Blogger: Rachel Kent
Are you participating in National Novel Writing Month? November is NaNoWriMo and I know many of you are using this month to quickly write a book or get a head start on a project. It’s already Day 3! It looks like most of my Facebook friends who are participating are off to a good start–writing 5,000 words in a morning sounds impressive, anyway. 🙂
Here are a few things that are important to remember about writing a project for NaNoWriMo:
Keep in mind that a NaNoWriMo novel is only 50,000 words long. If this is the goal you set for the month your novel will be a shorter length than most publishing houses accept. 55,000 words is usually the shortest accepted length for a novel–and that is for a house like Harlequin where they publish short romances. If you write a 50,000 word novel in November for NaNoWriMo, you can revise and expand it in December, but during your plotting you might want to plan an extra plot thread that can be expanded during revisions.
If you would like to write a novel that is a length that many traditional houses will consider, do a little research about word count for your genre, but you should be working toward approximately 90,000 words. If this is what you are planning, make sure your plot is detailed enough and plan to write half of a novel during NaNoWriMo. 50,000 words in a month is incredible and if you continue at the same pace for another month you can have a full-length novel by the end of two months.
Be sure to plan some time for revisions and to have your critique partners review your novel before submitting it to agents or editors. I’ve seen NaNoWriMo submissions that have interesting plots, but I can tell the authors got swept away in the excitement of finishing a book and sent the projects too soon.
Enjoy the experience! NaNoWriMo is fun because of the sense of community. Join up and keep in touch with other writers for encouragement.
How many NaNoWriMo words have you written so far?
Are you participating for the first time? How many times have you done NaNoWriMo successfully?
If you’ve participated before, do you have advice for the new writers?
I have never participated. It’s too rushed for me with the time I have for writing right now. But maybe one day. I think beginners tend to send their work too soon. Because you think it’s good. You think it’s ready. Until you learn more and read more, etc. 🙂
Jaxon M King
I almost did that! The research inspired a much needed rewrite. 🙂
And I’m with you-too rushed.
Wendy L Macdonald
Great advice, dear Rachel. I’m not entering it this year. But recently my husband asked to read the mystery/romance I wrote for the 2015 NaNoWriMo, and he’s now helping me edit it. He didn’t guess whodunnit, and he liked the characters and story. I’m going to pen my best ink and then round up some beta readers.
I can’t believe how much I’ve learned about writing since 2015. It’s making editing fun as I apply new writing craft skills to it.
It’s part of a series I’ve been working on. I needed someone to believe in me. And my hubby won’t finish a book he doesn’t like–I’m honored. 🙂 Don’t worry, I know the opinions of relatives don’t count in the real publishing world. But a writer needs a patron who believes in her before she can subject herself to the valley of critiques (insert hand-wringing and a sweaty brow here). 😉
Maybe by this time next year, I’ll finally have finished the third manuscript too.
Blessings on your weekend, everyone ~ Wendy Mac
This is great advice Rachel!
I have written 5000 words so far this year and yes, a realistic view of the end word count is great.
This will be my third year doing it. What I take from NaNo is that, it is only the beginning. It’s a time where authors get excited about writing and building a habit to write everyday. That is what I love about this event and why I love to participate in it! I don’t think I have ever “won” but, the celebration of bringing writers together from all over the world, doing writing sprints, reading articles is just so wonderful!
Kristen Joy Wilks
I’ve done my own style of NaNo about 8 or 9 times, trying to write the rough draft of a story in a month and keeping track of my words with ACFW Novel Track. But I have 4 untouched rough drafts on my computer and so this year, I figured I better make something of the stories I already have!
No, I’ve never done it because I am always involved in working on other projects. It does inspire me to work more on whatever project I have at hand. I love to cheer those going for it.
I love that every November our ACFW chapter for Minnesota celebrates NaNoWriMo by gathering together for a potluck, work (kind of), and voting of new board members. Our very first president, Stacy Monson, who also is responsible for starting our chapter hosts it at her home. It’s always a fun meeting.
Thanks for the post Rachel.
Here’s to all those heading towards 50, 000 words and the rough draft of a novel. Who knows what will be birthed this November.
I almost did it this year. My finger hovered over the submit button for a looong time. But I didn’t. Most days I only have about an hour to write, so realistically I’m more at the 500 words/ day level of things. Add to that travel at Thanksgiving and a baby due next month…NaNoWriMo is waiting for another year. Yup.