Think about your fandom for a moment; is it a television show? A comic book? An anime? Maybe it’s a whole genre. Chances are, storytelling is a major component of whatever you fangirl/fanboy/fanperson over.
Maybe you’ve thought about writing fanfiction about your fandom. The first thing I ever wrote was fanfiction for Dragon Ball Z (Goku had a sister – yikes), and then Harry Potter fanfiction with a protagonist that would fail ever Mary Sue Test on the internet today. But this article is not about fanfiction (although it could be – more on that later). This is about nerds inspired to put pen to paper and write something fandom-worthy themselves. This is about NaNoWriMo.
National Novel Writing Month is an international writing marathon that starts November 1. For thirty days, participants pledge write 50,000 words of a novel, about 1,667 words per day. In addition to sponsoring this writing frenzy, NaNoWriMo is also a 501(c)(3) nonprofit:
“We provide the structure, community, and encouragement to help people find their voices, achieve creative goals, and build new worlds—on and off the page.”
NaNoWriMo supports the Young Writers Program, a K-12 version of the adult marathon that provides free teaching materials to more than 8,000 classrooms worldwide. With over a thousand volunteers and 400,000+ global participants, this is a community of giving. That alone should attract someone who is looking for an accepting group of peers that also like to give back.
But NaNoWriMo is particularly great for nerds because they also allow fanfiction to be written as your novel for November. Got a murder-mystery plot set on The Starship Enterprise? Or an alternate universe of Harry Potter where everyone had cell phones? Or maybe you just want to write a version of Fifty Shades of Grey that’s actually good – NaNoWriMo will welcome you with open arms (they even have a fanfiction forum).
On the subject of the forums, there’s one for each genre you could possibly want. Fanfiction or not, nerds love a good fantasy, sci-fi, or horror story, right? If you have an idea that isn’t a fiction novel, never fear. There’s even a place for you.
Still on the fence? Here is a list of bestsellers you may not have known were written during NaNoWriMo:
- The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern
- Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen
- The Beautiful Land, Alan Averill
- Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell
- Wool, Hugh Howey
- Cinder/Scarlet/Cress, Marissa Meyer
Obviously, just writing 50,000 words does not mean you’re ready for a book signing. But like Louis L’amour once said: “The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”
Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? What is your story about?