How long is long enough?

Today I signed up at www.nanowrimo.org for the write-a-book -in-a-month event. Starting on 1 November the aim is a 50,000 word novel by midnight on 30 Nov. That’s 1600+ words a day for the consistent. Don’t edit, is the advice, this is a first draft, edit later. That’s new for me.

Everyone who achieves the word count in the time set wins. No fee, but a donation requested if you make anything as a result of doing it. No prizes. Last year over two hundred thousand people worldwide started and sixty thousand plus finished. Crazy, why would anyone do this? I don’t know about anyone else, but my reasons are to do with just making me write and keep going. I have an idea, arising from a short story. I plan to ignore the short story and just use the idea, though a few bits might end up similar.

I’m away in Melbourne for six of the thirty days of November, so that could be a challenge.

Change of topic — I’m half way through Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, the book that has recently been announced as the winner of this year’s Man Booker Prize. It’s excellent. Even though I kind of know the plot — Henry VIII and all that, focussed around Thomas Cromwell — it’s rivetting. From a writer’s point of view it is very interesting, not to mention clever, the way she writes in the third person almost entirely from Thomas Cromwell’s point of view. ‘He’ most often refers to Thomas, including his thoughts, but it’s not the usual kind of ‘voice of god’ writing. I am fascinated by how she does this.

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