be precise!
That’s how many signed up to the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) website last year to try and write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days (that’s about 1,666 words per day).
NaNoWriMo is the brainchild of Chris Baty who kicked it all off in July 1999 with just 21 people. But the idea has obviously scratched a creative itch for a lot of people and now, every year more people sign up and pass the magical 50,000 word target.
There is a full set of rules on the NaNoWriMo website but basically, starting at midnight November 1 people start churning out a novel which must reach a minimum of 50,000 words before 11:59:59 PM on November 30. Strictly speaking, of course, you will have had a year to think about your book and plan it accordingly but that’s okay as long as no previously written material is used.
Novels can be on any theme and in any genre and in any language. The definition of what is a novel is pretty relaxed. "If you believe you're writing a novel, we believe you're writing a novel too,” say the organisers.
50,000 is pretty short for a novel but is a perfect length for Black Horse Westerns. (It’s not a novella which is generally agreed to be about 40,000 words.) Notable novels around 50,000 words include The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Brave New World and The Great Gatsby – proof if any were needed that a ‘short’ novel can punch way above its weight!
Organizers of the event say that the aim is simply to get people to start writing, using the deadline as an incentive to get the story going and to put words to paper. What is really refreshing is that there is no prize - anyone who reaches the 50,000 word mark is declared a winner and the only reward is the achievement of the finished novel.
So if you need a deadline to get down that best-selling novel you’ve sitting on for years, why not try NaNoWriMo this year? Chris Baty has also written “No Plot? No Problem” which is a guide to the whole process of trying to write a novel in 30 days.
I’m seriously considering doing it myself to see if I can churn out a BHW. I’ll let you know how I get on!
- Could You Write a Book in a Month?
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