What is the 30 day challenge for writers?

It is often said that good things come to those who wait and this holds particularly true for writers aiming to produce a timeless masterpiece. However, some authors have managed to successfully challenge this and draft literary gems in just one month. But what inspires such speed, and what does it take to complete a book in 30 days or less?

The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abbisinia by Samuel Johnson

The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abbisinia is not your typical novel. Instead, it resembles a moral fable or an apologue. It was penned by Johnson in just one week in 1759 as a means to fund his recently deceased mother’s funeral. While the characters may lack depth and the plot is straightforward, the book is a significant philosophical exploration into the human capacity for happiness.

The story follows Rasselas, the fourth son of the King of Abyssinia (present-day Ethiopia), as he embarks on a journey with his sister Nekayah, her handmaiden Pekuah, and the wise poet Imlac – a character believed to be Johnson's alter ego. Together, they seek to uncover the true meaning of happiness and lead a fulfilled life. The work delves into complex and nuanced themes, and Johnson intentionally avoids offering any clear conclusions. Instead, he leaves readers to ponder the fundamental question: Can true happiness ever be attained by an individual?

On the Road by Jack Kerouac

Published in 1959, ‘On the Road’ is American writer Jack Kerouac's second novel, which documents his travels across North America with his friend Neal Cassady. Despite spending years developing the concept, Kerouac managed to type out the complete draft in just three weeks in 1951. Kerouac preferred typing at a rapid pace and detested interruptions such as changing the paper in his typewriter. As a result, he taped together numerous sheets of paper to create a continuous 120 feet long roll. His original manuscript has been exhibited in various locations worldwide, including the Boott Cotton Mills Museum in Lowell, Massachusetts, the U.S. as part of the Kerouac@100 festival celebrating the Lowell-born writer's centenary last year. Kerouac employed a unique writing style, known as spontaneous prose while composing this modern classic. The approach involves allowing thoughts to flow freely from the mind, resulting in unfiltered prose. This technique typically involves less punctuation and structure, and incorporates "rhetorical breathing"-natural pauses akin to those in conversation-which lend a distinct tone to the writing.

A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

Written and published in 1887 by the British writer Arthur Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet is the first of four full-length novels to feature the famous detective, Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick. Dr. John Watson. It is also the first novel to feature the magnifying glass as an investigated tool

The story begins with Watson returning to London after being injured while serving as an army doctor in Afghanistan. He meets Sherlock Holmes, who is looking for a roommate, and they become friends. The novel follows the investigation of a munter, in which the police are unable to find any dues that could lead to the identification of the murderer. Holmes is called in to assist with the investigation, and he uses his unique approach to solving crimes to gather evidence and piece together the clues. The investigation takes the reader from the streets of London to the deserts of Utah where the plot involving revenge and betrayal is finally uncovered.

Interestingly, Conan Doyle wrote the entire novel in just three weeks while he was struggling to make ends meet. The book was initially rejected by six publishers before being published in a magazine called Beeton's Christmas Annual The author received 25 for the rights to the story. He never received another penny for it, although fortunately, he retained rights to the character. The novel's title was originally A Tangled Skein but the publisher changed it to the current title.

The Boy in Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne

‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’ is a fictional novel by Irish writer John Boyne, written and published in 2006. The book is set during World War II and tells the story of an eight-year-old German boy named Bruno, who moves with his family to a new home in a countryside area near a concentration camp

Bruno becomes curious about the camp and the people he sees there. including a boy in striped pyjamas who he befriends through the fence. The novel explores themes of innocence, friendship, and the devastating impact of war on families and individuals. The book has been praised for its powerful portrayal of the Holocaust from the perspective of a child

According to Boyne, the inspiration for the book came from his experience visiting the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. He was struck by the realisation that the camp was located in a residential area, and he began to wonder what it would have been like for a child living in such close proximity to the horrors of the camp. Speaking with The Irish Times the author admitted that he finished the first draft of the novel in roughly 60 hours. This book was also adapted into a film in 2008, directed by English filmmaker Mark Herman.

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