Alexander Gordon Smith

Archive for the Category The 8 Books in a Year Challenge


New Challenge: Eight Novels in a Year

Yesterday was my last event for a few months and it went brilliantly – a whole day of talks and workshops with Year 8 at Heathersett High School in Norwich. I have to say that the pupils who came to the talk, and especially those who joined in the workshops, were amongst the best that I have ever worked with – so full of amazing, and gory, ideas! Thanks to you all for being so much fun to work with, and to Sara and Lorraine for inviting me in!

It’s been a really busy year with events and editing, and of course having the first three books in the Furnace series published. It’s been amazing fun, but there hasn’t been a huge amount of time to do any writing. I have written two very short books this year, which is great, but nowhere near as many as I wanted to write. And to be honest I think I have become a little lazy in my writing habits. So, in order to inspire myself to start writing seriously again, I have set myself a challenge:

I am going to write eight novels in a year.

Yes, eight novels between now, today, the 1st of December 2009, and the 30th November 2010. Why eight? Well, it was going to be 12, then I thought that would probably kill me. Then I said six, but I didn’t think that was challenging enough (I mean it would still be a huge challenge, but I’d probably end up not starting until next summer or something, I needed it to be such a huge task that I’d have to start right away), so then I went to 10, and thought that was too challenging, and finally settled on eight.

Of course I’m not intending to write eight flawless, finished novels in this time (me write a flawless novel, ha!). No, the idea is to write eight first drafts that I can then move on and edit and trim and finish at my own pace. Really what I want to do is write write write and get some ideas down on paper, actually get some manuscripts written. Some of them may be rubbish, but they’ll at least be a starting point.

Can I do it? I’m not sure. The most I’ve ever written in a year was three full-length novels and a screenplay. But I’ll have six weeks to finish each book, and I don’t think it’s ever taken me longer than that to finish the first draft of a novel. Anyway, the fun will be in the trying!

I’m thinking that each book will be around 60,000 words long, on average, which is almost half a million words in total. That breaks down into 1,300 (ish) words every day, which sounds very doable if I don’t think about the days that I won’t be able to write anything at all. Anyway, the more I think about the numbers the worse this idea sounds, so I’m going to do what I do best and not think about the logistics. I’m just going to start writing!

I’ll keep you all updated on the blog!

Wish me luck!

PS. Thanks to my good friend Tim Clare for inspiring me. He set himself a challenge of writing 100 poems in a single day which sounded impossible, but he did it! So I’m following his lead!