Skip to main content

The Proper Care and Feeding of a NaNoWriMo Participant(aka how to not annoy us)

This post is for people who don't do NaNoWriMo but know a participant. And yes, this post is a bit late.

With the end of NaNoWriMo approaching, you may be wondering "What can I do to help my Wrimo be more comfortable as they emerge from their writing dens/caves, smelling like coffee and blinking in the bright sunlight?"

I'm not trying to be mean or to tell people off, but if you want to avoid irking your Wrimo friends, and help them along their journey, some things to do and not do. This will also endear you to your Wrimo friends, and they will thank you and love you.

 I know some people are just curious and interested, and that's okay. When in doubt, just be polite and nice and don't make us do any work we don't have to.(Hey, we're tired.)

Do not ask why we would want to spend a month frantically writing if we get nothing out of it.  Don't ask "what do you get out of it?" I get a novel out of it. I get to stretch my writing skills and take on a fun challenge. And don't ask "why would you want to spend a month writing something that's no good?" It's a creative thing, okay?

 Do not ask if we're going to get it published. I know you're just curious, but it just reveals how little you know about the publishing industry. To answer your question here, the publishing industry is very tough to get into unless you have a very good product, and that's impossible to get in one month of cramming. Writing the novel is one thing, editing it is a whole different thing. Only the really dedicated ones get around to it. If you really want to ask this question, add "after editing."

Please don't bug us to read the manuscript right after we told you we've finished it. I admit, I'm guilty of this. Almost everybody is.

But here's the reason why. NaNoWriMo is a draining endeavor, and you spend a month pouring your soul into a novel. When you ask to read a NaNo, it's like asking for a piece of someone's soul, that someone spent a month pouring sweat into, stressing about, and thinking about. And it often turns out to be rough. Very rough. And most of the time, we are very shy and nervous about putting it under someone else's scrutiny. I know you're okay with reading someone's "in progress" novel, but we aren't okay with you reading it. Yet.

Plus, we're often so exhausted with the effort of just producing it, that we haven't even begun to think of editing and making it decent enough to share.

Asking nicely is fine, but saying "I can't wait to read it!" and things like you're entitled to read it get the idea. If you ask nicely, I will send you a copy eventually, after my Writing Buddies and Lakehouse Sisters. ;)

Once you get the manuscript, do not, please do not start to criticize or make fun of the manuscript without being asked for it. This should be a given. I don’t care if it’s constructive criticism, that’s my soul you’re criticizing and I’m still exhausted from the effort of just getting it out there.

Do be supportive. NaNoWriMo is hard. We need you. Ask about wordcount. Ask about how the plot’s going. You might not want to ask for a detailed summary, but just the subject is fine.

Do ask for an excerpt if you’re curious.  Most of us keep excerpts handy for when people ask for them.

When we do ask you to edit, be strict about it. Remember. We must ask you for your help, and probably not until January when we’re done editing ourselves. Don’t be shy or too nice, or tell us that our novel is spectacular. If we’re asking you for help, it means we’ve bulked ourselves up enough to take it.

Unless you know we’re into this sort of thing, don’t ask us to proofread, cowrite, edit, or write your unfinished or unstarted novel. NaNoWriMo does not make us noveling experts and doesn’t mean we’d love to spend the rest of the year doing nothing but novels. You can ask us for tips. That is all. I edit and proofread occasionally, but it’s usually my friends’ work and I always ask first.

If we drop our NaNoNovel and never want to look at it again, that’s our own business. I don’t care if you think it’s our wasted effort and we’re just being lazy. Trust me, we love our own novels even more than you do We’ve probably tried everything to get it to work, but sometimes they just pass the point of no return, you know?

Do join NaNoWriMo. We love us our fellow Wrimos.

So I hope this helps. Fellow Wrimos, does this line up?

Trust me, I’m guilty of some of these. I’m not trying to embarrass you or be mean. If you feel guilty for doing some of these, no need to apologize! You’re not the only one. And now you are a NaNo savvy person! To help you on your way, here are some NaNo terms and jargon:

NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month. Tis a month to write a 50K novel. In November.
MC: Main Character
OC: Original Character
FMC: Female Main Character
Wrimo: NaNoWriMo participant.

TSoD: Traveling Shovel of Death. Don't know how to get rid of a character? Use a shovel !
WoD: Write or Die, a website
Word War: Two people sit for x amount of times and see who can get the most words.
Word Sprint. You sit by yourself and time yourself for your own words
TGIO: Thank God It's Over. Party time!

