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National Novel Writing Month

We believe in ambitious acts of the imagination.

  • August 29, 2014 8:47 am

    At 3354 Adeline: Closing Another Chapter… Changed

    As Camp NaNoWriMo intern, Katharine Gripp inspired writers through leading Virtual Write-Ins, and encouraged student voices through Student Pep Talks. She says goodbye… and makes us tear up a little:

    (Interested in our fall internship? Check it out!)

    Saying goodbye, I’ve found, can be a little bit like writing a novel. All the basic elements are there: that awkward beginning when you search for those few elusive words that will lead the way into the heart of what you’re trying to say; the anxiety of putting those words together in a way that is both coherent and meaningful; and even, sometimes, those late nights lying awake after you’ve shared your carefully chosen words with someone else, wondering, ‘Did they really get it? Did I get across everything I wanted to say?’

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  • August 27, 2014 9:07 am

    Wrimos Around the World: Of Mountain Views, Historic Brothels, and Research

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    One of the best parts of NaNoWriMo? The incredible community of writers. Today, we spotlight Lindsay Lackey, who tackled historical fiction for the very first time: 

    I write from Colorado Springs, CO—the land of fast-food chains, road construction, and glorious, glorious mountains. It’s not ideal for foodies, maybe, but it’s a great place to live. I’ve seen a lot of growth in the city’s focus on celebrating the arts and on embracing our natural resources like mountains, trails, and open space. Plus, we have Pikes Peak Writers, which is an awesome group to be involved with!

    Where would someone most likely find you writing from?

    I write in all sorts of places. Lately I’ve been on a coffee shop fix, probably because it’s summer and the coffee shop near my house is part of an outdoor mall, which makes for fantastic people-watching…

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  • August 25, 2014 8:59 am

    At 3354 Adeline: This Isn’t Goodbye

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    Wendy Ung did many things during her time as a NaNoWriMo intern: she was a grammar wrangler, a YouTube star-in-the-making, and an all-around gem. We’re crushed to say goodbye:

    Like they say, all good things must come to an end. 

    This is the end of my internship at NaNoWriMo. 

    I’m actually at a loss of what I should say. I blame it on a mixture of disbelief and sadness. How do I even begin to say goodbye to the everyone and everything at NaNo HQ? I am incredibly grateful to the awesome staff for taking a chance on me and letting me experience the underbelly of a nonprofit. Working here honed necessary skills and taught me life lessons that will help me in all my future endeavors. 

    I introduced myself with a bullet point list, and I shall include it in my last post here. (It comes full circle.) What I will miss most about working at NaNoWriMo: 

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  • August 22, 2014 8:49 am

    At 3354 Adeline: Lauren, on Returning to NaNoWriMo & Risky, Rewarding Decisions

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    Lauren Harsma was one of our amazing interns in 2013, and has now returned as staff, with the distinguished title of Communications Captain. This means she navigates our rather talk-y ships. (Also, she talks to people.) Read on for a reintroduction:

    mi•rac•u•lous (/məˈrakyələs/), adjective: rife with miracles, patently unlikely, made possible by sheer luck.

    As you may remember from my introductory blog post oh-so-long-ago, I have a penchant for making terrible decisions, and those bad decisions have a tendency to transmogrify into brilliant experiences with few palpable consequences. Either I was born under a spectacular alignment of planets, or I’m just really good at disaster aversion.

    I don’t accept my fruitful life in ignorant bliss—I gather nuggets of experience and add them to my basket of worldview wisdom, which is starting to splinter and fray a bit around the edges from overuse. In the past eight months I quit my comfortable job to backpack across Europe, to brood in Dutch cafés and hunt snails on London sidewalks and speak impressively-pruned German (because who needs tenses or noun gender or basic vocabulary?). I’ve read 42 books and half-written three others. I’ve done some babysitting, some dog-sitting, some house-sitting, and lots of regular sitting. I’ve fallen in new love with unagi and in old love with my hometown in upstate New York.

