Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Book of the month

Or rather, book in a month.

Last November I picked up the challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in a month. A crazy thing to do when you only decide to go for it on October 31st, so no plot outline, or character profiles, or story arc or any of that.

Just sit down every day and write 1666.666 words every day for 30 days.

I did it anyway.

Unlike some who started that marathon I did actually finish, as well! Me and thousands of others. Just a personal challenge...
Fred Allen

I can't understand why a person will take a year to write a novel when he can easily buy one for a few dollars. Fred Allen

It sat around for months awaiting 'revision' and 'editing' and 're-writing' and all that stuff. In fact it should probably go in a drawer somewhere to be discovered after my death - and then either read once or burned.

Still, in the modern world I think of it as raw material...and as I want to write a colourful autobiography (now that I lived the life) I don't really want to dwell on this, or get so perfectionist that I hate it, hide it, bin it. And anyway, November fast approaches so I may want to do the whole same thing again!

Why not join me at NaNoWriMo! Ahem.

All sorts of other challenges exist, as you can see on their follow-up page (draw a comic book, write a script, whatever). This also has some very worthy stuff about seriously re-writing if you want to find a publisher. And yes, well, I know all that - I don't think I'm Kerouac or that the zeitgeist needs me.

I decided to experiment with Lulu (reading their How-To descriptions doesn't work for me).

I really don't expect anyone to respect this as anything more than a hilarious rough draft, with flat days of no inspiration, bright ideas never followed up, etc. Still, I wanted to see it in book form. And funnily enough, I noticed that NaNoWriMo have thought of offering a hard copy as a prize to every 'winner' (people who complete the challenge on time) so perhaps it's not such a daft idea.

I asked the magnificent Bobby if he could make me a cover...and he did. I tweaked the writing for typos, etc. I wondered about using 'real people' (as they turned up when my imagination failed) or 'real events' (some of which seem like fiction to me looking back) - but I didn't really have time (at the time) to stop to think.

So (to quote Bob D) "I re-arranged their faces, and gave them all another name". And got it done. For those who care about the Jabba escapade, this describes me back out on the streets, homeless, a year after that high point... Yeah, a little bit of truth...

I have put in an order for one copy of the thing as a 'book' (hard copy) so I can proof-read it and revise if necessary - and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone at this point, but I like to share experiences, so this direct URL will already show you the idea, and it would even work to download a PDF version, or buy a print-on-demand copy for anyone who wants to play. :-)

Then I would have 'sold' a book, which would make me jump around like an Olympic champion (just like when I sold my first Star Wars autograph).

Almost Foolproof
You might prefer to wait until I have done more revision. (Second Edition!)

Right now I doubt that I will do more than order a few copies for family and friends, just for my own amusement. Fun though! I got inspired by the thought of receiving hard copy of our online magazine - Maybe Quarterly - a project we ran this summer rather than produce yet another online version (we did 14 so far). One thing leads to another...

Peace Out!


Anonymous said...

congratulations. felicidades . AMEN VE AMEN
Dreams come True and here is the book!
A big WOW for you!
but.. can you realy think i can stop like this on page 11..???
much love

Toby said...

heh heh

Well, I chose a place and a time to start, so it began in the real world just because I lack imagination, I don't pretend this is an accurate account of time in Barcelona, of course...and I had to keep the word count up, so it all started more like a slowly became more fictional as the month moved on...I also started compressing those real events ('real' festival happened in 1986, for instance).

I felt really happy when Mick turned up as a character, because I never did get a satisfactory version of his book finished... about his mysterious and disorientating meeting with time travellers in September 1982 (when, in 'real life' I had gone to the Convention in Copenhagen), and which so obsessed him for years after, as he tried to write it I enjoyed writing him a happier ending...

This November I may try real 'fiction' but the outline I have remains a kind of autobiography - with anecdotes, rants and raves. Now I know how Lulu works I may put Mick's book up just for fun.

Sorry, the preview doesn't show much, and there was a different chunk of preview on the NaNoWriMo site...but you can actually order either a downloadable PDF or even to book already...I just wanted to have one more look through it all before officially putting it up on Lulu. They allow you to do this intermediate step of the private URL link as a test.

I never did ask permission of anyone to write them in, but you have to understand how desperate a plan it seemed to write 1667 words every day, without editing, correcting, planning, etc. I guess I grabbed Mick's plan, from his diary project of the novel as Roman à Clef (real life thinly disguised).

This is just a phase in my concerted effort at online writing and collaboration.

How quickly you found it!

Anonymous said...

I want by your book. The cover is greet! Julio

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