I shouldn’t be writing this

On November 19, 2011, in writing, by Milo

Strictly speaking I shouldn’t be writing this blog post! A couple of months ago a friend of mine – Keith Walters from Books and Writers mentioned that November would be a very busy month. There would be little communication, no chance of drinks and emails were out of the question! The reason? He, like thousands around the world, would be participating in the annual Nanowrimo challenge – National Novel Writing Month – where established and rookie authors attempt to write 50,000 words in one month, beginning on November 1st and ending on the 30th.

When I first heard of the challenge I never in my wildest dreams thought I would take part. It just seemed ridiculously hard! I have enough to do with reading and reviewing books let alone attempting to write a novel! However, due to the enthusiasm of friends on twitter – Keith, Julia Crouch, Will Carver, Dave Jackson, Abi Fenton, and Meg Gardiner to name but a few – I decided to think about it and see if I could come up with a basic idea and see where it took me. I have forgotten to list many friends and for that I can only apologise, I’ll make up for it when I publish the book and will name and shame you all then!!!

During a trip to London last month I was sitting in a Covent Garden pub with friend and author Charlie Phillips and I mentioned that I had an idea for a murder – fictional of course – and while we both enjoyed the hospitality of the pub, watching the rain falling outside, I told her my idea. Charlie went to town and gave me a few suggestions which led to the naming of the novel – The Signet – further murders and storyline and I left the pub thinking it had legs. I wasn’t certain how strong those legs were but it had given me an idea and it was at that point – partly due to the alcohol – I decided to attempt to write it!

With just 12 days left to write I have completed 32,000 words and still have the same enthusiasm I had when I began on the first of this month – quite incredible really! I’ve changed, developed, researched but most of all I’ve had fun. No stranger to reviewing books as I am I find the reviewing process fairly structured, you comment on the narrative, characterisation, the plot and what you think of the book. I never expected to revel in the freedom of writing a novel. There are no rules; no one is looking over your shoulder telling you how and what to write but most of all no one is telling you how stupid you are. I love the fact that you can begin writing a paragraph about one character and by the time you are half way through you’ve changed your mind and take the character or indeed location in a totally different direction.

When I began writing a few weeks ago I had an idea my serial killer had been born in Japan but now lived in the UK/America. I had no plan to write a backstory for the killer but during a little downtime a few nights ago I came across a remote island in Japan called Yakushima Island and decided to write the killer’s history, parents, early life and upbringing on the island. It’s fascinating the things you learn by accident. From an acorn a tree grows, or is that a novel?! Although as far as I am aware the island has never been struck by a Typhoon, I’ve re-written her history and she has suffered two!

The most recent – Typhoon Kekoa – has tragic consequences on the killer’s life and we discover how the killer reacts and deals with the extreme weather. That’s what I love! I’ve had so much fun writing about Japan, Hiroshima, the Enola Gay and Japanese monkeys I’m not sure I want to go back to begin writing the third murder!!

If you are participating in Nanowrimo then I hope you are enjoying it as much as I am. If not – there’s always next year!

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1 Response » to “I shouldn’t be writing this”

  1. Jan says:

    Well done, Miles! I remember you saying at the beginning that you probably wouldn’t finish Nanowrimo, but I think that statement can be thrown out the window now, as you’ve proved you can do it by getting this far.

    And here is your next challenge:

    Good Luck!

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