As I mentioned the other day I’m going to do Nanowrimo this year, and I’m intending to use it to produce a short story collection on a theme. Competitions are very often for a themed collection and I have so many disparate stories I struggle to bring them together, so this is an opportunity to rectify that. The theme will ostensibly be Brexit but with a very big twist. I won’t say more at the moment, just tap my nose mysteriously and remain enigmatic. Right now I’m producing notes and ideas and writing them in a special notebook. I’ve also registered on the official Nanowrimo site and joined a Leicestershire Facebook group. So we’re on the way.
To most non-writers, 50,000 words sounds like a lot – and so it is. But in fact it’s a short novel by normal standards, almost a novella. For comparison, War and Peace is ten times that length, weighing in at 585,000 and The Colour Purple comes in at 66,000. Most novels in the UK are between 80-100,000 and this is considered a good length by publishers. Too short and it makes a very slim volume; too long and it could be off-putting. No such qualms for Proust – ‘A la Recherche’ weighs in at 1,267,000 words, making it one of the longest books in the world (though to be fair it is six books in one).
If you want an idea of the work involved, try filling three sides of A4 (or three pages on a word processor, double spaced.) That gives you around 1000 words. Then multiply by fifty and you’re there. Simple, ain’t it?
I shall as always be setting myself a daily target of 2,380 (50,000 divided by the number of working days in November.) Which is basically 7 pages a day.