November 1, 2016

Can You Write a Novel In a Month?

It's November 1st. And that means, it's National Novel Writing Month! NaNoWriMo began in 1999 to encourage writers to get it on the page. From November 1st until 11:59 on November 30th, your goal is to write a 50,000-word novel. 

The beauty behind this approach is that you are given a start date (now), an end date, and encouragement from the many participants who jump right in, as well as Pep Talks from published authors. And that's what you need to do. Jump. Don't think about it. Forget spelling and grammar for just a little while. Simply write your story each and every day. 

Think it can't be done? Here are 18 published novels written during NaNoWriMo.

The Beautiful Land by Alan Averill
Alan's novel was started during NaNoWriMo. "I think writers just don’t trust themselves enough to realize that first drafts are often much closer to completion than they know, I’d guess that at least 80% of the first draft is in the final draft." 

Wool by Hugh Howey
After writing the novel during NaNoWriMo, Howey originally self-published his novel. It became a New York Times bestseller, was republished by Simon and Schuster, and the film rights were picked up by Ridley Scott. "NaNoWriMo has been the greatest thing to happen to me as a writer."

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Almost 121,000 words in length, this book was written over three seperate NaNoWriMo sessions proving you don't have to do it all in one sitting if you don't want to. Morgenstern tells us to "Take risks" and "Let yourself be surprised."

Like Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Despite a few serious setbacks, Gruen forged on. "We can do this," she promises. "However far behind you are, take comfort in knowing that there is somebody else out there in the same boat, and look for that next fun scene. And then the next. And if that doesn’t work, set someone on fire. In your book, of course."

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Rowell was already a published author before she tried her hand at NaNoWriMo. In fact, she was a bit skeptical about the process. "It seemd like something that amateur writers would do. Or young writers. People who needed to be tricked into finishing their books. I'd already written two books by October 2011, and sold them to publishers, and I couldn't imagine writing either of them--or anything good--in a month." She went on to say, "Normally I start each writing session by rewriting whatever I wrote in my last session. With Fangirl... I picked up where I left off and kept moving. I never looked back." Good advice indeed!

Cinder, Scarlet and Cress by Marissa Meyer
The first three books in the Luna Chronicles (Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress) all started life as NaNoWriMo novels. Actually, they were all drafted out during a single NaNoWriMo." Yep. You read that correctly. All THREE books were written during ONE November session. So if you're perhaps "both geek and chronic overachiever.", as Meyer has stated, you could have a best-selling series in you!

Here are several more...

Persistance of Memory by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Take the Reins by Jessica Burkhart
Livvie Owen Lived Here by Sarah Doolay
Losing Faith by Denise Jaden
The Compound by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen
The Hungry Season by T. Greenwood
Olivia Bean, Trivia Queen by Donna Gephart
The God Patent by Ransom Stephens
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Don't Let Me Go by J.H. Trimble

And like most of the authors will tell you, you need a break from writing every now and then. Whenever a writer isn't writing, she/he is reading. This months book pick is A Jane Austen Education. For all of you Janites out there, here is the perfect companion to your collection. And for all you naysayers, this is the book that will make sense of all those "pretty stories". A must-read either way. 

P.S. You may also like Updated Classics, The Anatomy of a Writer, and  10 Things to do in November


Anonymous said...

Inspiring, but I don't think I could do it.

Kimberly Merritt said...

Well, I didn't think I could either, but you'd be surprised once you commit!