The Challenge begins with a need. My need — for money. I’m an anti-capitalist, in my personal philosophy, but as John Updike once pointed out, we live in a capitalist economy and in it we must survive and thrive. For better or worse, I’m a writer; it’s what I’ve always been, in spite of having no professional publications to my name. It was just a couple of years ago that I decided to own that profession and to describe myself that way in public. When people asked me what I did I would answer that I was a Writer. Just so. A year ago I self-published my first novel.
That was an education, let me tell you. I graduated from Brooklyn College without any Creative Writing credits, though the Professor who taught the English 101 course did tell me that I was a Writer; I hardly noticed his comment then but with hindsight, I understand what he was telling me so cryptically. Professor, I understand.
The Challenge is to write a trilogy at the rate of one novel a month. With each one a minimum of 50k words. (That’s the NaNoWriMo length and lots of people have done that. So it’s eminently doable. )
And I’m talking about good words. I want a best seller and that’s what I intend to write.
Now it’s your turn. Is there anyone out there who’s willing to take up The Challenge with me? Let’s hear from you and get this thing going from January 1, 2017.
In the meantime I’ve collected some inspiration from across the web that I’ve posted on the wall over my workdesk.
Writers who’ve done it.
Muriel Spark wrote The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie in under a month.
Robert Louis Stevenson wrote Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in six days.
John Boyne wrote The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas in less than three days.
Jack Kerouac wrote On The Road in less than three weeks.
Many writers complete the NaNoWriMo challenge.
Writing Rules for Me
Focus on characters.
Remember that you’re trying to make a living as a storyteller
Forget all your literary stuff; it’s boring.
Listen to yourself; read your writing out loud before you click save.
Read lots of books from as wide a variety of writers as you can assemble. Don’t include anyone just because they’re supposed to be ‘Great Writers’. Don’t exclude anyone who’s not on the ‘A’ list.
Write carefully constructed sentences, that surprise, delight, and satisfy your reader.
You’re a Genius. Your stories are among the best ever told and you can write as well as anyone, better than most.
Be open to your characters as you write; it’s their story after all.