Those of you with good memories (or who have access to the blog archives, I guess) will remember that around this time last year I announced my intention to take part in National Novel Writing Month .

The aim of this free-to-join-in scheme is that, for the month of November, you try to write a novel of 50,000 words during the month of November, at a rate of around 1700 words a day. The key thing is that you turn off your internal editor, you don’t go back and do redrafts, but that you get the first draft of a (short) novel down on paper or screen. There are no real prizes, other than the sense of satisfaction (and community – both virtual and real; check the Forums on the site), and for many people it’s a way of finding out if indeed they do ‘have a book in them’.

Last year I did very poorly indeed at reaching my goal in NaNoWriMo (as it’s affectionately known), to the extent that my word count, when compared with the stated aim, was very much within the definition of ‘nano’: a measly 3000 words out of 50,000.

Even more embarrassing, though, is the fact that I wasn’t even aiming to write a complete novel, but to use the event as a catalyst to complete a novel I’ve been working on for several years now, which has the working title of ‘Coming Back To Haunt You’. I’m just over halfway through, and I know what happens at the end, and all the characters, so it’s really a case of getting my backside onto a seat and writing the thing down (I do first drafts longhand). And then when that’s over I want to write another novel, which has the working title of ‘The Body Orchard’, and ideas for which keep coming to me when I’m brushing my teeth, on the tube, etc, and which I’m rather excited about.

All of which rambling is a long way round for me to say that yes, I’ve signed up for NaNoWriMo again this year (and will no doubt lob a graphic up on this ‘ere blog to note the fact in November), but the aim is rather different; I’m going to try to charge to the end of ‘Coming Back To Haunt You’ by Halloween, and then use November and NaNoWriMo as the focus for at least getting a goodly chunk of ‘The Body Orchard’ on paper.

Will I achieve any of this? I don’t really know, but the stories are there in my head, and I have pens and paper, as well as time I know that I just fritter away, so all the pieces are there, and we’ll know who to blame if I don’t get it done, won’t we?

*The Giant from ‘Twin Peaks’, which (in case I haven’t mentioned it before) is my favourite TV series of all time. And not just because Sherilyn Fenn’s in it. Honest.