I’m in the depths on NaNoWriMo right now. It’s quite the experience.
It may seem impossible.
But, there are some amazing novels out there that prove its power and success.
Below are four books that I’ve read in the last couple of years. Each of these books started out as a NaNoWriMo project. Of course, after that initial rush draft of 50,000 words in one month, they all went through lots of revising and editing.
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Fairytale retelling. Yes, please.
Cinderella as a cyborg. Cool.
A cyborg mechanic. Even better.
Crazy enough, Marissa has said that she wrote the first draft of Cinder in only two weeks. She wrote over 150,000 words in NaNoWriMo 2008. The first 70,000 was Cinder, draft one and the other 80,000 were the first drafts of the next two books in the Lunar Chronicles, Scarlet and Cress. Three books in a single NaNoWrimo! That’s insane! And super cool!
This was one of the first sci-fi books I actually enjoyed. Probably because it’s a fairytale retelling…but also because it’s just plain fun.
This was the first Rainbow Rowell book that I read. It inspired me. I fell in love with it. I identified with Cath in many ways. I’ve read this book a few times now, and I know I will read it again.
Cath and her twin sister are starting their first year of college. But after sharing a room and being best friends for their entire lives, her sister suddenly wants some space. Cath ends up in a different dorm with a random roommate. All this change is really, really hard and scary. So she focuses on her Simon Snow fan fiction…but that ends up getting her in trouble too.
Rainbow wrote Fangirl in her first NaNoWrimo. She used as a way to try and just push through and just get all her ideas on paper. It was a completely different writing experience for her. And because of this, Fangirl is a really special novel to her. Same here, Rainbow. Same here.
I read The Night Circus last year. I got it as part of my Broke and the Bookish Secret Santa package.
The Night Circus was a magical experience. It was completely new. The first few lines of the book are some of my favourites:
“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices plastered on lampposts and billboards. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.”
A mysterious circus. A competition between two illusionists.
The idea for The Night Circus came about during NaNoWriMo. The original drafts were written during two NaNos, and that the main character of the final book wasn’t actually in them. This gives me hope. Even if my first draft or two aren’t great, I can still revise and play around with the story. It will still, technically, be a NaNo novel.
Histoical fantasy. YES, PLEASE. A seriously BFF friendship. Diversity. Conmen. Gangsters. A mystery. Illegal magic.
This book has a lot going for it. It was different from anything else I’ve read. I really liked it. (Come back on Friday for my full review!).
Destiny decided to participate in NaNoWriMo to distract herself from the fact that her first manuscript wasn’t getting picked up. She ended up with a rough draft of Iron Cast.
So, there you have it. Four awesome novels, all originally drafted during National Novel Writing Month. They all took much more time than the month to polish and make ready for readers, but they were started during NaNo. Let this give us dreamers hope. One day, perhaps sooner than we might imagine, our novel baby will see the light of readers’ eyes.
Until then, happy NaNo-ing!