What is Novel-in-a-Day?
Novel-in-a-Day is an annual event where a group of writers from across the planet get together and write a novel. A whole novel. In a single day.
The event differs from other collaborative novels in several ways. The first is that our aim is to produce something that has a coherent plot which is actually enjoyable. Sure, each writer brings their own style and voice and there will inevitably be one or two small continuity blips. Overall, though, the expectation is that the piece will follow a story with a recognisable start, middle and end without any of the ego, random plot twists and exponentially growing character lists that affect other works in the collaborative genre. This is achieved by having the basic plot structure worked out in advance of the event, and then broken down into bite sized chunks for the participants to work on.
The second difference also has an impact on the readability of the final piece: Quality, not volume, is our goal (this isn’t NaNoWriMo). Each participant has a ‘target’ of a very manageable 1,500 words (submissions received vary from there to around 4,500). What’s more important than the quantity of words written is that the authors produce something they are proud of. Proud to show their friends, and proud to share with the world. 1,500 well written and edited words that invoke genuine emotion are far better than 10,000 ones that a reader would skim over.
The third difference lies in the challenge faced by the participants. In exchange for removing a lot of the normal and familiar issues that writers have, we provide the participants with a completely different set of new and unnecessary pressures: An unfamiliar genre. Unusual time pressures. No control of the wider plot. Oh, and here’s an important one: No knowledge of what happens in the story outside of their own chapter, nor of where their chapter fits in the narrative. Each participant only gets the information they need to write their own section: Character sheets, location sheets (if required) and a brief outline of the plot points they need to cover.
Participants receive their briefing packs electronically at midnight (UK time) on the day of the event. They then need to produce at least 1,500 words and email them back by 8pm the same day so that they can be compiled and turned into a book. The full book will then be made available in epub, mobi and pdf formats, as well as a Scrivener project file by midnight the next morning.