I first took part in Nanowrimo back in 2005 when Megan woke me one morning to say that she had heard of it and that I should stop talking about writing a novel and do it. So I did, plucking ideas and characters and scenes from my head with abandon and careering off without any clear idea where I was going. It was one of the best things I have ever done.
I didn't manage the 50,000 words that year (my computer died at 35,000 words leaving me to re-write it all from scratch) and although I continued to work on it during Nanowrimo 2006, 07, and 08, the novel turned out to be riddled with problems, but the intensive experience was invaluable. Nanowrimo encourages you to learn by doing and, ultimately, by failing. One doesn't write great prose at a speed of 1650 words per day but one can start the process of doing so. The writing of a novel has always seemed akin to those vast geological pressures which result in the creation of rocks. It is about amassing, rather than delicately composing. This is what Nanowrimo is good for.
The process of editing a novel - akin to the master artist who takes this rock and sculpts it just as he wishes - is left until afterwards.
Today, I am not going to start a new novel. I have neither the inspiration or inclination to do so. But I am going to use this month to do something different.
Ladies and Gentlemen, let me introduce you to the Books Time and Silence Review writing month. BOREWRIMO for short. Over the next 30 days I aim to write 50,000 words of book reviews in an effort to catch-up with all those that I have failed to write in the last year.
But more than that, I am going to do so in a way that converses with the creative aspirations of other Nanowrimo participants. I will be attempting to incorporate the reviews into short pieces of narrative writing. The reviews will feature just as prominently, but the idea is that the reader will be taken on a creative journey while getting the gist of what I have to say about the book in question. Think of it as Jim Crace's Digested Read meets Jackanory.
It is an idea I've had for a while.The initial point of this blog was to blend creative biography writing with book reviews, and to do so in a way that would neither alienate the new reader, nor bore those who were generous enough to stop by more regularly. I have never made the time to fulfil this. Until now.
This November, I will:
- Try to write 50000 words of book reviews
- Attempt to tell stories - both biographical and fictional - through these reviews.
- Probably fail in both of the above. But, then, it is in the trying that life is lived.