With the first of November just around the corner, writers everywhere are stockpiling food and saying farewell to their family and friends as they prepare to hole up in their writing caves until December 1. November is National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo, an annual internet-based creative writing event that challenges participants to write a new 50,000-word novel in thirty days.
The project was founded by Chris Baty in 1999 with twenty-one participants, and the official NaNoWriMo website was launched the following year. The number of registered participants has grown steadily every year, and the affiliate Young Writers Program and official podcast were developed in 2005. In 2010, over 200,000 writers registered for the challenge, and nearly three billion new words were written. A summer version of NaNoWriMo (Camp NaNoWriMo) was introduced in 2011.
Many of us in Chapman University’s MFA program have impending thesis deadlines, and the NaNoWriMo challenge gives us the perfect opportunity and support to complete this critical component of our degree requirements, particularly if we have decided to start a new project for the thesis or complete a novel rather than a collection of short stories.
The novel can be on any theme and in any genre. However, it cannot be a project already in progress. Writing of the new novel cannot have commenced prior to midnight on November 1, and the 50,000-word mark must be reached by 11:59 p.m. on November 30.
For a comprehensive list of FAQs and guidelines, visit the website at www.nanowrimo.org.
Have fun, and good luck!