Whilst on the retreat in Devon last month, I got to talking to my lovely host, Charlie of Urban Writers’ Retreats, and she mentioned she was taking applications for her annual Six Month Novel Programme.
Since I had just reached the conclusion that the next step for my novel was a blank page rewrite, I went upstairs to my room and submitted my application that afternoon. It was only after I had been accepted onto the programme that I really thought about what it would mean. And that was an intensive four-week plotting bootcamp, four months of writing 5000-6000 words per week, and a four-week editing bootcamp to round things off.
Considering I’m currently working four days a week in a department that is chronically short-staffed, and I have a very full social calendars of exciting trips and events to look forward to, perhaps committing to writing a novel in six months was not the most sensible thing for me to do…
I started out terrified and very anxious about the whole thing. However, we just started week two, and the amount of thinking, planning, discussing and brainstorming I have done is phenomenal! After months of languishing in notebooks and on my PC, my novel is now firmly back in my head and the second draft is rapidly taking shape, and in really interesting ways.
The Six Month Novel community is warm, welcoming and active. Our fearless leaders, Charlie and Amie have provided a brilliant structure and lots of encouragement and advice, and the whole thing suddenly feels quite doable, and really rather exciting.
I was having lunch with some friends today, and telling them all about it. One of them pointed out that, by the time we go on holiday together in September, my draft and initial editing will be done, and (considering I haven’t actually started writing it yet) that was a really weird thought. But a good one.
I’ve already decided who my four POV characters are, drawn a rough flow chart of the main events, planned a brainstorming session with some good friends to hash out some of the world-building and, crucially, decided on the opening scene.
So, here’s to a crazy few months of creativity – and a new version of the novel at the other end.
Check back here for updates, and let’s hope they continue to be as positive as this one!
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