Monday, January 01, 2007

A Novel in Three Days

In "A Novel in Three Days," in the January/February issue of Poets and Writers (an article that is unfortunately not on-line), Patricia Chao writes about how she did indeed write a novel in three days, as part of the 3-Day Novel contest. One good line that has nothing to do with the contest: "To begin a novel takes inspiration, to continue takes endurance, and to end takes character." None of that matters in the three-day-novel contest!


mrjumbo said...

Three days sounds a lot easier than the daunting 30-day sentence of National Novel Writing Month:

Quantity is what we're after in fiction, right? More words in less time is better for the culture?

These both seem like great ways to encourage people to appreciate novels in a whole new way. May not generate a lot of great literature, but I think everyone who takes up a pen and starts in on an endurance contest like this comes away knowing something they didn't before.

Saroyan claimed he wrote "The Time of Your Life" in five days--one act per day. I don't doubt he set out with that in mind, and I bet he got to the end of Act V on the fifth day. But it would be interesting to see how that draft compared to the play that was performed the night the curtain finally went up. Is December National Novel Editing Month?

Andrew Shields said...

I could not remember what the November thing was called; thanks for the reminder.

Writing fast and then editing later is a brilliant approach; once you've got material on the page, you can massage it then. But is a month of editing enough for something written in a month? Three days of editing is probably not enough for something written in three days. :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi, I just wanted to let you know, unless you already do know, that National Novel Editing Month happens in March and has a new website ( so please check it out and let everyone you know, know! Thanks! -QOTU