Monday, 27 September 2010

The sin eater's story

I can't believe it's almost NaNoWriMo time again! For the uninitiated, National Novel Writing Month challenges writers to pen 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days - that's 1,667 words a day. The novel doesn't have to be complete at the end of the month, or even readable, but the idea is that you finish November with the first draft of something that you can edit and improve on, and that you'll have improved your writing by just doing it so much.

Fortunately, the Open University Creative Writing course doesn't have any assignments due in November - possibly because they expect many writers to take part in NaNo? This means that I'll be able to concentrate on my novelling for the month while using the techniques recommended on the course to hopefully improve my productivity, creativity and technique.

Of course, before I start I have to have an idea. I've been struggling for a few months trying to think of something interesting to write about for the challenge, and I think I might have finally found something. There was a story on the BBC website this week about the grave of the last sin eater in England being restored. His name was Richard Munslow and he lived in Ratlinghope, in Shropshire, fairly near to where I live. Not much is known about Richard, although he seems to have been something of an unusual example of a sin eater, so I started wondering about who he was.

As a result I think I'm going to write a fictitious version of his story based on the facts that we do know about him. I think this will be an interesting project because it will tie together local history, folklore and creative writing - all things I'm interested in.

As an aside the course starts next Monday, so I'll post up a preview of the course materiels and so on later this week.


  1. Pam, that's one of those ideas that is so good, everyone will wish they had thought of it!

    I have never heard of sin eaters before, but just hearing those two words make me want to find out more about them.

    And you have already have a great title before you have even started: "The Last Sin Eater". How compelling is that?

    Hope the novel goes well for you.

  2. Thanks Harvey, I'm glad you like it!

    I just checked out your website and it looks really interesting - I've signed up for your e-zine.

  3. Sounds like a great idea. I look forward to working alongside you in NaNoWriMo as well. Following and supporting.