What good can possibly come from writing 50, 000 words in one month?
How can anything coherent or worthwhile come from the mind of someone who pumps out 50, 000 words?
How can those 50,000 words even make sense, be interesting and a compelling story? It’s really too much to ask. Or is it?
It’s impossible you say? I strongly disagree. I have faithfully used Nanowrimo as the month in which I dedicate myself to writing. I gear up for that month. I do all my reading, research, note taking, plot graphing, character designing ahead of time and then when that clock strikes midnight, unlike Cinderella who falls apart, my pumpkin with its footmen and driver all appear and we ride that magical fruit until the clock strikes midnight, ringing in December 1st. And blurry eyed and word-drained I slump in my chair satisfied. I have completed two drafts of two different novels because of Nanowrimo’s yearly challenge. Drafts. Not finely honed, precisely crafted, ready to publish novels. No. I have drafts that I then redraft and redraft and then redraft some more until I have them as good as I can possibly get them. Then I begin the process of sending them out, my sweet and precious children, out to the scary, sometimes unkind, world of Agents and Publishers. Praying I have equipped them well. Praying they find acceptance.
But, you say, this does not prove anything! This does not support the idea that something good comes from spewing out 50,000 words. (Hey! I argue my work is good, very good, in fact!) If a draft of a novel is not something good, then perhaps a novel written during Nanowrimo that was published would be. Below is a list of fourteen…yes! FOURTEEN novels that were birthed during the month of November as a result of the Nanowrimo challenge. FOURTEEN books deemed worthy and publishable, and readable, and enjoyable. So stick that in your Proof pipe and smoke it!
And who knows…there may be more coming soon. (Maybe even mine! Oh! Wouldn’t that be fantastic!)
1. THE NIGHT CIRCUS BY ERIN MORGENSTERN
She wrote it during two NaNos, but we’re not holding it against her. (I’m doing the same with my Historical Fantasy novel I have tentatively titled, “The Stone Curse”. I figure if it worked for her, maybe it will for me too!) The Night Circus spent seven weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and won an Alex Award from the American Library Association in 2012. A very good read!
2. THE BEAUTIFUL LAND BY ALAN AVERILL
From Amazon: “The Beautiful Land is part science fiction, part horror—and, at its core, a love story between a brilliant young computer genius and the fragile woman he has loved since high school. Now, he must bend time and space to save her life as the world around them descends into apocalyptic madness.”
3. WOOL BY HUGH HOWEY
From Barnes and Noble: “In a ruined and toxic landscape, a community exists in a giant silo underground, hundreds of stories deep. There, men and women live in a society full of regulations they believe are meant to protect them. Sheriff Holston, who has unwaveringly upheld the silo’s rules for years, unexpectedly breaks the greatest taboo of all: He asks to go outside.” Ridley Scott has expressed interest in directing the Wool movie, the rights to which have been purchased by 20th Century Fox.
4. THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH BY CARRIE RYAN
Another NYT bestseller, The Forest of Hands and Teeth is a young adult novel that takes place in a post-apocalyptic United States that is overrun with zombies. This is the first of a trilogy, and the film rights have been optioned by Seven Star Pictures.
5. DON’T LET ME GO BY J.H. TRIMBLE
From Publisher’s Weekly: “Nate and Adam are smalltown adolescents whose relationship is threatened when Adam moves to New York. Nate recalls the first moments of their romance and its development even as it’s threatened by the arrival of Luke, a closeted younger teen who’s attracted to Nate. Told frankly and honestly from Nate’s point of view, the novel explores issues like coming out, parental acceptance (and its lack), antigay violence, and the attitudes of faculty and fellow students, whose ranks provide both antagonists and allies. Layered with the gritty everyday details of teen existence, the book provides a convincingly clear window into the many perils and sometimes scant pleasures of life in high school while never feeling overly grim; it will be appreciated by adults and teens alike.”
6. FANGIRL BY RAINBOW ROWELL
The New York Times Book Review says that Rowell “specializes in young misfits charting their way in the world,” which must certainly be true in this young adult book about a fan fiction writer named Cath who is going away to college and is stunned when her twin sister refuses to be her roommate.
7. PERSISTENCE OF MEMORY BY AMELIA ATWATER-RHODES
8. TAKE THE REINS BY JESSICA BURKHART
9. LIVVIE OWEN LIVED HERE BY SARAH DOOLEY
10. LOSING FAITH BY DENISE JADEN
11. THE COMPOUND BY STEPHANIE STUVE-BODEEN
12. THE HUNGRY SEASON BY T. GREENWOOD
From Publisher’s Weekly: “Renowned novelist Sam Mason cannot conjure the words that used to come so easily to him before the death of his daughter: ‘the words are too thin, as fragile and brittle as bones.’ Sam can no longer connect, especially not with his wife, Mena, and begins to waste away. Hunger proves to be a powerful metaphor for the family’s loss and desires although means of emotional escape are predictable.”
13. OLIVIA BEAN, TRIVIA QUEEN BY DONNA GEPHART
14. THE GOD PATENT BY RANSOM STEPHENS