You know those crazy Yanks who try to write a novel in 30 days? Well, we reckon you can do even better. Or, at least, do something more ridiculous. Welcome to The 30-Hour Novel.
National Novel-Writing Month, better known by its mildly irritating abbreviation, NaNoWriMo, is an annual festival of literary frustration in which people across the world (but mostly America) attempt to write a novel in just 30 days.
There are two problems with this approach. Firstly, nothing of serious literary merit is going to come out of a bunch of semi-pros furiously clattering out 50,000 words over the course of a month, with no time for relaxation or reflection.
Sure, there have been great short stories written in that time, and perhaps even the odd novel by one of history’s literary geniuses. But for the average punter? The bar is set too high. And that’s a lot words just to work out that the writer perhaps should have spent his month more productively.
Which leads us to the second problem: who in any case can take a month off work for such a thing? We don’t know anyone.
But what about a weekend? well… that’s just possible. And what started as a joke between a few Kernel writers and other journalists is turning into something potentially rather wonderful.
Since so many of our readers and subscribers aren’t just tech gurus but journalists, producers, liberal arts students and budding amateur writers, we thought it would be fun to throw our own version of NaNoWriMo (we’re calling it NaNoWriWee… you’re welcome) open to the public.
We’ve decided to solve both of the above problems by (a) not being concerned too much about length or literary merit and (b) shortening the entire endeavour to a weekend. That’s right, 30 hours instead of 30 days, with 15 hours spent writing each day. We’re doing it on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 January 2013.
Other than the word count and time limit, the rules for NaNoWriWee are much the same as for NaNoWriMo:
- Write a novel (or, as is more likely, novella… but push yourselves) between Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 January.
- Start from scratch. None of your own previously written prose can be included in your NaNoWriWee draft
- Write a novel (or novella). We define a novel as a lengthy work of fiction.
- Be the sole author
- Write more than one word repeated 50,000 times
Want to join in? Fill out the form below and we’ll keep you posted. A limited number of participating Kernel subscribers will be hosted at The Kernel’s offices in east London and fed coffee, Pro Plus, pizza and booze. The rest of the party will happen wherever you are!
We’ll keep in touch with each other via Twitter and Facebook and share pictures on the website of our progress.
We’ll provide a DropBox for submissions on Sunday night and post the whole lot on Monday morning for the public to vote on. There will be winners – and, of course, prizes – in the following categories, following the public vote:
- Best novel
- Best science fiction or technology-related novel
- Best humorous or satirical novel
- Best sex scene
There will also be a number of Special Mentions, to be detailed later and judged by the Kernel editorial team.
We’ll update this post with a confirmed list of participants and more details about rules, prizes and entry details over the next few weeks. In the meantime, here’s a Guardian guide to writing a novel in a month. Read it and digest it – remembering to shorten timings appropriately.
Update: if you want to join us at The Kernel’s east London offices for #NaNoWriWee, read this page.