NaNoWriMo – A November of Novel Adventuring


Yes, it’s that time of the year again.


And I do appear to have signed up, partly because I can’t bear not to, and partly because I do have a new book project waiting and raring to go. It’s exciting to browse the forums again, reading about everyone prepping for the long month of madcap novel writing to come. It may not work out this year – things are a touch up in the air for me, in several ways – but I think I’m going to be there at the start line at least, fingerless gloves and cheap Halloween sweets in hand.


I’ve participated in Nano for the last four years. In my first (2008, I think) I wrote a short children’s book called Bird and Tower. Next up came Ink for Thieves, a book I still love and hope to find a home for, followed by Dead Zoo Shuffle, a book I’m not that massively keen on these days but isn’t entirely hopeless. Last year I did the Beta month of Camp Nanowrimo, and followed that up by doing the official month too, managing to write the entirety of The Snake House in two months, which was something of a record for me.


And as everyone starts to get excited, there’s usually a wave of cynicism about Nano too, and I’ve seen the first trickles of this. All those amateurs, moan the weary cynics, thinking they can write. 50,000 words isn’t even really a book, and they’ve never even heard of editing…


Sod that, I say. Yes, a lot of young people take part in Nanowrimo, and yes, lots of them might be writing some rather familiar re-hashes of boy wizards, angsty vampires, and demon-hunting hotties, but so what? It’s very easy to sneer at these things (and at fanfiction, although perhaps that is unwise – fanfic led to the biggest publishing hoo-ha of this year, after all) but I’d much rather see people (particularly young people) getting excited and making things, than, say, the umpteenth wannabe farting Wannabe by the Spice Girls on Britain’s Got Talent. Or maybe that’s just me.


Besides which, Nano teaches you all sorts of important stuff if writing is where your soul rests. So the first book you harass into life via Nano might not be that great – it might even suck the big one – 50,000 words will still show you all sorts of wonders you’d never even have guessed at on November the 1st. Plus, Nano shows you (albeit in a slightly extreme way) that it is entirely possible to fit writing into your life, and that is often a wonderful and life changing thing to learn. It certainly changed mine.


So come, mighty Nano Vikings, with your cups of coffee and writing mascots, let’s go kick November up the plot bunny!

(and while you’re here, tell me how you prepare for Nano)


12 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo – A November of Novel Adventuring

  1. Not sure if I’ll do Nano or not but I have started using which, similar to Nano, encourages daily writing but about half the volume needed for Nano and this is unedited. You could simply copy/paste “rhubarb” seven hundred and fifty times every day but where would be the fun in that.I’m surprised how difficult it’s been to set aside just half an hour to type seven hundred and fifty words. I have a new respect for those that take part and complete Nano now.

  2. This is my fourth year of doing NaNo and, well, the preparation for each has been different. The only year I actually prepared ‘properly’ (plot, characters, etc) was the only year I failed, and what a failure it was.This year I have a vague plot, some excellent characters and will be mainly prepping by eating ginger nut biscuits duned in hot coffee. Because that works.

  3. The discipline is the most useful tool for me. I had never heard of it until the middle of last October, but I bit the bullet and I did it. It was so much fun. I loved the writing prompts. One year I want to write a novel based solely on the prompts. I’m not sure if I can participate this year because I’m working on a book, and I don’t want to leave that baby for too long. I wonder if I can do both…

  4. I’ll be taking part for the first time this year! Excited to get starte, but nervous I lose stamina half way through. It’s good to have others working towards the same goal to motivate and inspire. Will check back on your progress as often as possible!

  5. Ah, biscuits. Biscuits are always an important part of my Nano experience (also, life).I suspect the Plotter vs Pantzer debate deserves a blog post all of its own, but over the years I’ve ended up using a mixture of both approaches – a loose outline, familiarity with the characters, and an enthusiasm for filling in the details as I go.

  6. Last year, I started with a title and a hundred-word summary of the premise. I wrote two streams – two different POVs – and when I ran out of steam on one, I went back to the other (which gave me time to think of something else to write).It worked, but what I got wasn’t strictly a novel.This year, I’ve got a slightly less vague idea about what I want to write. There’s still some planning to be done, but the outline should be there for November first.The difference with this year is that I’ve been writing pretty much throughout the year already – instead of 2011 where I did virtually nothing up to NaNo. Hopefully that’ll make things easier. Somehow I doubt it.

  7. …I keep trying to sign in with twitter, but I don’t know that it’s working. ANYWAY. This is the second year in a row Heather has pressured me to participate. Last year I started the blog to get out of it.I wonder what I’ll do this year to avoid it?

  8. FINE I SIGNED UP! I hope you’ll all be incredibly happy when I make you read my horrible faerie tale in space. VERY HAPPY.

  9. WAIT A SECOND! You’re just going to write out the plot of Leprechaun 4: In Space*, aren’t you?!*best title decision ever.

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