NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, is a creative writing project originating in the United States in which each participant attempts to write a fifty-thousand-word novel in a single month. The project was started by Chris Baty in July 1999 with 21 participants, and has been held annually in November since 2000. Despite the name, the project is now international in scope. In 2005, 59,703 people participated and 9,765 won.

Participants' novels can be on any theme and in any genre. They must be started no earlier than midnight November 1st and completed before midnight on the 30th, local time. Advance planning and notes are permissible, but no earlier written material can go into the body of the novels. Debate exists as to whether the ideal is to write a complete novel of fifty thousand words or to simply write the first fifty thousand words of a novel which may require more text to complete. Although the former is arguably more satisfying, and many participants aim to complete their plots just past the fifty thousand word mark, a fifty thousand word novel is not particularly long by the standards of published works and might be more accurately described as a novella.

No prizes are awarded for exceptional length, quality, or speed. Anyone who successfully reaches the 50,000 word mark is declared a "winner." Beginning November 25th, participants can submit their novel to be automatically verified for length and receive a printable certificate, an icon they can display on the web, and inclusion on the list of winners. No precautions are taken to prevent cheating; since the only significant reward for winning is the finished novel itself and the satisfaction of having written it, there is little incentive to cheat. For many participants, the related forums are an integral part of the whole endeavor, providing advice, information, criticism, support, and an opportunity for collective procrastination. There is also an official IRC channel, #NaNoWriMo, found on the GoodChatting server, where participants can talk, socialize, brainstorm, or participate in Word Wars, a form of writing race.

To "win" NaNoWriMo, participants need to write an average of 1666 and 2/3 words per day, which is about four pages, single-spaced, in a 12 pt font. This pace allows little time for revision or editing. Organizers of the event say that the aim is simply to get people to start writing, using the deadline as an incentive to get the story going and put words to paper. Those who wish to spend time editing and polishing the stories composed during NaNoWriMo may choose to follow it up in March with NaNoEdMo, or National Novel Editing Month.

This "quantity over quality" philosophy is summarized by the site's slogan: "No Plot? No Problem!" This is also the title of Chris Baty's book of advice for NaNoWriMo participants, published in the fall of 2004.

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Modified for Basilicus by Laveaux from "NaNoWriMo." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 22 Jan 2006, 19:47 UTC. 2 Feb 2006, 00:18 <>.