The month of November begins in seventeen days, with it bringing shorter daylight hours, colder temperatures, the promise of turkey and pumpkin pie, and of course, football. More important and potentially life-changing than all of these things, however, is National Novel Writing Month. Nanowrimo, as it is affectionately known, pits an author against the ultimate deadline; write 50,000 words in thirty days and call yourself an author.
The protagonist of Scott Westerfeld’s new book Afterworlds is a Nanowrimo “winner.” Though the advance she receives for her book is enough to pay for college, she instead travels to New York City to complete her second novel and take the literary world by storm. One part contemporary realistic fiction, one part fantasy horror, and two parts meta-aware young adult novel, Afterworlds is a fun romp through the possibilities inherent in being an aspiring writer. Though I wouldn’t suggest dropping out of college to write YA, I do think you should read Afterworlds and use it to fuel your creative longings.
If you needed still more proof to sign up (which you shouldn’t), here is a list of my favorite novels produced during one (or more) Nanowrimo. Read, and be inspired.
- The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. This caramel confection of a novel spent seven weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and won an Alex Award from the American Library Association in 2012.
- Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. If you loved Eleanor and Park (or Harry Potter!) this book should be next on your list. Similar to Afterworlds, Rowell melds clever meta-aware fan fiction into her story that straddles the line into the emerging New Adult genre.
- Losing Faith by Denise Jaden. At times a meditation on grief, at times a harrowing story of suspense, Jaden’s novel tells the story of protagonist Brie’s search for answers when her sister, Faith, falls to her death.
- Olivia Bean, Trivia Queen by Donna Gephart. Olivia Bean heads to Hollywood to be on Jeopardy! Never trivial, readers will cheer for Olivia as she navigates not just her obsession with facts, but with growing up as well. You might also want to check out Gephart’s Death by Toilet Paper.
- Wool by Hugh Howey. For those who need their apocalyptic dystopian fix, Howey gives you humanity forced underground, away from the dangerously toxic land above. One person dares break the most important rule; he asks to go outside.
I understand if you want to read these books in December. November is for writing. Join me and sign up now!