NaNo - not - Nanu,Nanu

If you’ve come across the term, NaNoWriMo, anywhere, and wondered what it was all about, let me clear something up first: it has nothing to do with Robin Williams chanting Nanu, Nanu, in the sitcom, Mork & Mindy. NaNo, is actually about – writing.

In fact, NaNo is about writing a 50,000 word, first draft of a novel, in the month of November (1st November – 30th November). And that is – every November. If you want to challenge yourself in creative writing, get inspired to write, or even just want to inspire others, you can’t go past, NaNo – short for NaNoWriMo, which is the actual shortened version of National Novel Writing Month, pronounced – na-noh-ry-moh.

National Novel Writing Month, was started by freelance writer, Chris Baty, in July 1999, with 21 other writers in the San Francisco Bay area. It was moved to November in 2000, and an official website was launched. That year, there were 140 participates, some from other countries. By 2010, there were over 200,000 world-wide participants, and a total of over 2.8 billion words written.

The basic idea of NaNoWriMo is to focus on completion rather than perfection; the length of the writing rather than the quality. In this way, writers are encouraged to finish their first draft, for later editing. Interested writers register at the website and complete their profile and information about the novel they will be writing. Word counts are validated on the site.

The rules are very straightforward: Novels can be of any genre of fiction and in any language. Novels can be started from 12.00 am on November 1st and are to reach a minimum of 50,000 words before 11:59 and 59 seconds, by November 30th, local time. It is FREE to participate and registration is only required for novel verification.

I registered with NaNo last year (2014) and completely surprised myself by writing over 50,000 words by November 14th.  But, as my novel was still not completed, I continued writing and ended up with a word count of over 60,000 words, by November 20th.  

By completing 50,000 words by November 30th, a participant is deemed a - Winner! I was thrilled to have completed the first draft of my second novel, Grace: Book 2 The Dreaming Series, so that in itself was all I had hoped to achieve, at the beginning of November. However, like all winners, I was also given some winner goodies (freebies) plus a certificate to hang on my wall. Needles to say, I'm looking forward to NaNo this year, which will inspire me to complete the first draft of my third novel, Barons Reach, the final of three books called - The Dreaming Series.

Of course, there are participants who do not complete 50,000 words by November 30th, but any amount of writing should be praised. Would participants have written those words otherwise? And who knows, perhaps those few words may one day be the first words of a best-seller? Any amount of writing should make a participant feel they have been successful.

I’m sure Robin Williams (RIP), one of the most creative people ever, would endorse NaNoWriMo for the amazing amount of creativity that results from the pens of writers all around the world. I'm glad I think of him when I hear the phrase - NaNo. After all, although an entertainer and not a writer, he was an inspiration for his passion and dedication to his craft - and that's what NaNoWriMo is all about.

NaNoWriMo - official website:  http://nanowrimo.org/

All the best...:-)

© Copyright Jan Reid-Lennox. All Rights Reserved.

When Fiction Words Count

Readers generally refer to the number of pages in a novel. On the other hand, with authors and publishers, it’s the number of words. The word count is important to the author and publisher because it defines the fiction structure and type.

There are many variations concerning the correct number of words for each type of fiction, because there are no set rules. The following are parameters given by the SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America), Joan Rosier-Jones (author / teacher), and Lee Masterson (freelance writer and editor).

Fiction - Type & Words

SFWA (Nebula Award criteria):-

Short Story: under 7,500
Novelette: 7,500 -17,500
Novella: 17,500 – 40,000
Novel: over 40,000

Joan Rosier-Jones (So You Want To Write):-

Novella: 20,000 - 30,000
Slim Novel: 50,000
Average Novel Length: 65,000 – 90,000
Long Novel: 90,000 – 150,000
Blockbuster or Fantasy Novel: 150,000 – 300,000

Lee Masterson (Fiction Factor):-

Micro Fiction: up to 100
Flash Fiction: 100 – 1,000
Short Story: 1,000 – 7,500
Novelette: 7,500 – 20,000
Novella: 20,000 – 50,000
Novel: 50,000 – 110,000
Epics and Sequels: over 110,000

As you can see from the varying numbers above, there are really only guidelines as to how long a fiction piece should be.

Genre also has a bearing on word count estimations, some of which are much more uniform, such as Young-Adult (20,000 – 40,000). However, those numbers equate to the number of words for a Novella in Main-Stream fiction. Many genres are also now requiring higher word counts, such as Mystery and Science Fiction: once 60,000 – 70,000, now 90,000 at the higher end.

My advice is to just write until it ends naturally, and submit according to a particular entity’s requirements.

All the best…J

© Copyright Jan Reid-Lennox. All Rights Reserved.