Okay, Everybody, What Are You Doing for NaNoWriMo?

Happy Halloween, and Happy NaNoWriMo Eve! National Novel Writing Month is, of course, when many writers challenge themselves to write 50,000 words of a novel during the month of November.

I think NaNo is a lot of fun, and I think most of the arguments against it are silly. At the same time, it isn’t for everyone, and if it’s not for you, that doesn’t mean you’re not a good writer. Let’s face it, very few of the published novels in existence started out as NaNo projects.

Last year, I finished the first book of a trilogy, The Phoenix Codex (which I later re-wrote from first person to third person.) After that, I wrote the novella Wicked Garden that came out in a boxed set earlier this fall.

Arguably, I should use NaNo to work on the second book of that trilogy, but I’ve been getting such good feedback here on another project that I’m going to finish it instead.




A Knight Restored is about a museum employee who discovers that a sculpture is actually an English knight who was turned to stone by a sorcerer’s spell. What happens after a modern-day fair maiden rescues a knight in shining armor?

I expect it to run about 90K, and I’m at over 30K of the first draft now, so with NaNoWriMo, I should be able to get the first draft very close to finished.

I only have one caveat about NaNo this year. There’s a possibility that something will happen at work that will require just about all of my waking attention (which is as much as I can say about that). If this does happen, I won’t finish NaNo. Either way, I’m going to be excited about what I’m working on this month!

If you’re doing NaNoWriMo this year, let us know what you’re working on, and either way, let us know your thoughts about the whole thing! And don’t forget that this Wednesday is WIP Wednesday, so think about sharing an excerpt of your work-in-progress then — I always love seeing what everyone is up to. Happy writing!


39 Replies to “Okay, Everybody, What Are You Doing for NaNoWriMo?”

  1. I’m going to pick up a project that I started a couple of years ago, and then set aside because I fell in to a plot hole I couldn’t figure out. But now I (think) I have it all sorted out, and I’m excited to get started on it again. It’s a paranormal romance set in 1880’s Arizona. I was inspired by the folklore surrounding a boomtown that used to exist about 30 minutes east of where I live. It has some super creepy history. 🙂

  2. I’m rebelling 🙂 . Edits and rewrites on my memoir, which I’ll publish in January. It’s already been to betas at 21K, and the extended version will probably be 30K. A bit short for a memoir, but I have no intention to pad it out with filler. Brain injury and work make 50K an unrealistic goal for me.


  3. I’m rebelling too, I’m not signing up for nanowrimo because I’m too busy to contemplate 50,000 words in November. I’ve been prepping my outline of a 30,000 word romance novella. I’m really excited to begin it tomorrow and will follow along with all the brave people who are doing the full thing, I salute you!

  4. Hi Bryn!

    I am doing NaNo for the eighth time this year! I love the community and the challenge of it, and after months of revising and then outlining I embrace the freedom to just write!
    My project this year is a complete rewrite of a story I wrote for NaNo 6 years ago, which was really scattered and full of info dumps. But I like the premise and have learned so much about writing since then I decided to give it another shot! It’s a YA about a nerdy teenage poet who might be the oracle her family of psychics has awaited for 3000 years, whether she wants to be or not. As Claire puts it, “I don’t want to be normal, I just want to choose my own weird.”
    Happy writing, everyone, and happy NaNo if you’re participating!

    1. Wow, Kimberly, the 8th time! I’m impressed. Not surprised, though — you seem pretty prolific 🙂 How great that you’re revisiting some material with a new perspective. I love that quote from Claire 🙂

  5. I’m tackling NaNoWriMo for the first time! The novel I’m working on is already 8,340 words, and I have no idea if I’ll be able to get to 50,000 with all that I have to cram into my domestic day, but no matter how many I have at the end of the month, it will be more than I have this morning. So there’s that.

    My novel, ‘Infinite Worlds’ is the sequel to ‘If It’s Easy’, a short story I released this summer.
    There’s an asteroid coming for us, and world leaders are scrambling to find humanity a new home. But when a secret expedition to another world fails to return, Devi Aradesta and Coriander Wolf are called in to rescue them. They’re making the jump with very little information, shady politics at every turn, a cartographer Cori doesn’t trust and a whole lot of questions.

    They didn’t expect to stumble across a community of people that had been waiting generations for their arrival.

    1. Yay, first time! That is such a good attitude, too — if it makes you get more done, it’s a win. You shared a little of this one before, I remember! Hope you have a great writing month, Carolyn.

  6. I’m rebelling as well by promising myself to send out eight query letters a week for my novel, The Fire Slayers. There’s 5 weeks in November and, who knows…maybe one of those 40 letters will be magic.

