Michelle Buckley

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Thursday, October 30, 2008


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It's not too late to commit to writing a novel in 30 days! November is National Novel Writing Month, a popular writing initiative that takes the nation by storm each year, which was started a decade ago right here in the KC metro.

I bet you didn't know a NY Times Best-seller started as a Nanowrimo novel.
(How's that for inspiration?)

Want to test your mettle to see if you can write a novel in one month? Read the article below, sign up at nanowrimo.org , plan on attending some local write-in meetings and then this Saturday, start writing!

Good luck to all who participate!


Novel Concept: Writers sign up for Ambitious Writing Project

With a recent study showing more than 80 percent of Americans would like to write a book, it’s obviously a common goal for many.

So if you’re one of those who wants to write your own novel, get your laptop fired up — National Novel Writing Month is almost here.

The annual event, which goes by the shorthand NaNoWriMo, is pretty straight-forward: Write a 50,000-word novel during the month of November, then upload it to www.nanowrimo.org. A computer will count your words, and if you hit the 50,000-word mark, you’ll get a certificate.

“There’s no magic here,” says Chris Baty, a Prairie Village, Kan. native who founded the event. “All we’re doing is giving people a little bit of inspiration and a little structure.”

Baty, who now lives in San Francisco, started the writing event in 1999 with a group of friends. They picked 50,000 words as an arbitrary number that seemed attainable but would still qualify as a short novel.

It’s grown into a nonprofit organization and more than 101,000 people participated in 80 countries last year.

“We all have dozens of books in us,” Baty says. “Sometimes people get caught up by the fact that they don’t have THE idea, the book no one’s ever written before, and it has to appear before they start writing. That idea I don’t think ever comes. You just have to start writing.”

Some NaNoWriMo novelists have done just that and have had luck in the past. Baty says 27 manuscripts have been sold to publishers, and the event can now tout a New York Times best-seller: Water for Elephants,” by Sara Gruen.


The key, participants say, is not to worry about quality — just get words on paper. Writers that have been successful say there are different strategies to getting through.

Some days, people write a chapter that’s 3,000 words, which is a lot of output for a single day. The next day, they might write a single scene that’s much shorter. Another strategy is writing 1,667 words (roughly 5 pages) a day no matter what, which puts writers on pace to finish the novel by the end of the month.

And there are resources available. The organization’s Web site, has tips, forums, aids and also lists local write-ins that will happen in various cities across the globe. At the write-in events, NaNoWriMo participants can actually write, get inspiration from one another and bounce ideas off of each other.

‘Life of its own’

"If you want to participate and don’t have an idea, don’t fear," says Ted Boone who has participated in Nanowrimo before.

"I often don’t choose my topic until a day or two before Nov. 1. And even then, I don’t have the whole thing mapped out. I usually find I’ve got a good starting point, a couple of points in the middle I’d like to strike, and I know where I want to finish. Somewhere in the process, I’ll get to the point where I feel like I'm not telling the story. Literally the story will take on a life of its own.”

Article originally published by Terry Rombeck at:

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