Novelists, seasoned and novice, write through November

National Novel Writing Month challenges participants to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days.

Some dream of escaping to a quiet cabin in the mountains to craft that novel they’ve always wanted. Others take one month to churn out 50,000 words and win NaNoWriMo.

November is National Novel Writing Month, run by a nonprofit of the same name, dedicated to the importance of stories. It’s also a time when mechanics, students, baristas, teachers and average Joes alike become novelists. The month-long event invites participants to write a novel on any topic, in any genre between Nov. 1 and Nov. 30.

The NaNoWriMo website is akin to gathering in Gertrude Stein’s salon in 1920s Paris. Writers sign up to meet other writers in their region, find inspiration and motivation. Reach 50,000 words by the end of the month and you “win.” The prize? It’s the satisfaction that a story’s been done and the camaraderie between writers (and on some occasions, a pitch to an agent that becomes a published novel).

NaNoWriMo started in 1999 with 21 participants and has grown to more than 340,000 in 2012 across the nation. But only a small percentage of participants win. So this November, the Journal-World is writing about NaNoWriMo: How does it work? What kind of people participate? What does it take? Does it get easier? What are the different strategies for doing so much writing? Where do stories come from?

As the month unfolds, so will this story. Visit