Writing a Novel in a Month

For my sins I’ve joined the National Novel in a Month campaign. This means I need to write 50,000 words in November and post it online.

This doesn’t mean stopping work on the existing novel – now in the stage of rewriting following very useful but fortunately positive comments from friends – but adding another one to the workload.

As I had half a dozen ideas already in the notebook I asked members of the Suffolk Writers Group which one they liked most. The answer, by a slight majority, was Masonic Fire – a conspiracy thriller set in Norwich. Second was Grimm Reaper – a serial killer story set in Lowestoft with a group of three teenagers as sleuths. Medieval detective story Trial By Jewry – set in Norwich in 1189 – was third. As it happens this was the same order my wife Jules put them in and my own preference as well. Masonic Fire has the additional benefit that I’ve already done a lot of the research and just need to revisit it.

I’ll get round to all of them – plus my widescreen baroque science fiction novel Legion of the Lost and the two sequels to The Revolutionary Tapestry – at some point. Current plan is to have a set of thematic, character or plot links between all of them.

50,000 words sounds a lot, but the first four chapters and the synopsis of The Revolutionary Tapestry come to nearly 40,000 so I’m not too worried. Finishing the book as well as the target is more of a challenge.

If anyone knows anything about the Hellfire Club in Norwich (at the Bell hotel in around 1750) I would be delighted to hear from you. The Dashwood and Wharton clubs, plus those in Ireland and Scotland are reasonably well documented but not the Norwich one – apart from a reference to an anti clerical riot. I could always use imagination, however.

The original plan was to set it in the mid 90s at the time of the Central Library and Assembly Rooms fires and the chalk mine collapses as I was working for the City Council at the time but I’ve now decided to base it today and use them as background history.

Wish me luck.

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