Or it might be a profound relief. Maybe you think I’m finally getting the therapy I need. Sadly, no. But then, sadly, yes.
I’ve always been confused by the process of novel writing. I know it takes work. I know this because I wrote one once. It remains unpublished, but I’m not overly concerned about this, because reading it with a fresh eye I can appreciate the complete pile of crap that it is. It’s reasonably well written, even if I do say so myself, but it doesn’t have much of a story to tell.
This year I have been proudly launching into a novel that I hope will be well received by publishers and readers alike. Over the past five months I have tried to persevere and have managed to knock out a respectable 7000 words or so. The story’s at the point where things are going to start happening.
Two weeks ago today my workmate, Bill, sent me the link to the Southern Cross Novel Writing Challenge (nicknamed SocNoc). I clicked and learned that the object is to knock out a 50,000 word novel in a month. There’s a similar challenge run worldwide in November, but Kiwis are enjoying the early summer then; we need a good cold month with a long weekend to take something like this on.
But Bill said: “I’ve signed up. I’m going to do it.”
Which was like saying: “I double dog dare you.”
And you can’t turn down a double-dog dare, right? So, I trawled my mind and dredged up an idea I’d had about 15 years ago, a sequel to my unpublished first novel. Except this time something actually happens. So I signed up for the challenge.
Now, to complete the 50,000 words in 30 days you have to average just under 1700 words a day. Eleven days in, you should be about to hit 19,000 words. As part of the challenge they ask you to update your word count daily. Bill, arguing the: “if I’m going to fail, I’m going to fail spectacularly” case, has been sitting on 2060 words for most of the week.
And there’s a handful who are still sitting on the big doughnut.
It’s odd how some people hit the literary wall, too. Like one writer shot up to 22,000 words really quickly, and then hasn’t updated the word count in about three days. Another went from almost nothing to more than 28,000 words last weekend, and hasn’t really shifted from there for two days.
Now, the reason I haven’t posted a new blog for June is that I’ve decided to take the challenge seriously. I mean, double dog dare, right? I started with a hiss and a roar, hammering out the story and was rapt at the way it seemed to be telling itself. I found this highly entertaining. Then I hit the wall; except the wall didn’t stop me, it just slowed me down. I knew this was going to happen though and I prepared for it by surging ahead early on. So, 11 days in, I am aiming to have kicked 35,000 words on target for 50,000 by Monday.
Wish me luck.