NaNoWriMo Starts Today

It’s a movement that started way back in 1999, when 21 people in the San Francisco area pledged to write a novel in a month. Last year, its 12th, 200,000 aspiring novels the world over made the same pledge, writing some 2.8 billion words, or nigh on 100 million words a day.

It’s National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, and the idea is simple: participants have all 30 days in November to write 50,000 words of a novel. They can plan, they can plot, but they can’t start early and they can’t use any pre-written material in the body of their novel. Other than that, there are few restrictions: any genre is allowed, in any format, any language, using any theme. Writers don’t even need to finish the novel - the 50,000 words can be a partial novel. A manuscript of 50,000 words equates to a short novel of about 175 pages in length amounts to the same length as The Great Gatsby - not a long novel, but a novel nevertheless. Conventionally, the 40,000 word mark distinguishes a novel from a novella.

Though NaNoWriMo isn’t a competition, it does have winners - anyone who completes the task is a winner and, after the word count is verified, their name is added to NaNoWriMo’s winner’s page. The philosophy is simple - quantity trumps quality, the idea being that quality comes later, with careful revision and redrafting. Here’s a list of writers who’ve had their NaNoWriMo novels published.

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