I want to take part but am scared to share my work!?
You do need to have a high degree of confidence in your writing to take part. It’s going to be read by a lot of people! That said, apprehension is normal; it’s how you know you care about getting it right.

If you don’t think you’re ready to share such a rapidly produced piece of work with the general public, the answer isn’t just to take part under a false name. That’s not fair on others taking part, or on the people reading the books. Instead, I’ll be more than happy to assign you a chapter and send it out at the same time as everyone else. That way you can take part at the same time, but without being included in the final published work.

Will I be stuck with a sex scene?
No. None of the books contain any scripted sex scenes so nobody will find themselves obligated to get all EL James in public.

Although I didn’t think there would be any oil-soaked nudity in the first one and Michael proved me wrong.

What if I’m uncomfortable with violence / grisly scenes?
Some years will contain chapters which lend themselves more readily to a little bit of violence and grisliness. Experience dictates that some people prefer not to write these sections and others seek them out, so it makes sense to make some allowance for that in the allocation of sections. If you have a preference then indicate it when you sign up.

Will anyone have a chapter with only one person in it?
No. I try to make sure that all chapter briefs have plenty of opportunity to flex the creative muscles. Of course, if by some twist of fate you find yourself with fewer character sheets in your briefing pack than you’d like to use, then by all means create whatever characters are necessary to make your section work.

What is the policy on swear words / graphic imagery?
Unlike movies and computer games, there is no age restriction or classification on books. As such, I have no policy on swear words / graphic imagery.

Read the previous books and you’ll get a feel for the norm. You can then use that information as you see fit.

How are chapter briefs allocated?
It’s basically random.

I say ‘basically’, because there are a couple of constraints:

  1. I’ll take account of individual preferences to either seek out or avoid grisly scenes.
  2. From time to time participants who know each other IRL have asked to make sure they have different chapters so they are guarantees to be able to compile a version that has both / all their chapters in it.
  3. I reserve the right to punish Jaysen by whatever means are available to me.

I don’t like my brief. Can I change / switch?
No. If you’re not comfortable with someone else telling you what you need to cover in your chapter then you’ve signed up to the wrong event.

Can I do a cover instead of a chapter?
I usually do these myself because I have a template set up ready that gives us a consistent look across all the NiaDs, and it also means I don’t have to worry about breaching someone else’s copyright. That said, if you’re amazing at this sort of thing then by all means contact me and we can talk about it.

Do I have to write in a particular style?
As long as you use the locations and characters provided (assuming any are provided - I won’t unless it’s critical) and you hit all the plot point marks, you can write your section in any style you choose. By all means turn the chapter into an action extravaganza that would make John Woo think of turning down the pace a little. Equally, if you want to play the same scene as a calm discussion over a cup of tea and a slice of Battenberg, that’s totally up to you.

Can I use a pen name instead of my real name?
Yes. In the previous books you will see a mixture of real names and pen names. I’m not telling you which is which.

Where can I read previous years’ books?
There is a post on this very forum with all the relevant links. Let me know what you think!

Will sections be edited?
Work on the assumption that you’re responsible for all your own editing, including spellchecks, grammar checks, making sure you’ve remained consistent against your brief.

Depending on how close to the deadline you submit your chapter I will either:

  1. Skim it and let you know if you’ve grossly deviated from the brief, or
  2. Just chuck it in there and hope for the best.

We are relying on everyone’s self-editing to ensure the book is readable so you should be confident of your writing standard before signing up.

I’ve read my brief and I’m panicking. Is this normal?

What if I’m in a different timezone?
All of the deadlines are in UK / London time. So if (for example) you are living in France (which is an hour ahead of the UK) you’ll get your brief at 1am instead of midnight. Some people believe this system gives the Australians an unfair advantage.

Why can’t I know the rest of the story / my place in the story?
A very famous person once wrote:

That person was Nom. Of course, he was actually trying to make the case for more information at the time, but we’ll ignore that for now.

Do I have the first chapter?

Every year several people email me and tell me that they think they have the first chapter. One of the implications of the ‘minimal information’ and ’only aware of what’s going on in your chapter’ principles is that you will only have received something in that section if you need to know it… either to avoid major continuity issues, or to prevent you repeating something from an earlier chapter.

As such, there will be several sections that have nothing in the “Things that have already happened” section. That doesn’t necessarily mean that yours is the first chapter, it just means that (other than what is mentioned in the “General Background” and other information) there is nothing that you necessarily need to be aware of to write your section.

In other words, plenty might have happened in the book, or nothing. You might be the first chapter, you might be the last… but there’s a 23 out of 25 chance you’re somewhere in the middle!

Do I have the last chapter?
Actually, nobody has ever asked this.

Can I ask for more information on the day?
Yes! There will be a post where we all hang out on the day and banter. It’s a good place to ask general questions that will benefit everyone, like “What city are we in?” or “Why is everyone so short?”.

You can also email me (rog@novelinaday.com), or send me a message (“PM”) through the forum.

Is there a place I can hang out and banter during the day of the event?
The forum will be open for virtual hanging out. The potential for an actual real life hang out is being considered.

How will I receive my chapter brief?
At midnight UK time on the morning of whatever Saturday the event is on you will receive an email from rog@novelinaday.com containing your full briefing pack.