  7. I am 40K into a novel. The goal for NaNo – finish it. I wanted to start NaNo with some momentum, last year I started with a vague idea and didn’t get much further than that! I love the idea of focusing on completion and not perfection. In prior attempts to write, I focused too much on quality and found my work sorely lacking. Discouragement lead to abandonment. This attempt has been so much easier, because I am totally fine with it being terrible! I just want to write a novel.

    PS I love your blog

  8. I am doing NaNoWriMo for the first time. I’ve had the book idea for quite some time and wrote another manuscript (80,000) while letting this one percolate in the back of my mind. Ever have an idea that you think is bigger than you are? That’s my issue. That’s why I wrote another book for the practice hoping I ‘d get better for this story.

    Well, I spent the weekend rereading all the tips I’ll collected on plots, scenes, dialog, avoiding head hopping (Great reminder!). I have done a good deal of research on my topic as well. It is about nasty doings in the workplace. All I can do is write the first draft and hope I get in the zone.

    Best of luck to everyone.

    1. Hi Maryanne! I was having lunch with the author Carrie Vaughn the other month, and she was talking about that exact same thing — having a story that was almost too big. It sounds like you’re ready, though! Hope you enjoy your first NaNo!

  9. Since its October 31st I’m editing a thriller/scary story I wrote 4 years ago, based on a horrid property owner I was renting from during the time. I owned my home now so I don’t have to see that woman again or any other landlord or property owner. That experience motivated me to create my story.

  10. I used to say that I don’t believe in NaNoWriMo. I might still not believe in NaNoWriMo; but I believe in challenging myself, and this November I need it. I need to focus on something creative, literary, to achieve something and to measure my success. So it is well. I can write at least 1,667 words/ day for 30 days. I wouldn’t finish the novel, because I am not a person to write as concisely as 50,000 words/ novel. Mine are always much more.

    I will be writing a spin-off of the swashbuckling RPG story I am managing for 6 years+, using only my characters and the NPCs I have created. So, swashbuckling adventures at sea, but not following the plot of the site. Who would expect a pirate captain and a pirate hunter mercenary would become sworn brothers? Of course it is possible, but only in unique circumstances… which will start unfolding during November. 🙂 I have also the title – “The price of freedom”. Pirates consider them free at sea because they have no allegiance. But this freedom has a price of blood…

    I have planned writing this novel for a long time; I need NaNoWriMo’s kick-off in order to actually start doing it. And once started… I always finish what I start.

    I also need the support group. I have always looked for a group of similarly-minded people. I am glad that I attended the first meeting and that we had found each other, with questions, answers and resource sharing.

    1. Tabletop RPG? I’m curious. I DM for a group and am taking here-and-there tidbits for inspiration with my player’s permission.

      1. Not tabletop – interactive writing on a forum. Click on my name to see the link to it. And I won’t take the site’s plot or the others’ characters, only mine 🙂 Writing, in a way, what could have been if everything went how I had thought initially…

    2. Hi Elena! Yeah, 50K is very short for a novel, barely more than a novella. I do think it’s great to have the support with NaNoWriMo, like you said. I hope you share some of it on WIP Wednesday down the line… because this part especially: “Who would expect a pirate captain and a pirate hunter mercenary would become sworn brothers?” made me really want to read it!

  11. Nice post, Bryn. I look forward to reading more of A Knight Restored. This weekend I was focused on preparing for N7 Day–November 7th is a big annual celebration for fans of the Mass Effect video games, and we get a new trailer this year!–and I’d forgotten about NaNoWriMo! Your post inspired me to paint up a photo to use as a backdrop for NaNoWriMo posts this month.

    Today’s post, “Three simple things you can do today so you’re ready to write tomorrow,” includes links to two of your posts.

    See you in two days for WIP Wednesday!

  12. This will be my first year at attempting NaNoWriMo and I’m really excited to be doing so. I’ve been working on multiple novels for years, but I’ve been running on steam for quite some time. I’ve decided to start from scratch (not abandoning old projects by any means, but definitely give them a rest for a bit). I’ve spent the last week getting the first third of the story into a VERY ROUGH outline so i have at least some kind of a frame to work with .I’ve also connived two friends to at least do what we’re calling a “Mini-NaNo”–that is, 25k words as their goal. Which is still pretty good for the either of them, who don’t have a whole lot of time to write right now.

    Anywho, since others are giving their basic synopsis, here’s mine (i still haven’t worked everything out though):
    A typical Faustian-type story; a deal with the devil, if you will. In a fantasy setting, an early-retired sorcerer is trying to live a simple life on a farm when strange things begin to happen over the town. Glowing plantoids are slowly growing over everything, taking over crops, killing animals and eventually people, even finally spreading disease. He goes into the woods to find the spirit of a long dead sorcerer to seek help. But knowledge comes at a price.

