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Friday, October 21, 2011

Write a Novel in November, Get Published in January

Posted by on Fri, Oct 21, 2011 at 8:05 AM

November is National Novel Writing Month, in which contestants write a 50,000-word novel over the thirty days of November. I've taken part six times, and I can't recommend it enough to aspiring writers: Nothing demystifies writing like pounding out 1,667 words every day for thirty straight days. One of the first questions people ask when I tell them about "competing" in NaNoWriMo is "what do you get if you win?" The answer, basically, is: Nothing. You win the right to say you wrote a novel in one month.

This year, though, there will be a prize. The good folks at University Book Store are hosting a competition for local NaNoWriMo winners: Just drop off or e-mail the novel you wrote for NaNoWriMo 2011 with University Book Store by December 2nd, and one winner will be chosen to be published by University Book Store Press. (What that means is that the winner will receive ten free copies of their book, their novel will be stocked on UBS shelves for at least three months, they'll take part in a special reading to celebrate the contest, and they'll get a $100 gift card. Two finalists will get $50 gift cards and will also take part in the post-contest reading.)

I'm one of the judges for this competition. I'm looking forward to reading your book. More information about the contest is right here.


Comments (9) RSS

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MacCrocodile 1
I've always been very tempted to do this, but November is one of my busiest months. Not that I'm making the time to write novels in other months. My point is, it's everyone's fault but mine that I don't write much any more.
Posted by MacCrocodile on October 21, 2011 at 8:11 AM · Report this
@1, not a lot of people here write in a way that suggests novel-length could be anything but pure torture for the reader (good morning, Paul), but you kinda do.
Posted by gloomy gus on October 21, 2011 at 8:18 AM · Report this
MacCrocodile 3
@2 - Thank you, but now I'm tempted to write a novel about KittenKoder and Will in Seattle. It'll be a love story about a girl who needs an unnamed surgery to be happy, and the man who knows the guy who invented that surgery and can tell you everything about it.

And then you'll have to read it!
Posted by MacCrocodile on October 21, 2011 at 8:25 AM · Report this
DrewCourt 4
I concur with the recommendation to participate, not because you'll write something good (you won't) but because I think writing a whole novel makes you a better reader. Even writing garbage makes you think about characters and plot in a really nuts and bolts way.

Also, it's not true that you get nothing when you finish. You get a PDF certificate. Mine is laminated and taped to my fridge.
Posted by DrewCourt on October 21, 2011 at 8:34 AM · Report this
heywhatsit!? 5
@3 I will gladly write you a grant to help get that sucker off the ground. Be sure to cc Fnarf when you email it to UBS.
Posted by heywhatsit!? on October 21, 2011 at 8:52 AM · Report this
Irena 6
@3, I am strongly in support of all Slog-comment-based writing projects! An epistolary novel would be a scream, and would practically write itself. Is that cheating?

Here is a Slog comment poem I just wrote, based on this thread, to encourage you. It took under a minute:

I've always been very tempted
it's everyone's fault but mine
pure torture
the guy
can tell you everything about it
you get nothing when you finish
get that sucker off the ground
Posted by Irena on October 21, 2011 at 9:17 AM · Report this
MacCrocodile 7
@6 - I would certainly fictionalize most of the comments. It's only cheating if I copy and paste 50,000 words worth of Slog and call it my novel.

And now I have the format for this thing. Each chapter starts with a post written by the staff. What follows is comments, wherein the romance plays out. It'll be like Abelard and Eloise if they were barely literate.
Posted by MacCrocodile on October 21, 2011 at 9:28 AM · Report this
Helenka (also a Canuck) 8
It's a valid exercise in self-discipline via an outwardly-imposed source with bragging rights the customary prize, but are entrants into this particular contest really going to follow the rules that (I believe) state there be NO editing or polishing. It's all write-write-write and adhere to the word count. As it might have been once upon a time, written in longhand on a pad of paper.
Posted by Helenka (also a Canuck) on October 21, 2011 at 12:13 PM · Report this
I did this a few years back and it was an amazing exercise in pushing your creative limits. The book hasn't been published--I'm actually converting it into a graphic novel, which is its own challenge, what with the narrative vs. dialogue formats--but it was absolutely totally worthwhile.

I still remember the drink I poured myself when I hit the 50,000 word mark at some god aweful hour in the morning. Cheers!
Posted by poenoel on October 21, 2011 at 12:47 PM · Report this

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