    Oh, and I’ve returned to work at National Novel Writing Month…

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  • August 20, 2014 8:59 am

    Wrimos Around The World: Of Travels, Super Soldiers, and Being Critical

    One of the best parts of NaNoWriMo? The incredible community of writers. Today, we spotlight Jillian Boorman, a wanderer who settled in Kent, England:

    I have moved around quite a bit. I’m originally from Birmingham, Alabama, but from there I moved to Japan. Afterwards, I lived with my family in New Orleans, right in the heart of the French Quarter, then lived in Dublin, Ireland for a short stint, and now I currently live in my husband’s hometown of Whitstable, Kent, England. It’s a quaint but absolutely darling seaside town famous for its oysters (we even have an Oyster Festival that the Royal Family likes to attend during summer).

    It’s right outside of Canterbury, famous for the Canterbury Cathedral, which is an absolutely stunning sight and if it didn’t cost so much money to enter, that is where I would choose to write.

    I absolutely love to travel, and explore new cultures, languages, and food, so my husband and I have settled here so we can explore Europe and everything it has to offer without paying ridiculously expensive airfare!

    Where would someone most likely find you writing from?

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  • August 18, 2014 9:09 am

    The Evolution of Fanfiction, and Creating a Writers Group

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    LOOW is a group of Wool series writers, who are donating the lifetime profits of their Wool Gathering anthology to NaNoWriMo! We talk with them about their anthology and how they created a successful writing group.

    Has the group participated in NaNoWriMo? What have their experiences been like?

    Ann Christy: I have! Twice. And both times I completed something I really like. Neither of those projects have been published yet because other projects needed to be finished, but it was my first experience with purposefully writing a full book. I had no idea I could do it until I signed up for NaNoWriMo. It changed my life.

    Will Swardstrom: I had never even heard of NaNo before last summer and gave it a go last year. I successfully wrote 50,000 words in November 2013 towards my second novel, Dead Sight. It was a great experience and helped me to realize writing each and every day was essential to crafting a tight narrative. Also having the accountability was good for me.

    WJ Davies: I participated in NaNoWriMo in November of 2013, and this proved to be one of the most challenging tasks I’ve taken on as a writer. Over 1,600 words a day for 30 days?!? My non-writer friends told me thought I was crazy, but you know what? At the end of the day I had written a 50,000 word book in a month. I’m extremely happy with the book, and I don’t think I would have written it for years without the encouragement of the NaNo program. Whether you’re an experienced writer, or a newbie, I would highly recommend participating this coming November. You won’t regret it!

    What is LOOW? How did the group form?

    Ann: LOOW stands for League of Original Woolwrights at first, however it has since grown to mean much more. Occasionally, we call ourselves the League of Ostrich Wranglers, which is fun. Most of the LOOW are early fans of the WOOL series by Hugh Howey, (before mega-stardom), and all of us have written fiction set in that universe. Now, the LOOW is comprised of a tight group of authors who are super supportive of each other. It’s a safe group where we can ask each other the scary questions, or commiserate with each other when there are stumbles and, yes, celebrate the successes as well.

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  • August 15, 2014 8:47 am

    Young Writer Chronicles: Something Magical…

    Tomorrow’s stories start in all sorts of places: on the drive to work, or at the movie theater. One constant source of inspiration? The classrooms that tackle NaNoWriMo through our Young Writers Program. YWP educator Daniel Stone shares about the magical experience of writing a novel in the classroom:

    What made you want to use the Young Writers Program at your school?

    I did NaNoWriMo myself in 2009 and it was a great experience.  Then, I learned about the Young Writers Program, which sounded very scary but I figured it was worth a try.  That was in 2011.  It was such a big success with the students, the parents, and everyone around the school that I’ve done it three years in a row and am planning on continuing to do it in the future.

    Were there any obstacles to running the Young Writers Program?

