Over at Story Studio Chicago, they have a class that promises to lead its members through the process of writing a novel in just one year. The Guardian doesn’t think that’s quick enough, and has created a guide for writing a novel in 30 days. Wordriot (is that an idiot of words?) promises to show you how to write a novel in 14 days. Competing at the quick and sloppy end of the pack at the 3DayNovel.com and NovelInAWeekend.com.
Ah, but you’re going to beat them all, you literary genius! I am going to show you how to Write a Novel In Just One Hour! Oh, yes, it’s true!
Are you ready? Get a timer, set it to 60 minutes, and go!
1. Go to Project Gutenberg and pick a copyright-free novel. Cut and paste the entire text into a word processing program. Go to the Social Security Popular Baby Name site, and copy and replace all the instances of the first three female and first three male names you find in the book with the 8th, 9th, and 10th most popular baby names for each gender.
2. On the third page of every chapter through chapter 3, insert the word “not” into the second sentence on the page. On the fifth page of every chapter through chapter 3, add the word “crumbling” or “forgotten”. Then, do through a word replace function in your word processor, make the following substitutions:
“Man” -> “warrior”
“Woman” -> “priestess”
“Car” -> “horse”
“Shoe” -> “sandal”
“Book” -> “Kloombatu mating device”
“Tree” -> “spirit being”
“water” -> “mead”
“road” -> “forest path”
“door” -> “time portal”
3. Go to Great Travel Pictures, click on a link, and take the very first picture that you see. At the end of the first chapter of your novel, erase the last paragraph, and replace it with a paragraph that begins with, “It was for this reason that…” and then describe what you see in the picture you found on the Great Travel Pictures site.
4. Go to Startpage, click on the images link in the upper left hand corner. Search for “strange landscapes”. At the beginning of the next chapter, erase the first paragraph, and replace it with a quick description of one of the photographs you find at Startpage. Add onto the next paragraph, “A lone figure turned away from this scene to see,”
5. Repeat for the following chapters your novel, but with the following picture sources and prompts:
New Chapter 2 end: Image from National Geographic and “[last character on page] grabbed a lawn chair and surveyed the scene in calm satisfaction”
New Chapter 4 beginning: Image from io9.com, and “In a flash, [next character on page] awoke, shaking her/his head, muttering, ‘I won’t let that happen to me again.”
New Chapter 5 end: Describe the objects in your pockets, and then write, “But these memories could never last.”
New Chapter 6 beginning: “It was as hot as [something hot], and the sweat gathered on the back of [next character on page]‘s neck like [something wet].”
New Chapter 8 end: Describe a picture on Flickr.com, and then write, “A man whose face was obscured in the shadow of his great coat stepped forward, raised a palm upward in the sky, and declared, ‘These once belonged to my people, and I swear, they will again.'”
New Chapter 10 end: Go to Blogtor Who, describe the last big picture on the front page, and then write, “Seeing this threat, [next character on page] clutched the glowing red plunger in his hand, and before squeezing it, uttered the last words to pass his lips that day: ‘It has been defended.'”
6. Switch the order of chapter 11 and chapter 13. Switch chapter 12 and chapter 14. Switch chapter 15 and chapter 17. Switch chapter 19 and chapter 20.
7. Delete the rest of the book, and replace it with one final chapter: Chapter 21. “On the marble steps, before a bank of cameras, the Great Leader addressed the embattled camps of survivors with the following words.
[Copy the first speech you see at the official White House briefing room page.
His/her comments complete, the Great Leader then stepped forward, a harsh blue light erupting from his/her eyes. Everyone present averted their eyes from the brightness, and when they raised their gaze once more, they saw them not the familiar human politician, but a 5 foot-tall [animal of your choosing]. ‘It has begun,’ the creature rasped.
– To Be Continued – ”
8. Give the Novel a new title in the following format: The [color][geographical feature] of [first character mentioned]
9. If you have any time remaining, you may make additional changes, if you like.
To prove that it can be done, I will myself follow these directions, and post the first novel in this new format here, in 60 minutes from…
And here it is…THE BLACK PLATEAU OF MICHAEL MITCHELL.doc
Well, I didn’t say it would be a good novel. If you want that, you might want to take a longer time, like a weekend.