National Novel Writing Month: APL Edition 
NaNoWriMo

National Novel Writing Month: APL Edition!
by Elizabeth

“Sorry, I need extra pie and an hour of silence! For, uh. Writing inspiration.”

As October comes to a thrilling close, we’re getting closer and closer to one of the library’s most celebrated holidays: a time when our patrons come in looking haunted, horror stories are whispered and recorded and candy is consumed at alarming rates. No, not Halloween, though I love October’s spooky spiders and skeletons! No, I’m talking about AFTER Halloween: National Novel Writing Month.

What is This Holiday?
National Novel Writing month


National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, is one of my favorite times of year. It was founded in 1999 by a group of friends who realized their lives seemed…kind of empty. When they were kids, they’d been wildly creative, but as adults, they went to work, came home and collapsed into sleep. Winter blues and the holidays were just around the corner. What could they do before then that would actually mean something?

Well…write a novel, of course!

The goal? Write 50,000 words in 30 days. That’s as long as “The Great Gatsby”, which my English teacher always claimed was the Best Novel Ever Written. Sounds promising, right? (And kind of exhausting!)

Other novels around 50,000 words long include:
⦁    “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams
⦁    “The Giver” by Lois Lowry
⦁    “Speak” by Laurie Halse Anderson
⦁    “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury
⦁    “The Notebook” by Nicholas Sparks
⦁    “Fight Club” by Chuck Palahniuk
And more!

Novels 50,000 words long


Okay, But…a GOOD Novel? (Short Answer: No.)
Most of the time, what you write for NaNoWriMo won’t be fantastic. Writing just under 7 pages a day is a ridiculously fast pace, even for the most experienced writers out there! If you’ve got the Great American Novel bottled up somewhere inside, this might not be the time to write your stunningly perfect masterpiece. Making a perfect story isn’t really the point! This is more about getting creative and adding one more life goal to your bucket list: climb Mount Everest, finally finish watching the Great British Baking Show, learn to juggle, write a novel…

Some books have been published after National Novel Writing Month, though; it isn’t entirely impossible!

From cute romances to wild fantasies and everything in-between, here are some NaNoWriMo novels:
⦁    “Cinder” by Marissa Meyer: cyborg Cinderella falls for the attractive Prince Kai and must save him when the Moon’s residents plan an assassination
⦁    “Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen: an orphan joins the circus, befriends an elephant and falls for one of its star performers
⦁    “Fangirl” by Rainbow Rowell: a first-year college student balances new life experiences with writing her favorite familiar fanfiction
⦁    “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern: two young rival magicians at a mysterious one-night-only carnival fall in love
⦁    “Not Your Sidekick” by CB Lee: a high school student desperate to improve her college applications gets an internship working for a supervillain
⦁    “The Forest of Hands and Teeth” by Carrie Ryan: a girl in a mysterious fenced community discovers…zombies!

Published NaNoNovels

Check out more published NaNoWriMo novels here.

Some of these books are deliciously weird. Some are familiar and comforting. Some NaNoWriMo books get published; others (like mine) sit on a computer’s hard drive in a folder marked “Never Look at This Again.” Still, I’d say even those novels that never go anywhere are worth it. (Mine all were.)

Why Even “Failed” Stories are Worth It
My first National Novel Writing Month adventure was in high school, my junior year. Suddenly, my friends and I needed to get ready for the Real World. That meant applying for colleges, taking the PSAT, and staying up half the night with homework. It also meant no more time for hanging out. Every conversation with family members revolved around My Plans and Being Productive: had I aced this test, taken that class, filled out enough applications, figured out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life?

I missed my friends, so I started a campaign those last two weeks of October: who wanted to write a novel with me? It didn’t have to be good. It didn’t even have to be the full 50,000 words long. Who wanted to meet on Saturdays and write silly stories while we ate too much popcorn and candy? We could say we were writing novels for college and spend some time together.

They agreed.

Honestly? Almost none of us finished! The stories were terrible: teenagers storming Neverland, intergalactic emperors fighting space blobs, vampires quoting Hamlet word-for-word and swooning all over the place. We made terrible bets, joked about our stories, quit because there was too much homework, finished and danced around Walmart in victory.

I’ve tried NaNoWriMo 9 times since, and I’ve only “won” twice. Most of the time, I don’t come anywhere close to 50,000 words, but I still have a great time.

Save Your Thanksgiving (and Your Sanity)
So why should you try NaNoWriMo?
⦁    Want to finally finish something big?
⦁    Longing for something to brag about over those family holiday Zoom calls?
⦁    Wish you were as creative as when you were a kid?
⦁    Already watched everything good on Netflix?
⦁    Need to stay off of Twitter and stop obsessively checking the news?

Join the Aurora Public Library for National Novel Writing Month! We’ll have writing prompts, encouraging words, write-a-longs and virtual help all November for your virtual noveling needs. Whether you want to write about vampires, zombies or cyborg Cinderella, there’s a place for you here. We can’t wait to see you!
Posted by svanholb@auroragov.org On 22 October, 2020 at 11:05 AM  

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