3 GENUINELY GOOD BOOKS WRITTEN DURING NANOWRIMO

Every fellow writer participating in National Novel Writing Month woke up this morning with probably the same mix of excitement and dread. Excitement, because we finally get to start writing on the novel we have been planning or thinking about for a while, and dread, because 50k words still seems very far removed from our empty pages at this point. Even the most confident writers out there have dealt with anxiety in at least a light form.

You may have planned your novel out carefully, but even then you may arrive at a certain point halfway through November where you are just not feeling it anymore. Should you start over? Is this idea even working? Is it even normal to hate your main character so much already at this point? Or, if you are a pantser, like me, you may arrive at a point halfway through November where you think ‘maybe I should have planned it out, because I have reached the end of what is now a short story - and should have been writing a full length 50000 word novel instead’.

 
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All of this is completely normal, and all you can do is make sure you motivate yourself to push through. Even if you write 10 short stories, even if you go back and edit a novel that you had written before - yes, even for true NaNoWriMo Rebels, the most important thing during this month is that you work on your writing. And you have probably figured out ways to make the next 30 days as comfortable as possible for yourself. You may have already mentally reserved a table at your favourite coffee place, where you will take you favourite thermos mug to drink your coffee or your hot chocolates. You may have gone to the store to stock up on leggings and socks so you can curl up in your improvised home-office and be as cosy as you can. You may have already told all your friends that you cannot make it to any social events in the next 30 days. And because you have probably done some of these things, all of these things, or your own things in order to prepare for November, I am not here to tell you how to get through the month in that sense. Instead, I am here to list 3 books that you probably have heard about at some point. How these books are going to help you? They were all written during the adventure you are about to embark on.

 

1. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

 
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You will notice, if you look it up, that the book description for this novel promises a lot of intrigue. Everyone that I have asked who has read this book says the plot is hard to summarise, but that any potential reader can expect to go on a magical ride once they open the book. Erin Morgenstern is praised for her skilled prose. Someone on Goodreads even gave this novel 6 stars out of 5! My advice? Order this book for when you get stuck, and even if you do not have time to read it during your own attempt to reach 50k words, look at it every time you feel like you are not going to make it. Or, read it alongside your own writing to get inspired by the magical atmosphere this book provides. I mean, a circus that only appears at night? I am always in for dark and fantastical inspiration, and this book just seems to provide it. Erin Morgenstern wrote it during the November month, and perhaps, if you use Erin’s tips, the next bestseller will be yours. Do not forget to send Erin a thank-you card!

 

2. Wool by Hugh Howey

 
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It’s a thriller. It’s post-apocalyptic. Its setup reminds me of The 100, with its total thrilling and claustrophobic atmosphere, but it’s better. This book is interesting to fellow writers that come out of their shells to get a novel on paper this month not only because it was written during the same event as we are participating in as of today, but also because it was self-published. I have come across many writers who are researching the possibilities to self-publish their NaNoWriMo results, so those writers I would advise to have a look at this book and read up on it in the case they get stuck, demotivated or simply overwhelmed with the excitement. Oh, also, Wool landed a spot on the New York Times bestseller list. Even if you do not aspire to self-publish your novel, it could not hurt any NaNoWriMo writer to read the blog post that Hugh Howey wrote for the novel writing event: “How NaNoWriMo Trained Me to Be a Professional Author”. In it, he relates that he tells writers “how this outpouring of words has turned my life upside down. And that maybe they should look into it as well”.

 

3. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

 
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Even the people I know who are not bookworms have heard of this title, probably because the film adaptation featuring Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon. But many of those friends did not know that the book was actually written during National Novel Writing Month. The novel is described as being atmospheric, and the plot is compelling. Water for Elephants is a story about two lovers, but it is not just a simple, straight-forward love story. The writing style is simply beautiful, and I am convinced that both the writing itself as well as the plot are perfect especially for writers who are looking to complete a novel this month. It is the perfect novel to read during the evening, after a long day of writing, working, and having to be social. And on top of this all, Sara Gruen may even appear this November to give us a pep-talk – she did in a previous year!


 
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MANOU JONINK

I enjoy writing as my biggest hobby in life. Since I graduated from a BA in English Literature, I have been busy in my MA programme geared towards editing and writing. I love all things dark, from the Gothic era and before to modern dark writings.

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