Ever thought about writing a novel but never got around to it? Now’s your chance.
This month is National Novel Writing Month, a worldwide event that began in 1999 in San Francisco when 21 writers got together to make their longtime aspirations of writing a novel a reality, and, in the process, discovered that the process of spinning a story was actually fun.
“Putting pen on paper is a lot of harder than just thinking about it, and sometimes the best way to get things done is to give yourself a really atrocious deadline,” Floyd said. “The idea behind NaNoWriMo is with that crazy deadline, and all these people all over the world supporting you, you’re going to finally sit down and write this thing.”
The participants of National Novel Writing Month have the 30 days of November to write 50,000 words, or an average of 1,667 words per day, but how they get it done is up to them.
“According to the official rules you should start a brand new novel on Nov. 1 and finish it by Nov. 30, but we do have people continue projects that they started previously or write non-fiction, which is technically against the rules. Some work to different word counts, and that’s all OK,” said Floyd. “What we really want is to get people writing, to help them get their words on paper. I think there’s a lot of talent in the area, based upon the level of success that some people have achieved.”
Writers participate in the event by signing up at the NaNoWriMo website, where they can create a profile, enter current word counts and details about their novels, receive advice, track their progress and have the opportunity to meet other writers online.
“It is very much up to the individual writer as to how they make it happen,” Floyd said. “You can use a word processor, or sit down with pen and paper and you write wherever you’re comfortable. So if you want to hole up in your house and never talk to anybody, that’s just fine, or if you’d like to join us for any of our write-ins and get some peer pressure and public support, that can be a real encouragement as well.”
At the end of the month, authors are asked to copy and paste their entire novel into an application on the website, where their word count is verified. Those who reach 50,000 words will have the ability to print out a certificate, buy a T-shirt that proclaims their accomplishment, and take advantage of other perks, such as free proof copies, and other discounts.
Although many of the novels written during National Novel Writing Month are never published, some authors do publish their work. Nationally, there have been some huge successes, notably “Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen and “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern, both first time NaNoWriMo novels.