NaNoWriMo: 6 things you need to know about the writing challenge

Flipping to the November page on your calendar means that it's time for NaNoWriMo again. Here's a primer on the challenge that's produced bestselling novels and made novelists of many.

3. What tools do the prospective authors have?


All writers who signs up for the program can use the website to track their own progress, create profiles, upload excerpts of their novels, and participate in discussions on the website's forums. Forum titles include "Rules, Regulations & Other Minutiae" for questions about the program; "Plot Doctoring" for authors to ask for help with writing snarls; "NaNoWriMo Ate My Soul" for writers who need to vent; and "This Is Going Better Than I Expected" for those experiencing the opposite feeling. Members can also search for a group of prospective writers completing the challenge in their area so they can meet compatriots in person. The program has recently started sponsoring the "Night of Writing Dangerously," a fundraiser for NaNoWriMo, held in San Francisco about halfway through the month. To attend, writers must raise at least $250 for the program. During the night, regular "word wars" are held to see who can write the most in a set period of time; whoever does so gets to wear a special hat. Raffles are held, with sponsoring companies providing items to raffle off.

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