Thirty days can seem like an age if you’re waiting for a birthday, the birth of a child, or a paycheque. However, thirty days doesn’t seem so long when you have write a whole novel from start to finish. That’s the aim of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), to encourage people to write a complete novel over the month of November. It sounds like a big task.
1667 words a day, every day, for thirty days. That’s all you have to do to be considered a ‘winner’ of NaNoWriMo. At 11:59pm on the 30th of November you should be able to submit at least 50,000 original written words. The ‘prize’ is the achievement in itself.
In July 1999, freelance writer Chris Baty started the project in San Francisco with just 21 participants. Now, fourteen years later, it should really be renamed International Novel Writing Month as it boasts entrants from all over the world, 400,000 of whom took part last year, each with the goal of writing 50,000 words.
In novel terms, that’s not actually a lot, bordering on being a novella, but the point of the exercise isn’t to hand in a completed book, ready to hit the press, it’s to start you off on your path to writing glory, it’s the impetus that you might need to kick start your new career. You can submit a finished story that needs a lot of editing and fleshing out, or you can even submit a half-finished story, the only rule is the magic number.
It’s a difficult, but achievable figure, even if you have a full-time job and/or children.
The project website, NaNoWriMo.org, says:
“We define a novel as “a lengthy work of fiction.” Beyond that, we let you decide whether what you’re writing falls under the heading of “novel.” In short: If you believe you’re writing a novel, we believe you’re writing a novel, too.”
Several books written over NaNoWriMo have been traditionally published and gone on to be very successful. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, and Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, which also went on to become a movie starring Reece Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson.
Other famous books of around 50k are:
- The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks (52,000 words)
- The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane (50,776 words)
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (50,061 words)
- Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk (49,962 words)
- Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (49,459 words)
To help you on your way there are various deals for completion, such as discounts on software like Scrivener and Evernote.
We’re also running a discount for NaNoWriMo participants, sign up for our newsletter to find out more next month.
They say best way to learn to write a novel is to start writing a novel. So what are you waiting for, sign up on the NaNoWriMo website and get stuck in.
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