November 1st. This month is nanowrimo, in other words, National Novel Writing Month. The aim is to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November.
I have never really thought of writing a novel, however I have thought about writing a book. What the book would be like has always a vague sense in my mind.
Some months ago, I started to just write words as they came whilst on a plane flying up north. When I saw nanowrimo appearing I decided to take up the challenge. Technically this is for novel writing. But what exactly is a novel? There are any many works of fiction. Are they all novels? Googling I find that fictional writing is in the form of a story, whether for entertainment or to convey a point of view. Novels have their historical roots in literary prose, the romances. Novels have the qualities of both literature and arts.
In modern times the novel has seemed to have become more of fictional story. With words of literature taking on a different meaning. But are they not one and the same? Perhaps it is just the genre definitions. I googled some more. Fable – defined by wiki as a “narration demonstrating a useful truth, especially in which animals speak as humans: legendary, supernatural tale. Ah, now I understand what a ‘tale’ is perhaps more than a ‘novel’.
Then I came across the term allegorical novel. A novel where there is a second meaning beneath. Often now classed within new age and metaphysical genres. Then to metafiction blending philosophy within fiction.
Irrespective, it made me think of those books of fiction that have perhaps made an ageless impression on myself
The Secret Garden
The Little Prince
Jonathon Livingston Seagull
Flowers for Algernon
All Quiet on the Western Front
I guess I must refer to John Steinbecks work, purely because of the style and story line and the fact I had to read him in high school.
Then of course there are those that I have long had on my list to read purely because of their name….
TheUnbearable Lightness of Being
The Importance of Being Earnest
The Age of Innocence
What had got me again onto this path was picking up ‘The Bride Stripped Bare”. The name and the feel of the books jacket and paper within had attracted me. A novel, a work of fiction, but in the style of a diary. Yet it still portrays a story.
And so I gave myself permission to begin writing my ‘novel’. Whether I finish it in November or after is not really important. Whether anyone reads it is irrelevant. What is relevant is that I am giving myself a challenge of something I have often ‘thought’ about doing but never really given much credit to.
At the same time I have now a renewed desire to read those great modern classics. The ones I started and put down in favour of popular fiction. I perused a list and amazed myself at the number of books I had at onetime or another started and not got further than a page or two.
Perhaps now is the time for both of these wonderful pursuits.