Spectacular #NaNoWriMo Success Stories

nanowrimocrestCompleting 50,000 words in 30 days is a major achievement, one that hundreds of thousands of NaNoWriMo participants have set as their November goal for the past seventeen years. While the end result will be part unreadable, part unfinished, and more than likely, error-ridden, the process often continues well beyond November. Many published books–including some very successful ones–started off as NaNoWriMo projects.

Here are four spectacular success stories:

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Sara Gruen devoted two separate NaNos to writing Water for Elephants and then sold her work to Algonquin Publishers for $55,000. In 2007, the book topped the New York Times Best Seller list and hit the big screen with Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson in 2011.

Erin Morgenstern began writing The Night Circus in November of 2004. That first year, Erin ended up with 50,000 words of unconnected scenes and imagery. She then spent the next two NaNos adding to the story. In 2008, she took the 100,000+ words and formed them into an actual plot. She didn’t have a workable draft until 2009. In 2011, she received a six-figure deal from Knopf Doubleday Publishers. The movie rights were snapped up by the producers of the Harry Potter films.

Rainbow Rowell had already published two novels when she sat down to write Fangirl during NaNo 2011. While writing, she moved away from her usual pattern of rewriting the previous day’s work and kept moving forward. She considers the book her “bravest writing”…New York Times agreed and designated Fangirl a 2013 Notable Children’s Book.

Hugh Howey wrote three of the novellas that later made up Wool in November 2011. When he self-published the book, he sold 1000 copies the first month. After selling tens of thousands of ebooks directly to readers, he signed a six-figure deal with a major publisher. The movie rights have been purchased by 20th Century Fox.

ONWARD ♦ AVANTI ♦ EN AVANT ♦ WEITER ♦ ADELANTE ♦ AVANTE


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Starting #NaNoWriMo

nanowrimoparticpant2Never say never.

For years, I’ve been shaking my head whenever the topic of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) came up. I couldn’t fathom the idea of writing 50,000 words in one month.

Madness…undue stress…why on earth would I subject myself to that kind of torture?

In a podcast with Stephen Campbell, I listed several reasons for not participating and assured him I would take my time writing any future novels.

All that changed when I started imagining the plot for A Different Kind of Reunion, Book 3 in the Gilda Greco Mystery Series. Determined to release the book within a year of Book 2, I knew I had to change my m.o. If I continued to work at my present speed, it would take at least two years to write, edit, and release the novel.

Continue reading on the Sisterhood of Suspense blog.


Kick-Off Party for Guelph NaNoWriMo

In July of this year, author Cindy Carroll lobbied to have a NaNoWriMo group in Guelph. In the past, writers had to join groups in nearby Kitchener, Hamilton, or Toronto. Not too far, but still far enough for those of us who do not like to spend hours commuting on major highways. Thanks to Cindy’s persistence and willingness to take on the M.L. role (Municipal Liaison), we now have a local group with 70+ members. Find out more about Guelph NaNoWriMo here.

Earlier today, fourteen of us gathered at Symposium Restaurant for the Kick-Off Party. We shared our NaNoWriMo handles, plans for the month, and other shop talk. A diverse group, we write in several genres, among them mystery, romance, urban fantasy, memoir, and inspirational literature.

Alpha Order - Maame Apenteng, Francis Bake, Cindy Carroll, Sarah Jean Devries, Amy Donkers, Jess Frey, A. Pearl Graham, Joanne Guidoccio, Kathleen Herbinson, Jo Kasunic, Pamela Simmonds, Michelle Summerfield, Tim Teece, Elizabeth Winfield

Alpha Order – Maame Apenteng, Francis Bake, Cindy Carroll, Sarah Jean Devries, Amy Donkers, Jess Frey, A. Pearl Graham, Joanne Guidoccio, Kathleen Herbinson, Jo Kasunic, Pamela Simmonds, Michelle Summerfield, Tim Teece, Elizabeth Winfield

ONWARD ♦ AVANTI ♦ EN AVANT ♦ WEITER ♦ ADELANTE ♦ AVANTE