What’s a NaNoWriMo?
It’s almost November, and that means it’s almost time for National Novel Writing Month! Last year I was lamenting the lack of books for teens with realistic diabetic characters (see my blog post here) and said that I was going to write one myself for NaNoWriMo… well, this year I’m actually going to do it!
If you’re not familiar with NaNoWriMo, the basic concept is this: during the month of November, you write a book. I know, it sounds crazy, but it is totally doable. Your novel doesn’t have to be a ready to publish product come December 1st, but the idea is to have at least 50,000 words of a first draft of a novel by the end of November. The great thing about NaNoWriMo is that a lot of books- really good books- are “born” here. (Take a look at Gretchen Kolderup’s books written during NaNoWriMo post and Jennifer Rummel’s interviews with published NaNoWriMo authors for more!)
In addition to those titles and authors, here are some other books that the NaNoWriMo website lists as books “born in November!”
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan, which is about a girl named Mary whose parents are “Unconsencrated” and forced to live outside of the village that is protected by the Sisterhood and the Guardians until the fence that surrounds the village falls and Mary begins to question everything she thought she knew. This futuristic novel, a 2010 Best Books for Young Adults selection, has been a fan favorite in my part of the world and is the begining of a series.
Fang Girl by Helen Keeble, in which Jane tries to have a successful undead social life after becoming a vampire, except she has to contend with a psychotic vampire creator trying to use her for world domination, an annoying younger brother, and an attraction to a really hot vampire hunter. Vampires and comedy always go together in my opinion, and this is a good choice for those who are interested in vampires but might be ready for something less dramatic than the usual paranormal romance.
Spookygirl: Paranormal Investigator by Jill Baguchinsky, which combines the mystery solving fun of Nancy Drew with the ability ot talk to ghosts. Violet had been living with her mother, who unfortunately died investigating a haunted house, but now lives with her father, who owns a funeral home. While trying to fit into her new school she meets new people (both living and deceased), and stumbles across a mystery in the locker room that she is determined to solve.
Sure Signs of Crazy by Karen Harrington, in which Sarah Nelson deals with her family’s notorious past, finally confronts her father about running from said notorious past, and has her first real crush. Though Sarah is only twelve, she’s got a lot to deal with- her mother is in a mental institution for successfully drowning her twin brother and trying to dorwn her when they were just two years old, which is why she and her father move a lot. With an affinity for Atticus Finch and her friend Charlotte’s brother Finn, Sarah is hardly the typical twelve year old.
I’ve written novels before (I’ve even self-published one) but I’ve never done it in a month. I love writing and even to me this sounds like a daunting task. In fact, I am one of those people who goes back and edits paragraphs over and over as I write instead of getting on with the story. I usually have an idea of where the story is going but I have no idea how I’m going to get there, so I have no idea how exactly I’m going to do this. Fortunately there is a lot of help out there to get me started.
The official NaNoWriMo page not only has tips and support forums, but they’ll email you encouragement throughout the month if you sign up…of course, I can’t even come up with a good user name, so right away I’m feeling the pressure! There are tons of books out there to help with writing, too (my personal favorite is On Writing by Stephen King, which is also just a great read for anyone who’s a fan of King’s work, especially teens interested in writing.) One thing I’ve noticed about this process is how it warps your brain. I’m already looking down at the word count that keeps going up as I write this blog. So far I’m at 742. 743. 744. Well, this could go on forever! (751).
Why would anyone even bother to do this? Why would anyone subject themselves to such a deadline? Well, like the NaNoWriMo website says, “the world needs your novel.” I certainly see a need for teen books with diabetic protagonists. What need do you see to fill? Maybe it’s time you wrote it!
-Carla Land, currently reading Of Triton by Anna Banks