How’s this for a novel concept? Write a novel in a month, starting today. That’s exactly what a quarter of a million people will do as part of National Novel Writing Month.
NaNoWriMo began with 21 writers in the summer of 1999, and each year, the participants grew exponentially, from 5,000 in 2001 to the 250,000 reportedly registered on nanowrimo.org for this year.
Headquartered in San Francisco, NaNoWriMo is all about “quantity not quality.” In other words, they want you to write without thinking. At the end, you’ll have 170 pages of material you can edit.
It’s also a chance for those who have always wanted to write but constantly put it off, to be motivated by the looming Nov. 30 midnight deadline.
Since the first month in 1999, more than 140,000 novels have been written, with more than 100 of those getting published.
Sara Gruen wrote the No. 1 New York Times best-seller Water For Elephants as a NaNoWriMo novel.
So without the NaNoWriMo site, the world might have never seen Robert Pattinson paired with Reese Witherspoon in the major motion picture adaptation.
Though donations are encouraged, there is no fee to participate in the project, and in December, visitors to the site can read the work of writers who met the minimum 50,000 word count.
Now let’s get you started.
Write at least 1,700 words or more a day to get off on the right, inspired foot. Concentrate on writing without thinking and get out of the habit of going over every sentence. Wake up early and write, as opposed to waiting until nighttime. Develop definite characters with solid backgrounds.
By the beginning of Week 2, you should have already figured out the conflict and have begun to lead the characters to it. NaNoWriMo suggests 22,000 words by the weekend, but you’ll aim for 25,000.
Start to think about the future of the story: Where will these characters go and how should it affect their actions in this point of the novel?
A conflict should be developed and actions should be leading up to this point. Try to stay positive: It’s half over, and your sleep pattern will be normal again soon! Main goal: Write as much as you can as the last week (and the holiday season) approaches.
One week left means your characters will most likely be at or going through the climax of the novel.
The next question on your mind will be: How will this end? Your (hopefully tiny) bit of procrastination will probably show through at the end of this week, so you’ll aim for 2,000- to 5,000- word days. Hit 50,000 words and submit your novel to the website by midnight on Nov. 30. Get a book deal, Fame ensues!