    It’s not easy!  When the students and parents first learn about it, they are reluctant, which is an obstacle. This year I was at a new school, so my co-workers’ and students’ unfamiliarity with the program was a bit of an obstacle. There are a lot of holidays and off-days in November, which cuts down on time that students can work on their novels in class, and guidance that I can give them.

    Also, in October I became a father for the first time, which drastically cut down on the amount of free time that I had for planning and working on this project! But the positives of the program are so strong that they easily overcome any obstacles that I may run into.

    What surprised you about the program?

    Even though this was the third year that I have participated in this program, it always surprises me to see the amount of work that middle school students are willing to put into a writing project. I hosted a few after-school Write-In’s where I had 30 or more students decide to spend a couple of hours after school working on their stories.

    Students excitedly share pieces of their stories with each other, ask their friends for advice on where to take their stories next, and there is an incredible energy in the classroom that is all about writing and creativity.  It’s an amazing thing to experience.

    What was your favorite moment of running the YWP last year?

    There are so many stories and students and achievements that I could go on and on about, it’s hard to pick one! But the ones that always stand out to me are the ones that involve students who come to my class at the beginning of the year hating to write and strongly believing that they are unable to be successful at writing. But something “magical” happens during NaNoWriMo to change them. Maybe it’s the ability to write about any topic they want, or the way the prewriting activities break the task into manageable parts, or the final copies that they get to hold in their hands, or even the pressure from their friends who are also writing novels – but time after time, these students come to me after the process is over and give me an autographed copy of their novel with a smile on their face that shows me how proud they are to have accomplished such an amazing feat! 

    These students who get to experience success in a writing project for the first time in their lives and who now have an improved confidence in their own abilities for future assignments, they are the ones who make me very proud and who make me want to use the Young Writers Program in my classes every year!

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    Daniel Stone is an 8th grade Language Arts teacher in South Carolina.  He has successfully guided a few hundred students into becoming novelists over the past three years, as well as having written three Nano-novels himself.  When he’s not teaching or writing, he likes to watch movies, try new and interesting food, and relax by listening to music.  But most of his time lately has been spent with his wife, Christine, chasing after their 8-month-old son, Jacob.

    Photo by Flickr user Photomatt28.

  • August 13, 2014 8:50 am

    I Published My NaNo Novel! Mary Potter Kenyon on Researching Nonfiction & Building a Platform

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    Mary Potter Kenyon has been a participant of NaNoWriMo since 2011. She wrote and revised Coupon Crazy: The Science, the Savings, and the Stories Behind America’s Extreme Obsession during two Novembers:

    What was your experience like when you participated in NaNoWriMo? 

    The first year I participated was November 2011. I was teaching a writing class for a group of young homeschooled girls and had each of them sign up on NaNoWriMo’s Young Writers Program site. I figured if I was giving them the challenge of writing a book in the month of November, I should be willing to challenge myself to do the same thing.

    I was working on a non-fiction book at the time so I just used NaNoWriMo as an incentive to complete my rough draft. The next year I did the same thing, actually using NaNoWriMo as an incentive to revise and polish those same pages. I wouldn’t recommend it for revision, however, because the whole goal is to crank out a lot of words in one month, and the revision can come later. But I’d just signed a book contract in 2012 and needed to turn in a polished manuscript. 

    I set up a NaNoWriMo support group in 2012, and even though there were only three of us, we met at the library once a week to write. The support system was fantastic, and I’d love to do that again.

    What do you like about writing nonfiction? How do you approach a nonfiction project? 

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  • August 11, 2014 9:04 am

    NaNoWriMo at LeakyCon 2014: Celebrating Your True Self’s Voice

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    Unfamiliar with LeakyCon? Named for the Leaky Cauldron in Harry Potter, it is a fan convention that was initially created to celebrate all things Potter. Now five-years-old, it has expanded to include a multitude of fandoms: Doctor Who, Marvel and DC comics, superheroes, Downton Abbey, Supernatural—you get the picture. (The big announcement at the closing ceremonies: LeakyCon would go forward as a Harry Potter-only event, and GeekyCon would be launched as a new multi-fandom con!)

