November 1st-30th–National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo to those in the know)–is when anyone who’s ever considered writing a novel tries. Words pour from pens like ants at an abandoned picnic with the goal of finishing a novel in a month. People stop watching TV, making dinner, visiting social media, and worrying about COVID–all in the name of literary passion.
- 455,080 writers participated in our programs, including 104,350 students and educators in the Young Writers Program.
- 966 volunteer Municipal Liaisons guided 669 regions on six continents.
- 968 libraries, bookstores, and community centers opened their doors to novelists through the Come Write In program.
- 70,632 Campers tackled a writing project—novel or not—at Camp NaNoWriMo.
Hundreds of NaNoWriMo novels have been traditionally published. They include Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, Hugh Howey’s Wool, Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, Jason Hough’s The Darwin Elevator, and Marissa Meyer’s Cinder.
Any time but November, a novel would take from one to ten years to complete (twenty-two for my first), exhaust the writer and infuriate those close to them who don’t understand how sitting in a hard chair and talking to fictitious people can be so gal-darn fascinating.
I entered last year but was too far into editing Book 3 in the Crossroads trilogy, Against All Odds, to make it work (see that sad post here). This year, I thought would be perfect. I’m writing Book 2 (Laws of Nature) and 3 (In the Shadows of Giants) of the Dawn of Humanity trilogy together (Book 1, Born in a Treacherous Time, is already out there). That means I’m outlining and editing them at the same time though I haven’t decided on a publishing schedule. Two books will require at least 160,000 words. I only need 50,000 for NaNoWriMo. How could that not work?
So I entered:
Well, I had a good summer writing so I entered NaNoWriMo as a rebel–working on an existing book rather than starting a new one. I’ve already written 127,000 words in the Dawn of Humanity trilogy. I could write more than my goal of 80,000 per book but not sure I want to. Readers don’t like long books as much as they used to.
The NaNo website has interesting ‘stuff’ that I suppose they think will motivate writers:
I’m not sure I’ll like those. I’ll let you know in the wrap-up.
More on NaNoWriMo
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Man vs. Nature saga, and the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice, a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Laws of Nature, Fall 2021.