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It’s My Duty to Inform You That…It’s NaNoWriMo Time!

November 2, 2010

I don’t know how this fell to me, but I’m going to leave the humor aside for one week (and I know many of you are saying “what humor?”) so I can remind faithful readers about the one time of year we all really enjoy…besides Thanksgiving, Christmas, Memorial Day, Labor Day, July 4th and Halloween — namely NaNoWriMo

For those not familiar with this event, it stands for National Novel Writing Month and was started by Chris Baty back in 1999. The challenge is to write a coherent novel of at least 50,000 words in 30 days. It began yesterday (Nov. 1) and runs through 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 30.

By that date, you’ll either be beaming with a new novel or still pissed at the results of the Grambling State-Southern Bayou Classic.

Anyway, there is no actual prize associated with being a winner. Writing 50,000 words in a month and making them fit into a novel is prize enough. You do get a little banner that you can paste to your account (if you have one).

And who knows? You may find your novel getting picked up by a publisher. Think it doesn’t happen? Ask Sara Gruen and her novel Water for Elephants, which hit #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. For a list of NaNoWriMo participants whose novels got picked up for publication, check this out.

If you should decide to participate, here’s how to get started:

1) Sign on to the Internet

2) Go to

3) Sign up

Note: If you’re one of the 60,000-plus who did this last year or the year before, use your old sign-in name, please. Otherwise, they won’t remember you. They have the means to help you if you’ve forgotten user name and password. Also, remember that the word count will appear on your WDC page.

Want to be the next A.M. Homes? Join NaNoWriMo

And don’t worry if you’ve never written a novel before. A friend of mine wrote something about vampires, vacations and Alaska and it got published. And the writer was from Jersey, no less. So, it’s not that difficult.

Anyway, here are a few helpful hints for writing 50,000 words in one month:

A) Be loose. Set aside time to write. Say about an hour a day. It can be morning, noon, night or late night. Especially a time with no distraction like kids or snoring spouses (hey, husbands can snore, too). Most importantly, write every day because, if you don’t, it’s like missing a day of exercise. You’ll suddenly miss more and more and it will be Nov. 30 before you know it.

B) Have some flexibility. You might find yourself wanting to change directions with your novel. It might start out as a memoir of how you met your husband and then change into how you met and married husband no. 5.

C) Set goals. Now, NaNoWriMo suggests writing at least 1,667 words a day, but that’s mathematical. Write what you can. You’ll have days when you don’t feel like writing much of anything and then there will be days when your significant other can’t pry you loose from the computer. Go with the flow and just write something.

D) Wait until the end to edit if you must. Trust me, I’ve fallen into this trap too many times in the past. Think of NaNoWriMo like the SATs. With tests, you answer all the questions and, if you have time left, you go back over them. With your novel, write until it’s done. Then, if it’s not quite 11:59 p.m. on the 30th, go back and browse through it. (one exception to this hint: please use Spellcheck and Grammarcheck).

Also, here are a couple of books, including one by Chris Baty himself, on how to write a novel in 30 days (both available on

By Chris Baty

by Victoria Lynn Schmidt

Special note: The winner of the Halloween novel contest is Kris M. Kris, if you would please review my last blog and pick a title from the list, I will have that sent to you post-haste. Just leave a comment on this week’s blog when you decide and then we’ll go about exchanging info offline so I can order it.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 2, 2010 7:06 pm

    You doing NaNo this year, Greg? That’s one thing you forgot to mention. Or to include your user info so fellow writers can hook up with you. 😀

    I won’t be doing it this year, but I do plan on writing for a little bit on my trip. I may work on book two or may work on my middle grade book (yes, I can write without including sex)

    Oh and hey – I’m from Virginia, I just happened to live in Jersey for twenty years. Kind of like how you may or may not have a cute little New England accent? 😉

    • November 2, 2010 11:12 pm

      Yeah, but I was born and raised in New England (of course, if you read “The Hunters” and “Land of the Blind” you can guess that my hometown is Medford, Mass.).

      And I will be doing NaNoWriMo again this year with “Red Herring.”

  2. george allwynn permalink*
    November 7, 2010 10:45 am

    Forgive me for being late here — was busy with Nanowrimo….

    This will be my fifth year. I met the goal twice, and fell short of the goal twice. This will be the tie breaker!

    Did my novels make it? After a few months of spit and polish, three are waiting the opportunity to be submitted to the right publisher.

    I am fairly active with nano. I participate with a nano group out of Lansing. We had a kick off party the day before the official start, and meet every Thursday at a cafe and encourage each other while we write. I also have joined a face book group of 30 writers and check in with them every day – for cheerleading, sobs and complaining…

    What is my nano work in progress? A gay urban fantasy romance – “The Fireman and the Boy Scout.” It’s book one of my Michigan Zombie series, which already has a publisher’s interest. At day six, I am sitting on 16,ooo plus words. HOWEVER, I’m not getting too cocky about the whole thing. If anything these past few years have taught me, those who start out strong on nanowrimo, don’t necessarily come in for the finish.

    Much success to you, Greg, and to all those who have bitten the bullet, taking on the nano challenge.

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