Monday, January 1, 2018

2018: the year of 365 hundred-word chunks

Andersons Bay inlet at low tide, November 2017
It’s ten years (fuck me) since I set out on my quest to write a million words in a year. I only wrote 800,737 words, but I wouldn’t be where I am today without setting myself that audacious goal and giving it a darn good go.

To commemorate, I’m going to do another of my constrained wordcount experiments (see here, here and here), but this time keep it up for a full year rather than just a month.

So, yeah: every day this year I will add exactly 100 words to a brand new manuscript.

I haven’t planned anything, so I don’t quite know what the end product will be. A single 36,500 word novella? A series of linked short stories? A procession of unlinked stories?

All I know is this will be fiction. And I don't want the final form to feel chunky, at least not a consistent bit-size chunky. The rhythm will vary with what's occurring in the story. The finished product(s) should just read like normal prose, though perhaps a little more condensed than my normal style.

Also: the 100-word chunks will be separate from my location scout novel (which hopefully is done and dusted by mid-year) or any short stories I begin writing in a more traditional (get it done quick) way. This isn't meant to be my BIG THING for the year, just something to make sure I write every damn day, especially with the end of one novel in sight and no idea what I'll do after that (beyond write some short stories).

I only decided what I’d write about today when I attacked the blank page an hour ago. (It's based on a cluster of thoughts I’ve had while biking past the Andersons Bay inlet in recent months... I've the sense of a character, the setting (obviously), two time periods and a lot of birds, but nothing you might call structure or drama).

I’m leaving it incredibly vague because I know from past experience with this sort of SLOW WRITING that you spend a lot of time thinking about what you will write that day (or the next), and how it might work, that solutions abound, and I don’t want to close too much down.

I’m NOT going to post every daily century here, but I will post today’s one, just to give you a taster...

The inlet
There are many ways to pass the three or four hours it takes to complete a game of schoolboy cricket on a Saturday morning. You can be the husband-and-wife one-two-punch that lingers in back of every team huddle, every harmless conversation, to pull up mono-gendered terms – you guys, next batsman, schoolboy cricket – while coddling and cajoling their right-arm off-spin daughter as if this was Soviet-era gymnastics or tomorrow’s UFC pay-per-view. You can be one of the parents who talks to other parents about everything but cricket. You can be one of the parents who talks only about cricket. 

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