I first heard about NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month (or as it’s affectionately known NaNo) back in 2010. It sounded pretty crazy to be honest. For the month of November, writers from around the world make a commitment to write a novel (or at least the first 50,000 words of it) during the month of November.
There are a few “rules.” You can’t have started the novel before November 1. You can plan for your novel, but you can’t actually start writing. In other words, you can plot and create characters to your heart’s content, but you can’t start the story itself.
Of course, I did some research when I first heard about it.
How many words per day does that end up being? 1,667. Approximately.
Do people actually do this? Yes. As it turns out, quite a few, and not just adults but students, too.
What does it mean to “win” NaNo? Just hit your 50,000 words before midnight on November 30.
Can a book written that quickly possibly be any good? Could it actually get published? Yes.
How do I know? Because my upcoming young adult novel Angelhood was my 2011 NaNo project, and it’s being published by Vinspire Publishing in April 2015.
In 2010, when I first heard of NaNo, I decided to try my hand at writing a cozy mystery since I love those. I didn’t intend for it to go anywhere. It was just going to be a writing challenge. I got a few books on writing mysteries out of the library and spent the month of October plotting and planning. When November rolled around, I rolled up my sleeves and went to work. Long story short, I wrote a not-so-hot cozy mystery. On the bright side, I learned it is actually possible to write 50,000 words in a month.
The next year I was planning on using NaNo to motivate me for this middle grade mystery I had been researching for months. The problem was that I hadn’t finished all my research. I was totally stuck in my plotting. I couldn’t work out the kinks in the storyline.
Then on October 29, 2011, (exactly three years ago today and just three days before NaNo was going to begin) I got an idea for a totally different type of book. This one was for young adults, and it was something I was sure from the beginning wouldn’t get published at all. Too religious for the mainstream; too dark for the Christian publishers.
Nonetheless, I felt I had to write it out. At least it would give me something to work on during NaNo. So in less than three days, I hammered out character maps and an outline. November 1 arrived, and I hit the ground running.
By the end of the month, I had 53,000 words, and a young adult novel I had no idea what to do with. Eventually, I found critique partners through the American Christian Fiction Writers. With their support, advice, and encouragement, I revised Angelhood multiple times. Then I started the long process of querying.
Skip ahead to the beginning of 2014. Through another writing group, I learned about Vinspire Publishing and decided to try querying them. And now my NaNo project from 2011 is on its way to publication!
So if you’re thinking about trying NaNo, but you’ve heard too many negative things like “Nothing good can be written that fast” and “NaNo books don’t get published,” think again! I’m not the only NaNo success story. Another writing friend shared this link of 14 other NaNo projects that got published, so it definitely can be done.