My wife looked up over breakfast this morning and asked if I knew about NaNoWriMo, the annual National Novel Writing Month, a month during whichâ€”as the name suggestsâ€”you write a novel. Yes, yes, I said, I do. Then she said she’s going to take part, and would I like to as well? Which may have been phrased as a question, but wasn’t one.
For those who know my book output, speed-writing is not something I’m new to. Four of my books were each produced in under a month, five if you count the 2009 test-run of the Paige Turner project (my high-speed system that allows five writers to create a 100,000-word novel from first concept to a manuscript that’s ready for print in ten days, and if I told you which writers were involved in the test you might drown in your salivation to read it. Man, that was a fun time). But I’m out of practice with fiction right now, the only piece of conventional narrative I’ve done in the last year is a short for The New Hero anthology that Robin Laws is editing for Stone Skin Press. And it’d be good to get back into the groove.
And a challenge is a challenge. So yes, I’m doing NaNoWriMo this year. I’m going to do it cold. I’ll sit down tomorrow (it starts tomorrow) with no idea of what I’m going to write: no outline, no structure, no characters, no setting, not even a genre. I’ll have my usual pile of inspiration-generators to hand (Once Upon a Time, Rory’s Story Cubes, Oblique Strategies, a Tarot deck, BBC4, my four-year-old’s imagination) but other than that I’ll be in freefall.
Well, sort of. I have two things in place. One: my wife at my back. Two: a title. Whatever it turns out to be, it’ll be called ‘Cold Open’.
Updates to follow.