9 Novels Written During NaNoWriMo

Frances Lear

Whenever Halloween comes up, there’s an even bigger, scarier event looming right around the corner: National Novel Writing Month. For those who don’t know, NaNoWriMo is a worldwide writing event where hundreds of thousands of writers set out to write their own novels in one month. Not a perfect, complete novel, of course, but every writer hopes to come away with a rough draft of their novel ready for the revision phase.
Think it’s impossible? Sure, what you get at the end of the month is usually a terrible, typo-ridden mess; but there are stories in there just waiting to become best-sellers. Over the almost 20 years NaNoWriMo has been around, hundreds of novels have been published, originally created during this event. Here is a list of novels that began during National Novel Writing Month.

1. Livvie Owen Lived Here, Sarah Dooley

Sarah Dooley’s novel is set from the point of view of a 14-year-old autistic girl. Livvie comes to notice that her family, forced to move from place to place, was only truly happy in one house. The only problem is that Livvie burned the house down. Dooley’s writing is both emotional and enlightening, portraying a realistic autistic character.

2. Losing Faith, Denise Jaden

Denise Jaden captures the heartbreak and mystery of this story in well-written prose. In Losing Faith, a young woman named Brie loses her sister Faith in a tragic accident. While her life begins to fall apart, and Brie has to learn how to live in a world without her sister, she discovers that her sister’s death may not have been accidental at all. Jaden creates a mystery that leaves the reader guessing and holding on until the end, making it a book you’ll never want to put down.

3. The Beautiful Land, Alan Averill

Alan Averill’s debut novel is a mixture between science-fiction and horror, about a scientist trying to save the love of his life and the world. The Beautiful Land is an incredible novel with lyrical prose and excellent character. With the potential to confuse readers between all the different parallel worlds, Averill keeps focus and clarity, creating a strange novel that pulls the reader in.

4. The Darwin Elevator, Jason M. Hough

The first in a trilogy, Jason M. Hough’s highly-praised The Darwin Elevator explores the post-apocalyptic world and the last remains of humanity. This story is held together by tension, mystery, beautifully written characters, and amazing world-building. This debut novel is a well-deserved New York Times Bestseller.

5. Wool, Hugh Howey

Hugh Howey’s Wool was originally self-published, and quickly became a high-demand. The dystopian sci-fi series consists of five parts, three of which were written during NaNoWriMo in 2011. Howey depicts a world where mankind is struggling to survive, and unable to go outside, with perfect pacing and excellent storytelling. Considered an instant sci-fi classing, Howey’s novel is not only an inspiration for writing a novel, but for self-publishing as well.

6. Cinder, Marissa Meyer

Another first in a series, Marissa Meyer’s Cinder is a Cinderella story with a drastic twist. Set on a futuristic earth, Cinder is a cyborg in a world where humanity is threatened by an alien race. Soon, she becomes trapped in the center of this intergalactic struggle, and must be the one to save the world. This series of reimagined fairytales is refreshing and beautifully explored in Meyer’s series.

7. Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell

Rainbow Rowell’s coming-of-age story is perfect for anyone who has found themselves a little too obsessed with a particular book. Fangirl is about a young girl who grew up falling in love with a series of book that she becomes a little too attached to. Now that she’s older and moving on to college, she has to learn how to survive in the world without falling back on the book series that’s gotten her this far. Rowell’s novel is filled with realistic and endearing characters, true-to-life scenes that bring a new perspective to the typical going-to-college story.

8. Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen

If you haven’t heard of this novel, you’ve probably at least heard of the film adaptation starring Reese Witherspoon. Sara Gruen’s wildly successful novel began in NaNoWriMo, making it one of the biggest inspirations for writers participating in the event. Water for Elephants is a historical novel written and researched so beautifully, it remained on New York Times’s Best Seller list for 12 weeks.

9. Wade of Aquitaine, Ben Parris

And of course our list would not be complete without Wade of Aquitaine, one of the very first Amazon Kindle Bestsellers. Displayed with its original 2007 cover art, The Ben Parris epic tells the storwadey of literature’s first synesthetic hero, whose crossed-senses are so extreme that with the help of another synesthete from 1,200 years past, they shift Wade in time and space to solve a crisis at the end of Charlemagne’s reign.

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