I have a few books on the go, but I just didn't fancy any of them. I know some people who always finish a book, come what may, and others who have no qualms about abandoning a book they're not enjoying. I wasn't ready to desert my current reads altogether, but something a little different was called for. I scanned my Classics Challenge shelf for inspiration and selected the three most appealing prospects: Hardy's The Return of the Native, di Lampedusa's The Leopard and Graham Greene's Brighton Rock. I planned to read a couple of pages of each and see which appealed most.
I began with the Greene:
'Hale knew, before he had been in Brighton three hours, that they meant to murder him.'I had been warned; Brighton Rock is violent and it's nasty. But from the first page it has plot, interesting characters and very good writing. I'm hooked.
I read somewhere that Graham Greene only wrote five hundred words a day. I don't know if this is true, but certainly his output was prodigious: twenty-five novels, short stories, four travel books, six plays, three books of autobiography, two biographies and four children's books.
Five hundred words a day seems eminently do-able. The key, I suppose, is to write five hundred words every day. Edit to say: I've just googled Greene and found this page where he's quoted as writing five hundred words a day for five days a week. It's getting better by the minute.
This talk of daily word counts makes me think of NaNoWriMo, the annual challenge to write 50,000 words of a novel in November. I know a few people who've achieved this in previous years, and a few more who are attempting it this time round. 1667 words a day seems much more daunting than Greene's modest target. Of course, quantity not quality is the key, but making a commitment to writing every day seems a good way to begin.
So, good luck to all those who've signed up for the NaNoWriMo challenge. I won't be joining you. I'm back to work on Operation Reading Room (so far so good) and the dark world of gangland Brighton.