November is NaNoWriMo!

As of yesterday, NaNoWriMo has begun. In 2009, more than 165,000 participants took on the challenge, and even higher numbers are expected this year.

No idea what that nonsensical word means? As Chris Baty, founder of the movement, explains:

National Novel Writing Month—NaNoWriMo for short—is a 30-day kick in the pants for would-be writers, a no-holds-barred “contest,” in which participants are required to write a 50,000 word (roughly 175-page) novel in November. People sign up through the organization’s Web site, but there are no entry fees, judges, or prizes. What you take away from the month is the experience. And a brand-new manuscript.

In honor of those who undertake this vast but fulfilling project, this month I will be posting reviews of writing-related books. With books featuring valuable advice and tips–from writing prompts to inspiration when you’re feeling all wrung out–these reviews will (hopefully) inspire you to stick with the program.

I began yesterday by posting a review of The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published, which offers a wealth of knowledge about how to begin writing with publication in mind. Leave a comment on that post to win a free copy of the book!

If you were unable to participate in November but would like to re-create the experience some other month, I will feature 30-day workbooks and kits to keep you going even when it seems like no one else has ever been where you are today.

So to those thousands of NaNoWriMo-ers: I salute you! And I hope to help. If this is the first time you’ve heard of it and you are intrigued by this novel business, check out the craze that has captured the attention of would-be authors from every conceivable profession. The rules are fairly simple:

  • Write a 50,000-word (or longer!) novel, between November 1 and November 30.
  • Start from scratch. None of your own previously written prose can be included in your NaNoWriMo draft (though outlines, character sketches, and research are all fine, as are citations from other people’s works).
  • Write a novel. We define a novel as a lengthy work of fiction. If you consider the book you’re writing a novel, we consider it a novel too!
  • Be the sole author of your novel. Apart from those citations mentioned two bullet-points up.
  • Write more than one word repeated 50,000 times.
  • Upload your novel for word-count validation to our site between November 25 and November 30.
  • Of course, I won’t forget those of you who prefer to spend November reading; I will also continue reviewing fiction and non-fiction books that have nothing to do with writing. Because let’s be serious–I could never limit myself to just one genre!

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