A friend of mine asked me to write her a novel... or rather a novel for her to read. She was about to head out to Mexico with her husband and wanted something to read on the beach while big man slept.
She did not, of course, offer me $100,000 to do this. But wouldn't it be cool if she did?
My first though is, "I'm working on a novel right now, so maybe I'll be done with it by the time they board their plane."
My next thought is, "I wonder when they are going on vacation?"
That's funny right? I mean it's so ridiculous to think that someone could write a novel in 17 days, let alone a book that would be at least halfway round the readable corner.
But then I thought about it.
What if a stranger walked up to me today and told me they wanted to hire me to write a novel. They'd give me 17 days to get it done. It would have to be 75,000 words or better and tell a real, complete, reasonably edited story.
Let's see... I already have a couple of different story ideas pretty well plotted out. I even have a project that has a pretty decent word count on it already.
But we'll pretend I haven't yet written a word.
Here's how my brain drills this down:
1) 17 days = 408 hours total to get it done.
2) I should shoot for 6 hours of sleep each day. So subtract 102 hours.
3) Need 2 hours a day for eating, showering and other... so subtract 34 hours.
4) That gives me 272 hours of possible writing time.
5) I'll need to take maybe 1/3 of that up in plotting, sketching, freakily fast editing, etc.
6) That leaves me with just about 180 hours to get it done on the keyboard.
7) I can type 75 wpm, but when I'm composing it's more like 30.
8) There are 10,800 minutes in 180 hours.
9) That gives me the potential to write 324,000 words. I'm in the black almost 250,000 words!
So it's possible! I'd have to burn up all my vacation time, alienate my kids, ignore my wife and probably gain 20 pounds eating crap, but it is actually possible to pound out 75,000 words in 17 days.
That's the real question, isn't it?
I'd be risking my job, so it'd have to be good. I might not have any form of support afterwards.
$100,000? Oh, yes please. For that much, I'd get a hotel room to stay in while I wrote.
$50,000? Yep. Still with the hotel room.
$25,000? Um, that's pretty good. If I knew I'd still have a job when I got back, I'd take this sum as well. If not, then not.
Any less than that and I'd have to seriously consider it. At that point I'd have to look at the back-end and see if there was any benefit for me there... maybe build a fan base... maybe catch the eye of a reputable agent.
Now here's the trick. I need to put myself in that frame of mind, that frantic must-get-it-done zone and stay that way... ALL THE TIME.
Sorry for the capitals.
What would put you in that state?
Thanks for reading, off to write... urgently!