Sunday, 17 June 2012

Writing a Novel in a Week?

Can I Write a Novel in a Week?

I don’t know what it is about me that falls for these idiotic ideas. It’s like someone throws down a gauntlet when they say it can’t be done, and I have to rise to the challenge.

I picked this one up from a blog post, which was then thrown open to discussion on a forum. The notion intrigued me, and before I knew it, I used the tried and tested Robinson foot-in-the-mouth manoeuvre and said I was going for it. And now that I’ve said it, I have to do it.

Well, I don’t. I could fail. I probably will. Missing the target is, after all, another of my specialist areas, but this time I’m not worried.

Let me explain.

I don’t, for one moment, imagine I can write a completed, polished novel in seven days, but I do think I can hammer out a workable first draft of 60-70,000 words. It’s only 10,000 words a day, and my all up record was over 13,000 words in a single day. I type roughly 1500 words per hour. To save you reaching for your calculator, that’s 25 wpm; quite a slow speed by your average typist’s standard. The great stumbling blocks have always been:

·         Pausing to correct errors
·         Pausing to walk the dog
·         Pausing for any other reason I can think of, most of which amount to “can’t be bothered”.

All of that will have to stop for a week, with the exception of walking the dog, but that only takes a few minutes because I’m bad on my pins and Joe’s a tired little so-and-so.  I can’t do it and he can’t be bothered doing it (is there some old wives’ tale about pets taking after their owners?)

For the week of 9th-15th July, there will be no correction of errors, there will be curtailed walking of the dog, and there will be no “any other reason”. I will simply sit and type and type and type until I run out of words, patience, cigarettes, beer or any combination thereof.

And what of the outcome? Well we should feel sorry for Maureen. She’s already volunteered to verify the deal. On July 17th, coincidentally my eldest son’s birthday, she has the unenviable task of looking at this piece in the raw.

I, for one, do not envy her.

If you’d like to follow this crackpot plan, I’m blogging my preparation and progress at and your comments will be most welcome.


Writer Pat Newcombe said...

Hope you don't get friction burns on those precious fingers!! Seriously - good luck with it and I'm sure you'll get to your target. Wish I could be that motivated...

DW96 said...

Not so much motivation as boredom, Pat. Thanks for reading. And thanks, too, to Maureen for having me (Double entendre alert!!!!).

JO said...

Good luck with this - my experience, when I have a huge writing day, is managing nothing more than a few scribbles the next day. I think my brain can average between 80000 and 10000 words a week; sometimes they all come on one day and other times they are spread out.

So I'm really impressed you can even thing of this - and I'll be interested to hear if you can think straight at the end of it!

DW96 said...

Thanks, Jo. I'm known for my productivity, but this takes the lunacy to new heights.

As for thinking straight at the end of it, I'm not sure I was thinking straight when I came up with the idea.

jakill said...

Best of luck to both of you!

DW96 said...

Thanks Jean.

John Yeoman said...

That's a wonderful challenge! I once read A Novel in a Month - a clever little book full of cute stickers 'I'm an author!', etc, that we can post on the fridge to keep ourselves motivated.

Its advice is great - but its title is a scam. Sure, we can hack out 70,000 words in a month and maybe we should. That's our first draft. It then takes 11 months to edit it into something readable :)

DW96 said...

Thanks, John.

I have a major novel, entitled Voices (plug, plug) published with Crooked Cat (another plug). I rote the original 120,000 word draft in just 33 days. It took me nearly two years to get it right for publication.