Sunday, 3 August 2008


My latest book has 520 pages and yet I have only written 366 words of it!

WOW! 366 is a collection of "Speedy stories in just 366 words" or, as the above-the-title blurb immodestly puts it, "Mini writes from MASSIVE writers"!

Leaving aside the references to my girth, I should explain that the book was conceived for this Leap Year and contains stories each of which - as you've guessed by now - are written in just 366 words.

WOW! 366 is published by Scholastic (price £6.99) and all the authors have donated their stories in order that profits from the volume can go to the NSPCC charity, ChildLine.

The role call of writers is impressive: Roddy Doyle, Terry Jones, Michael Morpurgo, Charlie Higson, Nina Bawden, Raymond Briggs, Michael Bond and many others including Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Tom of McFly!

Writing a short story this short is far from easy (it's always harder to write briefly rather than at length) but it also turned out to be a herculean counting task for the publishers, since computer word-count systems are neither uniform or totally reliable - especially when confronted by hyphenated words or even numbers.

I mention this because to add to the constraints imposed by the original brief, I decided that my story 'The Lucky Guess' (page 84) was going to be about the number 366!

The diversity of subject matter and the inventiveness of approach taken by the authors is really fascinating and as well as providing a lot of enjoyment to bookish kids might also manage to seduce some young non-readers into taking up the habit...

So, whether you know kids who read or kids that don't, this could provide them with a good summer gift that will also be helping a desperately worthwhile cause.

It's also the only way in which you're going to find out how I wrote about the number 366!!


Anonymous said...

Can someone please tell me what Charlie Higson's story is called? Thanks.

Brian Sibley said...

It's called Freddy and the Pig.

Boll Weavil said...

I thought you were going to ask us all to write a story of the same number of words for a competition.

Brian Sibley said...

You may say that, glibly, but I think it would be something of a test of people's loyalty to this blog!

SharonM said...

I've got a local competition I must enter soon where the maximum words is 250 - even harder. The smaller the number of words, the more difficult it gets.
Looking forward to reading 366 - hopefully it will provide some inspiration - I'm sure The Lucky Guess will.