First LostCarPark Novel Completed

Tue 3rd Dec 2002

First LostCarPark Novel CompletedIf updates to this site have been a little intermittent of late, if could be in part due to the novel writing activities of its editor.

It started at Octocon when James Shields pretended to be a famous writer to get to talk on a panel with Ian Watson and Juliet E McKenna. Ian immediately showed him up, by asking him detailed technical questions about his first novel, The Andromeda Highway, but he was not to be dissuaded. After the panel, he admitted that he'd probably have to write the novel now.

That might have been the end of the story, but a few days before the end of the month, someone sent him the address of the website for The National Novel Writing Month. This is an annual event, the aim of which is to write a 50,000-word novel in the 30 days of November. This is a tough challenge for most people, but achievable with a little perseverance,

James started off quite slow. At the start he had difficulty writing 500 words an evening. By the end of the first week, he was up to 5,000 words. As his story plan developed, his writing rate improved, but by the end of the third week, he was only halfway, with only one week remaining.

He made good progress during the final week, but on the second last day of the month, he had only hit 39,000 words.

So having stocked up on Coke and Boost Guarano bars, he set about finishing within the allotted time. After 24 almost continuous hours, he typed the very last sentence of the novel, and checked the word count... 50,043 words! He rushed to upload the work for verification, with one hour to spare.

Of course, this is only the first draft. It's still way too short for publication, and has a lot of plot holes and inconsistencies, but the first draft is complete.

"I did it!" he said, "I need to sleep now..."

James on the National Novel Writing Website

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LostCarPark Forum

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