Scrivener: Writing application, free to Wrimos. Kind of like Microsoft Word on steroids.
Plot Bunny: An idea that sprouts from a plot that leads you in a different direction(shortened version)
Mary Sue/Gary Stu: Long explanation, basically a cliched perfect character, often the last one of her/his kind, or a half-something or runaway-princess or something

Script Frenzy or Screnzy-NaNoWriMo for scriptwriters/comic book writers. In April.
NanoFiMo, Camp NaNoWriMo, DecNoWriMo, etc. Spinoffs of NaNo, in different months.
Plotter: Someone who uses outlines.
Pantser: Someone who doesn't use outlines.

ML: Municipal Liaison, sort of an organizer.

Hope this helped :)


  1. i need to join nanowrimo. i'm so lazy. help me.
    -jocee <3

  2. Yep, Amaranthine, this post makes good sense. I know so many people that are always asking me "So when are ypu planning on getting published?" They just don't realize how difficult that actually is. Thanks for the awesome post!

  3. Yeah, these are good tips. One I would add... If you make cupcakes for a WriMo during this crazy month they will love you forever. ;)

  4. About thingy number 3.

    Um, I'm kinda of the opinion that if some one asks to read your novel, you should jump through the ceiling for joy. AND, yeah, I'm sure you poured sweat and probably tears and blood into it, but, if you plan on publishing it someday, wont the publisher need to read it? I don't think we should be afraid and mad if someone asks to read it. Maybe kindly say, "Once edited, maybe". But...I dunno...Maybe I'm the lax sort.

    Oh, I'm on lakehouse! Does that mean I'll get to read it? lol Hope that didn't make you upset...:-)

  5. @Ashley

    But you weren't a NaNoWriMo participant, were you? (waggles eyebrows)

    I think it's different for Wrimos and regular writers. A lot of regular writers I know have never actually finished a novel.

    (Come to think of it, I haven't finished my NaNoWriMo novel. Hmm.)

  6. The difference between this and me is that people didn't ask about my novel as much as I volunteered information, LOL. I was so excited about my first NaNo experience that I told everyone about it! ;) Interesting post, I hope you had a fun November! :D


Post a Comment

Amaranthine <3's you. Thanks for the comment!

Popular posts from this blog

(fangirl flapping of arms and running around in circles) (eee) (ignore this)(spoilers for Son of Neptune)

my fangirl obsessions go in cycles...this week, it's totally Heroes of Olympus/Percy Jackson(again)

There's this amazing artist on deviantart...burdge-bug...who does AMAZING Percy Jackson, Hunger Games, Harry Potter, Maximum Ride, and even HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE fanart. Now, we need to get her to read Artemis Fowl...XD.

Anyways, here are some of my favorites of hers.

I kind of want to pull a Ms. Black and blast Jason right off the tapestry. There's some speculation to whether or not Annabeth will be on the Argo II. I kind of don't want her to be, so Nico can join instead. Then again, if Nico is already in Rome(as speculated at the end of Neptune) there's still room.  GAH RR WHY MUST YOU TORMENT US SO

love this scene...Senatus Populusque Romanus FTW.

Which do you think is cooler? Camp Half Blood or Camp Jupiter? Camp Jupiter definitely has a more efficient way of doing things(separating by cohort instead of parentage, sending large groups instead o…

Ciel Phantomhive vs. Artemis Fowl

Don't laugh. XD
The similarities between the two characters are so distinct and obvious that comparison is inevitable for anyone who's read/watched both series. I seriously thought when I first noticed Black Butler(more popularly referred to as Kuroshitsuji) that it was literally an anime adaption of Artemis Fowl.  Other people have read Artemis Fowl and thought "CIEL HAS A CLONE??!?"
So I thought I'd outline some of the differences and analyze who would win. XD
Appearance:  This is the first similarity, and one of the most major, because if they didn't look so darn alike I don't think the comparison would have been as striking. The above picture of Artemis is a fanart, because there aren't really any good pictures of Artemis, and the manga style makes it more obvious. They are both from the British Isles and have black hair and blue eyes. Both of them lose/change/switch an eye resulting in two different colors. 
Circumstance: They both s…

updates on life(aka excuses to post tumblr gifs)

If I had to describe my life in one word right now, it'd be cold. Brr.

Let's see..what's happening?

I got my back bend kickover from le ground in acro. It's awesome. :) I never thought I'd be able to do it XD

Of course, it's not with straight legs(yet). And I don't hit my splits in the middle. Come to think of it, it's actually sort of a back flop-over.

I read Skeleton Key and Eagle Strike(next two Alex Rider books) last night. The series has gotten better, but it still has the same problems. Just like Suzanne Collins makes the simplest events seem chilling and scary, the numerous random deaths in Alex Rider are just like "meh...whatever."

They all still have similar plots. Such as:

1. The book opens with some sort of mysterious circumstance. Usually an assasination or an exchange where one of the members gets stabbed in the back(sometimes literal, sometimes not) and killed. Either way, someone usually dies.
2. Alex Rider is hanging out drinkin…