Friday, 6 November 2009

The week that wasn't

So the quest to write a novel in a month made a stumbling start this week – have written just 1,751 words…that’s about six thousand short of target. My characters sit around and drink tea in two locations so far. Not the most exciting start, I have to admit...but it’s early days. Just warming up to them.

In the middle of the week I had an enthusiastic email from a friend. ‘You’ve inspired me!’ she wrote. ‘I’m signing up for NaNoWriMo. I’m going to write a novel in a month too.’

‘Great,’ I wrote back. ‘I’ve had a very slow start.’

‘Never mind,’ she replied, ‘Just make a start on November 1.’

‘I can’t,’ I told her. ‘Today is the 4th.’

Anyway, the best blog I’ve read on the subject is this one by Emily Gale. Read and be even more inspired.

I didn’t get much writing done, because I was working this week. As well as foreign editing the Jewish Chronicle, single-handed - seven pages - I wrote a leader, a news story about hippos and a comment piece about Anne Frank and the boundaries of humour. Such a difficult subject to judge - the headline doesn't really reflect my views - in general I’m anti-censorship, but I’m also anti puerile offensiveness too. Thoughts anyone?
UPDATE David Mitchell has written a really good piece in the Guardian about edgy humour, explaining his Anne Frank joke . Read it here.


  1. Hmm, there must be something in the air today. This is the third blog I've read today with something on censorship.

    I've never done NaNo because I don't think I could handle the pressure of a one month deadline. I know for me some weeks I can get a ton of writing in, and others barely any. It all depends on my mood and all the other things going on in my life.

  2. I'm never going to finish a novel in a month.
    I already know that and have accepted it lol

  3. Yes, me too! You're doing better than I am though Amna - you're a fifth of the way there.

  4. Thanks for the mention and don't worry at all about the characters sitting down / drinking tea...mine started off sitting down / eating pizza, but they got up and did stuff eventually :)

  5. Actually now I come to think of it my very first draft of When I Was Joe started out with people drinking coffee, and there are numerous cups of tea throughout. As in life.

  6. One of my tutors said the other day that she took her girl skating because she needed some fun in her life.

    I thought, "wait a minute, I thought she only had boys."

    And then I realized she was talking about taking her main character in her novel ice skating!

    Maybe sometimes our characters need to drink tea and go ice skating and be normal people, too, so we can figure them all out. Then later we can cut mercilessly.

    The Anne Frank article was interesting, thanks for sharing. I wonder if people make jokes about her because she's a serious school subject. Kind of like picking on algebra or (in America) the Puritans. She has become so much of a part of our culture, we forget her humanity, and, as you said, her devestating end.