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.


Kirk out

NaNo Technology

At this time of year all aspiring writers of fiction gear up for the first of November when Nanowrimo starts. Nanowrimo is short for National Novel-writing Month and has spawned a number of spin-offs such as National Poetry Writing Month (Napowrimo) and Nablopomo which sounds like a member of the Soviet Politburo but is to do with blog posting. With Nanowrimo the idea is to produce a novel of 50,000 words in a month. If this sounds a tall order, that’s because it is; if you write every day including weekends you’d have to produce over a thousand words (or three pages of A4) a day. If that doesn’t seem like much just sit down and try it – and if you don’t know what 50,000 words looks like, it’s a short novel or a longish novella (or a Russian short story.)

I had already decided not to do Nano this year, seeing as how I’ve just finished a novel, but now a brilliant idea has occurred to me. What about a short story collection! There are often competitions for themed short story collections and I usually struggle to fit my disparate stories under one umbrella, so what if I were to write a collection that was themed from the start? November 1st is (in theory) the first day of our brand new bright Brexit tomorrow, so what better theme than Brexit Britain?

I shall update you as we go along.

Kirk out

Too Soon For Poetry?

I have been busy of late: yesterday I didn’t even have time to do yoga, such was the rush I was in as I exited the house, sandwiches and thermos in saddle-bags, to cycle over to the Martyrs and experience church followed by the AGM.  In between these two events some quite unfeasibly large and sticky Danish pastries were served.  Then we hied us to Town Hall square where I ate my sandwiches and then we mooched around the shops until it was time for the People’s Arts Collective meeting.

At the PAC meeting we discussed our launch in May, when we will have an event with a number of performances, stalls, installations etc – and another event in September where we will be inviting a Special Guest.  I’m not allowed to say who this is yet, but watch this space…

So after that we took a slow walk up to Narborough Rd and installed ourselves in Yesim’s.  I hadn’t been there since we moved, so it was good to see Hayri and the others and to enjoy a newly-refurbished bar with more space.  A load of people turned up but I left early as I was knackered and had to cycle home; by this time I’d had enough of cycling and walking and arrived home utterly shattered.

So!  Today I have had a disappointment – the Richard Attenborough centre have rejected my proposal to run a poetry course there.  They made an odd response, I thought – saying that it was ‘too soon’ to run a course like mine.  I couldn’t understand why that would be – so I’ve written back to them asking why it’s too soon to run a course which was very successful just a couple of weeks ago at that same venue.  I don’t know what they’re thinking, quite honestly.  Before that, I went over to the University to put some posters up for English tuition and someone told me the English teaching centre might be hiring, so I will check that out.

In the afternoon I worked on some poems for Westcotes Library and Sing for Water – and began to get together a short story collection for Boobooks:

And that’s me up to date.

How about you?

Kirk out

Less Will Be More

It’s a library kinda week; I’m still waiting for my train to come so I can finish the review of ‘Ideas above our Station’, a train-based short story collection.  I have submitted this twice now to Thresholds and they keep saying they like my style etc but could I just…?  So I did just… – and now they’ve come back to me again saying, yes it’s better but couldn’t I just also…?  Oh, and by the way I need to reduce the word-count.  So they want more content but in fewer words.

* Sigh *

I guess this is pretty much par for the course, though.  So to occupy me while I’m waiting for my train-book to arrive, I shall be going to the library to take part in the Crime Group, where we will be discussing Rod Duncan’s book, ‘Backlash’.  I shall be complaining that due to the sustained tension of the long final scene it kept me awake until 1 am.  But to sustain me after that I am now reading the much gentler ‘Thrones, Dominations’ which is a sort of post-mortem mish-mash of a Lord Peter Wimsey novel.  Begun by Dorothy L Sayers and completed by Jill Paton Walsh, it’s turning out to be an excellent read, and much better bed-time stuff than a high-octane chase through the back streets of Leicester.  I shall post a full review when I’m finished.

And now I must away.  The library beckons!


Kirk out