Committing to NaNoWriMo

As far back as I can remember, I have loved to write.  I have old Lisa Frank notebooks filled with scribbles from before I started Kindergarten and even learned the most basics of writing. I loved the idea of having a book filled with my words (even if they were illegible).

I have always been a storyteller and my dream is to even maybe perhaps ond day make a living off of it.

But until such a thing comes to pass – that’s why I went into the Pharma industry: I wanted good benefits and a lifestyle that allowed me the luxury of coming home at night and working on my passion without the concerns of money.

But I digress….

Since I was about 13, I started writing a novel.  My obsessions at the time were Star Wars and Sailor Moon (still are, by the way).  I wanted to have a similar adventure like Luke Skywalker but with the powers of Sailor Jupiter (lightning), but the lead had to be female (because frankly there aren’t enough female heroes out there).  So I started writing.

I finished a draft by the time I was 18, had it edited by a friend, and sent it around to several publishing houses and got rejected.  In college, I tried a new rewrite.  It took me almost another decade to finish THAT one.  I sent it around to a few beta readers, got amazing feedback, but it also meant another overhaul.  Not quite a full rewrite, but enough to take me a while.

Fast forward until today.  Book 1 is done and I am finishing it up before sending it out once again to a new set of Beta readers.  I started working on the outline for Book 2 when it dawned on me: I could get a good start on Book 2 with NaNoWriMo.

What the hell is NaNoWriMo?


NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month.  It started in 1999 as a writing group exercise and has since ballooned until it has become a big deal.  Literally any American who even does a little dabbling in writing is aware of NaNoWriMo.

The premise: 50,000 words in 30 days. It is technically a competition, but you are really just competing with yourself.

When I said that this would be a good “start” for my book 2, I meant it.  My first novel has ranged between 100,000 and 120,000 words, so 50,000 is my projected half-way point.

But how much is word count in terms of books?

Here are some popular Young Adult books (since that’s the genre I am aiming for) with their word counts:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: 76,944

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: 198,227

Alanna: The First Adventure: 49,061

Twilight: 118,501

Hunger Games: 99,838

The Golden Compass: 112,815

The Hobbit: 95,022

The Fellowship of the Ring: 95,022

War and Peace: 561,304

Storm of Swords (from G. R. R. Martin of Game of Thrones): 424,000

I added those last two just because HOLY SHIT THOSE ARE LONG!!!!

They recommend for starting (unpublished) writers that for normal young adult fiction work, the word count should be in the range of 50k to 70k.  But for sci/fi and fantasy writers (simply to account for world building) – the range is 90k to about 120k.

Once you’re established, you can bend the rules like GRRM or perhaps Tolstoy.  Anyway…


For this next month, my goal will be to have a complete outline for book 2 done before the beginning of NaNoWriMo (don’t worry, I don’t follow it verbatim; however, it is a great guide to know where the hell I am going or at least some bit of direction), as well as maybe book 1 ready for Betas.

Exciting time, no?!

Anyway, have you ever tried NaNoWriMo? If so, what were your experiences? If not, would you also be interested in doing it?

If so, check it out!

Bis nächste Woche!

One thought on “Committing to NaNoWriMo

  1. The one dream I have left from my youth is to write a novel – so this is another thing we have in common! All my starts back then involved horses or collies. I write books like I read them – several at a time. Not the best method, I’ll admit. Good luck! I’ll come to a book signing! 🙂

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