November is National Novel Writing Month (often abbreviated as NaNoWriMo). If you’ve always wanted to write a novel, but didn’t have the courage to do it, here is your chance! Here’s the basics: throughout November, people sign up on the NaNoWriMo webpage to accept this challenge. Then from Nov 1 through Nov 30, their goal is to write a 175 page (50,000 word) novel. This is a national effort, so nobody’s alone. The NaNoWriMo website acts as a support network, connecting writers through forums, resources, and peptalks (given by acclaimed writers like Philip Pullman!).
One of the main ideas behind the project is this: don’t worry about quality, focus on quantity (the revision and tune-up process comes later, maybe in December?). Their webpage states “The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.”
This year they’ve added a Young Writers Program component to their usual challenge: “our Young Writers Program allows participants who are 17 years old and younger to set reasonable, yet challenging, word-count goals.”
You may be wondering if any good novels actually come out of this crazy rushed process. Actually, there have been quite a few published novels, and even one New York Times #1 Bestseller. Here are just a few (links go to the DCPL catalog):
- Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
- Self Storage by Gayle Brandeis
- Daughter of the Bride by Francesca Segre
And here are some books at the library that may help you while writing your first novel:
- No Plot? No Problem! a low stress, high velocity guide to writing a novel in 30 days by Chris Baty
- Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
- Elements of Style by Strunk and White
Good luck! You’ll need it.