Novel Writing Month in November

Every year since 2012, and with one break in 2017, I have been participating in the National Novel Writing Month. The goal: write a novel with at least 50,000 words in 30 days. You don’t have to finish the novel’s final plot line, but you do have to have 50,000 words on November 30. The general rule is that it has to be an original work, but it’s on the honor system, and you are allowed to work on screenplays if you so choose. There is a word tracker and a graph on the NaNoWriMo site.

In some years, I was able to complete the novel’s last words by Nov 30. Finished, as in:

“All is well.” – J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

“Well, I’m back.” – J.R.R. Tolkien – Return of the King

“Winston loves Big Brother.” – George Orwell, 1984

That was in 2015.


In other years, 2012, and 2014, yes, I hit the 50K mark, but I needed another 3000 to 28,000 words to complete the story. And the one i started in 2016 – I’m not even done yet. In 2013, I barely reached 31,000 words by Nov 30, 2013 because of family circumstances and school. Moreover, that project was way more complex than expected. It is an alternate history and i spent as much time researching as I was writing. The lesson learned: do your planning in October.

In 2017, I spent most of November in Australia and New Zealand and did not have access to any computer to write. It was better that way. I got to see beautiful Milford Sound, toured Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Melbourne, Sydney, and basically time in the real world instead of looking at a computer screen all day. I was hoping to get inspiration for a future work. Instead, I got nothing, which is fine.

All this sets up 2018. I learned better pacing, better prose, and better organization. If anyone else is writing, good luck.


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