Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

42K words in 7 days? OK, let’s do it.

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It must be an April sort of thing.
In April 2012 I wrote a novel in six days – I started on the 25th of April and finished on the night of the first day on May.
deathisnoobstacleI did it because I wanted to test what Michael Moorcock said in the lengthy interview he did with Colin Greenland, published as Death is no Obstacle.
Moorcock talked about writing a fantasy story in three days – and I planned taking twice as much to be on the safe side.
I was also pretty fed-up with the talk about art, inspiration and the writer being some sort of mutant that taps some unknown source of writing power and blah blah blah.
To me writing is skill, dedication and hard work. It’s a craft, it can be learned. There’s nothing mystical to it.
In 2012 I got a lot of support from the readers of my Italian blog. I was also told I would fail, because I lacked the training.
But I did it, and the 40.000 words novel I wrote in 2012, Beyul Express, became the first part of what was later published as The Ministry of Thunder – writing it was fast, revising and editing it took a lot of time.
Well, now I have the training. And I have the Dean Wesley Smith structure, from Writing a Novel in Seven Days.
So that’s what I’m doing – starting on the night of the 24th (Monday) and finishing on the night of the 30th.

Writing_a_Novel_Cover_FinalThe plan as described in Dean Wesley Smith’s book is simple:

day 1 . 3000 words
day 2 . 4000 words
day 3 . 5000 words
day 4 . 6000 words
day 5 . 7000 words
day 6 . 8000 words
day 7 . 9000 words
total = 42000 words

As I said, I already did it, so I know I can manage.
I’ll have to brew a hot brown sea of black tea to keep me going, and I’ll keep some chocolate handy to award myself a prize when I reach the daily quota.
Also, my standard word-count in the last year has been high enough for me to know that I can manage. Training, as I said.

Rocky-training

But there are some differences, compared to 2012.
First of all, I will not be doing just this – I’ll keep doing my bill-paying work, translating, writing articles etc. I’ll also be cooking lunch and dinner, and doing all the rest – including my blog posts.
The idea is to write a novel in seven days without changing my daily routine.
The second difference is that the idea is to write good – once the story is finished, I’ll have to read it once, do some minor edit or revision, and then it will be good and ready for publishing.
This is not a NaNoWriMo sort of thing, in which the idea is to hammer out as many words as possible in one month, and then spend the following two years editing and rewriting.
Here the idea is no major rewrites.
narrativeThird big difference, I’ll do it without an outline – I have a general idea of the story I want to tell, and the direction I want it to take, I’ll keep handy a few lists of names and items and a modicum of research tools, but then I’ll wing it.
The idea is to have fun – and winging it makes the whole thing so much funnier.
And scary.
But considering I’m planning a rural horror, scary is a good thing.
Will I make it?
I hope so – for sure, my day-to-day life is giving me a full workout in terms of unexpected problems: two days ago my monitor died on me, and I had to dig out one of my old video displays from the ’90s (that still works like a beauty, but it’s so small!)
But barring true disasters, if I can keep focused, I think I will.
I even have a working title for my story – Better Never Told1

It comes from here, and I think it is quite apt:

“[I]t is the wine that leads me on,
the wild wine
that sets the wisest man to sing
at the top of his lungs,
laugh like a fool – it drives the
man to dancing… it even
tempts him to blurt out stories
better never told.”
― Homer, The Odyssey

I’ll keep you posted.
Meaning, I’ll post about my progress, and also will keep posting about our usual topics – because I’ve bored you enough with my writing plans, I guess.


  1. this title will provide a lot of mileage to negative critics. 
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Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

9 thoughts on “42K words in 7 days? OK, let’s do it.

  1. You can do it, I’m sure

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  2. “Better Never Told”

    Yeah, I can see how the naysayers could get a lot of mileage out of that.

    Good luck with the project.

    Like

  3. Geez Dave. Good luck and if you succeed can you come to my house and coach me?

    Like

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