Friday, October 21, 2011


I had the idea, when the internet was first launched, of turning the process of book-writing on its head. Instead of writing a book then trying to sell it, I would think of titles and put them up on a website. If people started requesting  a particular book, then I would write the book. Well, this is kind of like that.
The image shows the working title of my next book. It's rapidly approaching NanoWrimo (National Novel Writing Month) - November. Of course, NanoWrimo is not national anymore. It was originally a US initiative, but now it's global (over 160,000 people join in each year). And here's the deal. You write a novel in one month of at least 50,000 words. That's it, that's all there is to it. Look at the website:
I've done it twice. Both times, I finished up with a book. The first was The Ten Thousand Things: A story of the lived experience of the I Ching (November 2009), and the second was Sustenance (November 2010). Yes, you can read about them, and you can buy them, at
So now it's 2011, and here is the working title for this November. I have no plan, no outline, not even any characters. But then, nor did I last time, or the time before. I turned up at the computer on 1 November. Things take shape if you take the first step. I just prepare myself. I do not presume the outcome.
NanoWrimo is not something you cheat on. You don't write anything before the day. You may have ideas, you may take notes, but NanoWrimo challenges the underpinning concept that writers generally hang onto tightly, and that is, the idea that you can take as long as you like, you can rehearse, edit, revisit and revise. Sure, that's true after November, you can hang onto it and reconstruct it. But NanoWrimo is a performance art. You can't pause to rehearse, and there is no time to stop after you've started. You won't finish by 30 November if you look back.
And the the good guys at NanoWrimo threw in another idea - give us your title and book cover before you even start. That's really pushing it. But okay, I thought, let's do that too. Let's make a title and create a cover. And this is what eventuated. It's made of first thoughts and found things. And of course, this could all change.
Let me know what you think.

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