YA + NaNoWriMo? Why Not?

November = NaNoWriMo

So, it’s November.

Pay no attention to the date of my last post. Contrary to what you *might* believe, I have been writing.

Just not on this blog I’ve also been researching. While a lot of people think that writing is putting pad to pen (and in the most fundamental sense, it is), I sometimes try to reach beyond that and study the philosophy and craft of writing.

November just happens to be the perfect month for this. Why?

Because it’s National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. Some of you may be like “NaNoWhoNow?”(1)

Taken from the NaNoWriMo about page:

What: Writing one 50,000-word novel from scratch in a month’s time.

Who: You! We can’t do this unless we have some other people trying it as well. Let’s write laughably awful yet lengthy prose together.

Why: The reasons are endless! To actively participate in one of our era’s most enchanting art forms! To write without having to obsess over quality. To be able to make obscure references to passages from our novels at parties. To be able to mock real novelists who dawdle on and on, taking far longer than 30 days to produce their work.

When: You can sign up anytime to add your name to the roster and browse the forums. Writing begins November 1. To be added to the official list of winners, you must reach the 50,000-word mark by November 30 at midnight. Once your novel has been verified by our web-based team of robotic word counters, the partying begins.

I haven’t signed up for the contest, but I’m participating in spirit. I think that NaNaWriMo is  novel idea (sorry), and one that definitely provides an impetus for lazy writers to get the ball rolling on that novel they’ve been working on. It also gives me an excuse to pop off my word count in a blog and make people (or perhaps myself) feel bad.

One of the most compelling books I've read in a while.


YA ≠ Yellow Additives

Now, while I don’t want to give you ALL of the juicy tidbits of my NaNoWriMo project, I will tell you that it’s going to be a YA piece.

[hears someone in the crowd whisper “What’s YA?“]

Never fear, intrepid blog reader. I got you. From Wikipedia:

The definition of Young Adult Literature (YA Lit) varies based upon the age group at which the literature is aimed, and who is asked. Authors, readers, and young adult agencies all have different views of the definition. However, it is generally agreed that Young Adult Literature is literature written for adolescent readers, and in some cases published by adolescent writers. The Young Adult Library Services (YALSA) of the American Library Association (ALA) defines a young adult as “someone between the ages of twelve and eighteen”. Young adult novels have also been defined as texts written for the ages of twelve and up. Authors and readers of young adult (YA) novels often define the genre as “literature written for ages ranging from ten years up to the age of twenty” (Cole). Another suggestion for the definition is that Young Adult Literature is any text being read by adolescents, though this definition is still somewhat controversial.

The short version: Books written for non-adult types that usually feature an adolescent as the protagonist. The story is relevant to the adolescent experience, and one that engages the reader. Adult readership of books typically written for teens has skyrocketed, and, judging by the continued success of Harry Potter and Twilight, it won’t be cooling off for a while.

Suffice to say, my NaNoWriMo piece WILL be afro-relevant™ and in the vein of awesome YA works written by awesome authors like Nnedi Okorafor. Having never written work like this before, I’ve had to research several sites in order to understand conventions of YA, as well as what’s relevant right now. Will I post snippets? *shrug*

You tell me. I’ll leave you with a treat:


The NaNoWriMoSong!

Stay thirsty, my friends.

(1) This is actually a pretty awesome list of NaNoWriMo do’s and don’t written by Chuck Wendig. Do as he says and make clicky to get at the juicy innards.


3 thoughts on “YA + NaNoWriMo? Why Not?

  1. It’s my first “official” time signing up at the website, but I participated a few years ago. Though a large portion of what I wrote was well…not very good, I did salvage a short story out of it that was eventually published.

    Best wishes~

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