Everyone has heard of NaNoWriMo, the web-organised novel writing sprint, which involves writing 50,000 words to get a novel finished during the month of November. It sounds like madness, and it is.

What’s the point of it? Well, part of the idea is that the quality of what you write isn’t all that important. It’s the very act of getting the words down on paper, or rather onto the screen, in such numbers that the whole thing just won’t seem so daunting any more. Plus, there might be some nuggets of plot or character, or maybe even a chunk of some genuinely good writing that can be salvaged. It also gives you an opportunity to say to people at christmas parties that you are now on your second novel.

Over on Palimpsest, we have set ourselves a different challenge. We are going to try and get the 50,000 words done collectively. With more of us involved, the individual word count goes right down, but complications are added, such as getting the thing to make sense, for example. Have a read of the various deliberations that have taken place over who is involved, how it can be done, and what the plot should be.

The actual document is being collated using the web word processor Writely – which is ideal for a collaborative project like this, where people from both the UK and the US are working on the same document. A copy of the work in progress is published for other Palimpeople to read and keep up-to-date.

It will be interesting to see how things turn out. It looks like there will be a massive editing job at the end.