Thursday, 10 November 2011

National Novel Writing Month

I thought I take this fortnight's blog and write about a crazy little thing I'm doing called national Novel Writing Month. Of course, many of you have heard of it, but there are a surprising amount of people who don't know anything about it. I believe it is my duty as a NaNoWriMo participant to inform you all about this wonderful event.

Remember my first blog post on Erin Morgernstern's The Night Circus? The bestselling debut hit started life as a NaNoWriMo novel in 2005 (Read Erin's pep-talk on the writing of The Night Circus) and so did around ninety other novels! Amazing, right?

So I can see you wondering: what is NaNoWriMo exactly? Well, NaNoWriMo is an exciting opportunity to kick start your novel with the support of millions of other NaNo participants the world over! Writing is a solitary business, made a lot easier with the support of others in the same boat - in November there are a heck of a lot of people in that boat with you, so much so that the boat has probably become the size of the world's biggest cruiser-liner. But on the cruise-liner, there's not much time for lounging by the pool or playing games or watching the crew's entertainment evenings (dodgy cabarets and wanna-be musicians), but there are paper and pens everywhere and plug sockets so that your laptops and netbooks don't run out of juice, and a stash of USB sticks and a wireless internet connection so that once every seven days you can back up your precious words. There are also challenges and games to get your wordcount higher, enabling social interaction while still novelling! Did I mention the target is 50,000 words? Come back! Don't run away! It's fun!

At the moment, Day 10, we are a third of the way through - but it's no too late to join in! Numerous NaNo participants are joining as the days go on. In fact, there are many and various ways to catch up with those of us who have been writing since day one. My favourite so far is in memory of our heroes of WWII: The 11-11-11 11th Hour Challenge. Within the same forum, you will also find invitations to word wars and other fun word-count-boosting social activities. And speaking of social activities! You will also find that the majority of areas around the world have their own NaNo Regions. These are run by wonderful people who take on the role of Municipal Liaison. Both in real life and in the virtual world, these people offer advice, encouragement and social activities such as the Kick-Offs, Write-Ins (both IRL and virtual) and the Thank-God-It's-Over parties. They also run regional chatrooms for word wars and sprints; often regions war against each other for the highest collective word count! So if you're feeling competitive, it's a great place to be. And finally, there's the wonderful world of Twitter. Throughout November, there are numerous challenges run on @NaNoWordSprints by MLs all over the world which give you timed challenges to write as much as you can, alongside little prompts and challenges such as words or situations to get into your writing. If all else fails, trawl through the forums for interesting threads and be inspired! As you can see, you are not left on your own to complete this month-long challenge, help is around every corner!

What I'm saying is... I'd like to invite you all on a whirl-wind adventure into the land of novel-writing for the next twenty days. What do you say?

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