Friday, November 28, 2014

NaNoWriMo successes

books and authors

November is in its final week, which means there are only a few more days to go till the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) comes to a close. Aspiring novelist around the world are taking part in this yearly activity and attempting to write a 50,000 word first draft of a novel in 30 days. So to encourage the participants as they cross the finish line (and inspire the rest of you to participate next time), here are some of the biggest successes that have come out of NaNoWriMo in the years past...

Time Off for Good Behavior by Lani Diane Rich 
Lani Diane Rich started writing her first book, Time Off for Good Behavior, during NaNoWriMo. The book was eventually published, making her the first previously-unpublished author to have a NaNoWriMo manuscript printed. The story of a woman who is suffering from a string of bad luck and decides to give her life a makeover, Time Off for Good Behavior connected with fans of chick lit and won praise for its blend of humour and poignancy.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Perhaps the biggest NaNoWriMo success so far is Water for Elephants by Canadian-born author Sara Gruen. The book has sold millions of copies worldwide and was adapted into a movie (starring Robert Pattinson, Reese Witherspoon, and Christoph Waltz) which was released in 2011. An animal lover, Gruen’s work often features animals, a trait that also makes its way into Water for Elephants. Published in 2006, the historical fiction novel tells the story of a veterinary student who is hired to care for the menagerie of a circus that is struggling to survive the Great Depression. He forms a bond with the travelling show’s star performer, Marlena, and a seemingly untrainable elephant, Rosie, as the tome gives us a touching look at a fascinating chapter in history.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The circus seems to be a popular topic with Wrimos and is also the setting of Erin Morgenstern’s debut novel The Night Circus, which was published in 2011, thanks at least in part to NaNoWriMo, and is now on its way to becoming a movie. The writer had been participating in the yearly writing activity since 2003, and first wrote what would eventually become The Night Circus in November 2005. It is an enchanting tale of a wandering magical circus that only opens after dark and the mysterious characters associated with it.

Wool by Hugh Howey
After the success of his terrific novella Wool in 2011, science fiction writer Hugh Howey decided to continue the tale during the National Novel Writing Month. By the time the self-published Wool omnibus was completed, it contained five stories and had a 160,000 word count, around 80,000 of which were written during NaNoWriMo. Set on a post-apocalyptic world where humanity lives cooped up in a Silo that extends far beneath the surface of the Earth, Wool has since become part of the now-expanded Silo universe, which also includes the prequel series Shift and the final act Dust. A film adaptation is also in the works, and Ridley Scott is among the directors who have expressed an interest in helming the big screen project.

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
Fairy tales with a modern spin have become all the rage during the last few years, and jumping on that bandwagon has help Marissa Meyer become a published author who has now penned a successful series. The first three books of The Lunar Chronicles began as NaNoWriMo novels and were all drafted together when she participated in the writing contest in 2008. The first book, Cinder (2012) retold the story of Cinderella with a science fiction twist, while its follow-ups Scarlet (2013) and Cress (2014) did the same with Little Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel respectively.

- S.A. 

Us Magazine, The News - 28th November, 2014 *

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