Monday, October 28, 2013

National Novel Writing Month: Nov. 1-30, 2013

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is an annual writing challenge / literary marathon in which participants pledge to write a 50,000 word short novel in thirty days (1,667 words of original fiction, or 4-5 single-space typed pages, per day). The premise is based on the idea that, in program founder Chris Baty’s words, “The biggest thing separating people from their artistic ambitions is not a lack of talent. It’s the lack of the deadline.” NaNoWriMo provides that deadline and connects aspiring authors with a worldwide community of fellow writers sharing the same dream.

How it works: Go to the National Novel Writing Month website and set up an author account. There are a plethora of online forums for authors to connect with others working in the same genres, doing research, or seeking advice on how to squeeze in all that writing time. There is also a Birmingham forum where you can meet other aspiring novelists from the area, either online or in person.

On November 1, participants start writing. Each day authors can update the word count on their profiles so that other writers can compare it to their own. At the end of the month, the official NaNoWriMo word counters check each writer's work for length – nothing else – and those who have crossed the 50,000 word finish line are awarded the status of “Winner!”

NaNoWriMo is not like traditional writing contests. Entries are not judged by any merit other than length, authors do not compete against each other, and the final prize is not publication. Instead, at the end of the month, NaNoWriMo winners have achieved that which is most difficult for any author to create – a finished first draft. Many people dream about “one day” writing a book. NaNoWriMo participants are living that dream now.

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