    Why was I there? Well, as the volunteer Municipal Liaison for NaNoWriMo in Vero Beach, Florida, I was asked to represent NaNoWriMo. After all, LeakyCon is a place where the coolest thing you can be is yourself—and what better way to celebrate that than to tell the stories inside you? NaNo had a booth on Charity Row in The Marketplace, and there were plenty of our stickers to be had. (I used photo corners to stick them to the backdrop—the blue made the stickers pop!)

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  • August 8, 2014 8:47 am

    Come Write In Anywhere! Rebecca, Alexandra, and Alex on Award-Winning Writing Groups

    In November 2013, our Come Write In program—which provides free posters, resources, and support to libraries, colleges, bookstores, and more—helped create creative-writing beacons in 650 neighborhoods. In the CWI spirit, Rebecca, Alexandra, and Alex launched a NaNoWriMo program at the Notre Dame of Maryland University. Find out how they did it:

    Getting Notre Dame of Maryland University involved in National Novel Writing Month started as a pipe dream. Organizing write-ins seemed daunting, especially for students who had barely been on campus two months. However, we thought why not give it a try anyway!

    A seminar room in the English department was available to us, albeit at hours slightly too early for your typical college student. Posters went up all around campus trying to boost our attendance. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 8am was our selected time for write-ins. We had support and attendance from professors and staff who were far more accustomed to getting up at a decent hour…

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  • August 6, 2014 8:45 am

    Wrimos Around the World: Of Bestselling Series, Nurturing Creativity, and Grim Reapers

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    Darynda Jones is author of the Charley Davidson series (the latest installment comes out this October!), and Darklight series. We talked about her support for the Young Writers Program and how she stays inspired to keep writing about part-time PI and full-time grim reaper Charley Davidson:

    You’ve participated in NaNoWriMo since 2005. What does NaNoWriMo bring to your writing process?

    I love the energy and enthusiasm that NaNoWriMo brings. It’s like static in the air, and I get excited every year to see if I can do it. I have this awesome goal without the pressure of an actual deadline, and for some reason that makes it more fun.

    Now when anyone talks about November, my mind immediately jumps to NaNoWriMo, and I can hardly wait!

    You’re a huge supporter of NaNoWriMo’s Young Writers Program, which supports educators, and helps students embrace creative writing in the classroom. Tell us why!

    Because it’s awesome! I love with all my heart helping other writers, especially kids who think in stories. There is nothing like the imagination of a child, and nurturing that creativity is crucial. All too often, well-meaning adults squelch that creativity. I should know. I was that kid who got in trouble for daydreaming in class. Repeatedly…

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  • August 1, 2014 12:09 pm

    A July 2014 Camp NaNoWriMo Wrap-Up

    To all the wonderful wordsmiths out there,

    Perhaps you woke up this morning and, like the past 31 days, your first thought was of your exciting, frustrating, sprawling, [insert applicable adjective here] Camp writing project. Then, in the midst of planning out the scenes you’re going to write today, you realized that July has ended, and with it this summer’s Camp session.

    Check out these final Camp tidbits, as well as some ideas to keep up your momentum as we wait for November to roll around.

    Camp NaNoWriMo

    • If you reached your word count goal, congratulations! You worked hard this month, and you deserve recognition for your amazing feat. Make sure to pick up your winner goodies under your “Camper Profile” tab.

    • If you didn’t reach your word count goal, you still deserve congratulations for all your hard work! You’re that much closer to finishing your project, and you can reward or inspire yourself by checking out some of our awesome sponsor offers.

    • Keep in mind that Cabins will close after August 4. If you want to keep any posts, etc., make sure to save them by then!

    Across NaNoLandia

    • If you haven’t had the chance to check out the NaNoWriMo store, now is the time: we’re having an epic T-shirt clearance sale! Many shirts are now available for $10 or less—order now to make sure your size is still in stock!

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