For some political hopefuls, November is a month of success or
loss; for football fans, particularly of the Michigan variety, it
is game time galore; for many, it brings to mind images of turkey
and that too-much-cranberry sauce feeling. Any way it’s
sliced, November is also National Novel Writing Month.
Visions of 50,000 word novels dancing in your head yet?
NaNoWriMo, an nickname for the month-long holiday and an
organization dedicated to helping aspiring novelists reach their
goals, kicks off every year at midnight on Nov. 1.
The object is simple: Writers have 30 days to craft a 50,000
word novel. There are no requirements with regard to plot, theme or
quality, just frenzied creativity brought to life at an astounding
rate of 1,667 words per day. Finished novels must be submitted to
NaNoWriMo’s website, nanowrimo.org, by midnight on Nov. 31 to
be mechanically word-counted.
NaNoWriMo was born in 1999 as the caffeine-induced child of
He thought it would be cool if he could write a novel in just 30
days, and even cooler if his friends could do it, too. With the
power of the internet, he relayed his idea to the masses. First a
mere few, then hundreds began to express interest in Baty’s
While participants’ first novels were far short of New
York Times bestsellers, they were better than awful. Baty’s
concept caught on and as of Monday, 40,000 novelists began
Though it seems difficult, this organization helps jumpstart the
novels of many who would be unmotivated or strapped for time
“It’s a matter of time and motivation, mostly trying
not to run out of time before motivation,” said Lauren
LaLonde, a senior at Eastern Michigan University. Her concentration
in professional writing has limited her creative side, and, in her
first year as a “Wrimo,” LaLonde is reveling in the
opportunity to finally start that novel she has had in mind.
Wrimos do not attack their novels alone; online forums organized
by topic or region are available on the website all day, everyday.
The subjects of such forums range from plot ideas and tips on how
to develop character to what music other Wrimos listen to as they
At the site, Wrimos can also post passages from their works in
progress, though not the novel in its entirety. “Most people
prefer to edit first because you produce so much fluff when you
write so fast,” LaLonde said.
Luckily for Wrimos, the only criteria is that the novel is
started from scratch, not co-authored, and emailed in for word
counting by midnight, Pacific Standard Time, on Nov. 31.
Sound easy? Think you may be the next John Grisham? It is not
too late to jump onboard the NaNoWriMo ship.