  13. Here’s the synopsis of what I’ll be writing for NaNo – along with any ghostwriting I’ll be working on. 🙂
    (Quick Note: this is a Christian Romance)

    “Brandy only wanted one thing. Make that two things. She wanted to be married to the man of her dreams, and she wanted a baby or three. The only problem was finding this elusive man. Her mother kept telling her to trust in the Lord to bring him into her life, but she was never one to believe in all that stuff. If she couldn’t find this man on her own, she’d have to settle for second-best – namely Lester. He was the geeky, creepy boy next door who’d had a crush on her since they were babies, or so it seemed. He’d even moved into the apartment next to hers. And worst of all he was a Jesus freak, just like her mother.

    Josh trusted the Lord to lead him to the woman He’d chosen. Being born into a family that didn’t believe in anything other than the material world, as a young teen he’d been introduced to Christian beliefs by a friend. He found the comfort, love, and peace he knew he needed but didn’t get from his family. But this girl named Myrna had her sights on him. He didn’t dislike her, but she seemed to like him more than he was comfortable with. Not to mention that he knew she wasn’t the one for him.

    When Josh and Brandy meet, it’s almost magical, and they date heavily. But now the other two are getting jealous. Lester and Myrna each try to sabotage the dates – until they have a chance meeting at one of the planned disruptions. That’s when they realize they were meant for each other.”

    I probably won’t get 50k of this done by the end of the month, but if I include my ghostwriting I should be able to reach or exceed the goal for the 6th year in a row – and this is my 6th year of doing NaNo. 🙂

    1. Hi Robin! It sounds like you know exactly what you’re doing with this story. At first I thought you were going to do 50K on it plus the ghostwriting, and I was worried about you! But if you’re using them both for the total word count, you ought to be able to sleep once in a while. 🙂

  14. Wherever NaNo takes you, Bryn, happy writing. I have so many ideas, I couldn’t choose just one. Whenever I did, some other idea would pop up. So now, I’m just going to write whatever come to mind without any one story being dominant. That includes a bunch of writing prompts. NaNo has already started for me so back to it I go.

  15. I wasn’t going to take part this year, I have so many irons in the fire I’m practically burning myself on a daily basis. But, I decided to do it and like you, I’m using it to finish a novel outside of the series I’d already started. 🙂 I will consider myself a NaNo winner if I complete it. I’m way behind on a self-imposed deadline. This sucker should’ve been completed by Oct 1st!

    It’s called “The One You Want” (working title, but I’ll probably stick with it). Synopsis: Air Force veteran Malone Castellano returns home after a tragic deployment to find her childhood love engaged. She may not love Jonah Stratton anymore, but he was her safe place. If she doesn’t stop the wedding, she risks losing the peace she desperately wants. If only Jonah’s sexy older brother would get out of her way.

    It’s Elijah’s duty to protect his family. He failed once before, but he won’t let Malone ruin his brother’s happiness. When keeping her away means holding her close, Elijah is forced to confront secrets from his own past, including his true feelings for Malone.

    Is Malone strong enough to let Jonah go? Or will her desperation blind her to the truth in front of her…sometimes the one you want isn’t the one you need.

    1. Cate, this made me smile: “I have so many irons in the fire I’m practically burning myself on a daily basis.” This sounds really good! You and I will feel so good when we finish these drafts, I bet!

  16. I’m not doing NaNo this year, but I will be working on some short stories I’ve been meaning to finish. I have snippets of three stories saved on my laptop, on my phone, or in my notebook. It’s a jumbled mess. I need to get it together.

    1. Hi, George! Oh geez, I know how that goes… having bits of a story in different places! And I find myself rummaging through notebooks, trying to find the right one! This sounds like a great project for this month!

  17. I’m writing a thriller: Selectively bred assassin is sent after a rogue. One problem: the rogue taught her everything she knows about being an assassin; the rogue is her mother.

  18. This will be my second attempt at NaNoWriMo. I am working on a romantic suspense with a working title of “Man Eaters”. I got the idea while watching an episode of CSI: Miami and eating pork skins. I would love to reach the 50K word count, but if I don’t, that’s alright.

  19. I’ve won it twice. But I don’t like the idea anymore. There are too many negative associations with it: My ex-fiancé forced me to do it the first time, and my ex-best-friend has attempted to do it more than once. I want to forget HIM, and I don’t want to be wherever SHE is.

    Besides, I specialize primarily in Doctor Who fanfiction. The highest wordcount I’ve ever been able to complete on a single project for the genre is in excess of nineteen thousand words. I’d LIKE to eventually tackle a full fifty thousand, but I don’t need NaNoWriMo for it, even though I do my best work when a deadline’s breathing down my neck.

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