NaNoWriMo Basics to Kick Start Your Novel

It’s here. It’s time.

Stretch out those typing fingers, sharpen your pencils, and hook up the caffeine IV. 

It’s NaNoWriMo!

NaNoWriMo, to the uninitiated, is National Novel Writing Month.  Writers dedicate the month of November to starting and finishing a first draft of a novel. It doesn’t have to be amazing, it doesn’t have to be edited, it just has to be written! Sounds insane, right? Maybe so, until you check out one of these big name books that started as a NaNoWriMo project:

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

CinderScarlet, and Cress by Marissa Meyer

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (now a movie!)

Fort Collins has its own thriving NaNoWriMo community, and we are lucky enough to host them at the Old Town Library for Sunday events throughout November. Come to the launch party on Sunday, November 6 starting at noon, and come back for write-ins every Sunday after that. These aren’t just write-ins though; each week has different challenges and inspirations to help keep you going, as well as caffeine provided by Everyday Joe’s Coffee House (trust me, you’ll need it).

Andi Justice, a seven-time NaNoWriMo participant offers up her advice for anyone interested in joining the fun, “My advice to anyone who wants to participate in NaNo is to just have fun.  Don’t worry too much about your word count or stress out if you’re behind.  Just do it because you want to write a book.  NaNo is an incredible experience and I would recommend it to anyone who has ever wanted to write a book.”

writing-work-groupAnother long-time participant is Sam Scheuerman. He recommends participants come in with an idea or plan for their story, turn their spell check off, and above else, have fun! “It’s an incredible group of creative individuals who are willing to join together in a common challenge and support one another along the way. They’re the ones who make it a fun, creative, and exciting month long event.”

Now that you’ve decided to join fellow writers, your library is here to help you get your novel done.  Check out some of the great titles we have available on the craft of writing:

Bird by bird: Some instructions on writing and life by Anne Lamott

Fast fiction: A guide to outlining and writing a first draft novel in thirty days by Denise Jaden

No plot? No Problem! A low-stress, high-velocity guide to writing a novel in 30 days by Chris Baty

On Writing: A memoir of the craft by Stephen King

Plot versus character: a balanced approach to writing great fiction by Jeff Gerke

Story trumps structure: How to write unforgettable fiction by breaking the rules by Steven James

That’s just a small sampling of the titles the library has to help you get through NaNoWriMo.  Whether you’re writing historical fictionthe next big mystery, or your own comic book, we have something for you.  A few other searches to try:

Authorship—Handbooks, Manuals, etc.

Creative Writing



Good luck!  We can’t wait to see your own wildly successful NaNoWriMo book on our shelves someday!