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The idea behind National Novel Writing Month is that many of us have at least one book inside of us, but we're too lazy to spend the time to write it, or simply get overcome by the scope of it all -- so it ultimately never materializes. Nanowrimo challenges that, by encouraging participants to throw caution to the wind and write without revising, without obsessing over what they're writing, but to just get the words out. (There'll be plenty of time to edit it after the month is up.)
"No Plot, No Problem" is their slogan.
The Nano website has a list of published National Novel Writing Month Novels.
Even though it is called "National" Novel Writing Month, entries are accepted from countries other than the U.S.A and in languages other than English.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: When pressed for wordcounts, some authors insert their personal thoughts into the story, directly addressing the audience or characters as a writer. It quickly becomes Hilarious in Hindsight.
- Chandler's Law: "If all else fails, have a band of ninjas attack somebody" is official advice for writers at a loss for material to further their novel's word count.
- Cosmetic Award - The first and foremost prize for completing Nanowrimo is ... the mere satisfaction of completing one's novel. And a purple wordcount meter.
- Some of Nanowrimo's sponsors, on the other hand, offer slightly more tangible prizes for winning, such as CreateSpace offering to print up to five free copies of the winner's manuscript, and Scrivener offering a 50% discount off their software's purchase price.
- Determinator - anyone who actually finishes a novel. Writing 1,667 words a day may not seem very hard, but doing it every day, for a whole month takes dedication!
- Dissimile and Metaphorgotten - Two of the ways that Nanoisms can manifest in a novel.
- Filk Song - Complete list.
- I Just Write the Thing: A common discussion topic on the forums.
- In Joke - Many, including the terms "nanoism" (bloopers that occur while writing) and "persimmons" ("permissions" to reproduce Nanoisms in print)
- Instant Awesome, Just Add Ninja: Make a band of ninjas attack somebody during a novel; you should at least be able to get a few hundreds words out of characters wondering "seriously? Ninjas?"
- It's the Journey That Counts
- It's for a Book - The official website has not one, but two forum sections dedicated to this purpose, one of them less serious than the other.
- Knight Templar - Knights of NaNoWriMo
- Not Cheating Unless You Get Caught: ...actually, no one really cares if you do, either. There is even a forum just for "Nano Rebels". In a sense, NaNoers are actively encouraged to "cheat" by artificially inflating their wordcounts--No Plot? No Problem, the semi-official handbook by Chris Baty, NaNoWriMo's creator, offers several tips on how to do this.
- You're supposed to start a new novel on November 1st, but some people continue working on the same novel (not a sequel) as the previous year(s).
- Writing nonfiction, a collection of short stories, a memoir, or a script (they have another event for that last one).
- Portmantitle - the official nickname NaNoWriMo falls somewhere between "portmanteau" and "acronym".
- Post Count - Some of the best-known NaNoWriMo forumgoers are the ones with the highest post counts. The NaNoWriMo forum has an entire subforum devoted to procrastination, which is filled with games and conversation threads. Some users use these threads simply to increase their post counts.
- Self-Deprecation - Participants tend to frequently criticise their own novel's plot, characters, and (especially) blunders -- but mostly in good humor; blunders in particular are lovingly christened "Nanoisms" (allegedly a portmanteau of "Nanowrimo" and "aneurysm").
- Self-Imposed Challenge - Some users set a personal goal of a "Double Nano" (100,000 words in 30 days!) or more -- 200,000? 500,000? Yup. There are even a few who have challenged one million words in 30 days. And still succeeded.
- There's also a Dares thread in just about every genre forum, where users think up crazy stunts for other users to insert into their novels.
- Sturgeon's Law - First-time participants are advised that at least 45,000 words of their novel (if not all 50,000) will be "utter crap", and to learn to love it anyway.
- The Insomniac - Most NaNoers become this pretty quickly!
- Thread Hopping - When the quick reply method was still around, some users would just read the first post, scroll to the quick reply section of the page, and reply without reading any of the other responses, especially for threads of the "share with the group" nature.
- Thread Necromancy - One famous thread on the procrastination forum is Thread Killer, in which users attempt to make the last post in the thread. Of course, the next poster unkills the thread, and users will go on for scores of posts creatively attempting to kill the thread.
- Troperiffic - your mileage may vary, the novels may simply be Trope Overdosed
- Tropes Will Ruin Your Life - and your wordcount, too. Seriously, try writing 1667 words a day when you're already spending two hours here wondering what, exactly, makes trope X take form Y in scene Z.
- The Wiki Rule - The (unofficial) WikiWrimo wiki
- Writing by the Seat of Your Pants - "no plot, no problem" is the semi-official motto.
Examples of tropes exhibited by NaNoToons (a comic about NaNoWriMo hosted on the website):
- Dumb Blonde - Bea and Carol.
Jen: Haven't you always wanted to write a book?
Carol: Not in a month.
Bea: Not while I'm single.
- She Is Not My Girlfriend: Victoria says this about her fellow ML Andrew, and even her real boyfriend Dave makes fun her for it.
- Humanity Is Insane - At least the part that is devoted to NaNoWriMo (which is all of the cast except Dave).
Dave: Are all NaNo people crazy?
- This only applies to the 2011 NaNoToons; in 2010 it's even given a Lampshade Hanging:
Jen: Rob & I have done it five years in a row & we're still sane. Aren't we, Rob?
Rob: I'm on a horse.
- I Resemble That Remark: Invoked, sort of used.
- Minimalist Cast - In 2010, only four characters are ever named: Dave, Rob, Jen and Victoria the ML.
- Missing Episode - A good deal of 2010 daily NaNoToons are hosted only on the Toronto NaNo website.
- Two Gamers on a Couch - Dave and Rob.