Foster's fiction: Week 1 of National Novel Writing Month
Ever wanted to write a book? Well, BBC Northern Ireland's Ann-Marie Foster is taking on the challenge. There is just one catch. She only has 30 days to do it...
It is the first day of November.
I have bought two boxes of teabags, a notebook and pen. I have picked my music, made a special folder on my browser and checked that the computer back-up is working.
I am signed up and ready to write 50,000 words in 30 days.
Why? Well, because it is National Novel Writing Month.
How do I feel? Nervous, excited and apprehensive.
Just the same as the hundreds of thousands of people all over the world, who will be joining me on the challenge to write a novel in a month.
I signed up last year and surprised myself by doing it - and by "winning".
End Quote Ann-Marie Foster
Let your imagination go”
That is what hitting the target is called by NaNoWriMo, the quirky American-based site that cossets and cajoles us all throughout November.
I did not actually win anything tangible.
There is no money or trophy or million-dollar book deal.
Just the amazing, addictive sense of satisfaction that finally, after all those years of thinking that I would love to write a book, I sat down and did it.
If I can do it, anyone can.
You could. Of course you could.Belfast to Botswana
It is only 50,000 words; 1,667 little words a day; five pages. That is all.
All you have to do is write, write and keep writing.
It does not matter if you have no plot, no character outlines, no detailed information on how quickly a bullet travels, or exactly how long it takes to fly from Belfast to Botswana.
All those pesky little facts can be filled in later, hence the notebook and the special folder in your browser.
You just sit down at your computer, or your deliciously pristine folder of blank pages and write.
If you have to ask "why?" then maybe it is not for you. Not this year anyway.
But if you are reading this and thinking, "I have always wanted to write a thriller, or a love story, or a fantasy tale set in the Fermanagh lakelands," then now is your chance.
No-one will be looking over your shoulder - unless you want them to. Even when you greedily download your work to see your progress chart rise and rise, no-one else can actually see what you have written.
No-one judges your grammar, corrects your spelling, criticises your genre.
Not even you.
I mean it. No editing allowed.
All you do is write. Let your imagination go. Remember what it is like to use adjectives and adverbs again. Dig out your school-days' dictionary and thesaurus.
Are you interested? Then go for it.
What else have you got to do this month anyway?