Tuesday, 2 October 2012

The NaNoWriMo Challenge

The NaNoWriMo Challenge!

I've decided to sign up for NaNoWriMo this year for a bit of an experiment.  This will be my first time but I've been writing so much recently that I think I can handle it.


Writing, when I'm in the zone, is not something I find particularly difficult.  In the last week alone I wrote some 15,000 words on just one or two hours a day.  When I have the thread of a story its like I don't actually write it, it writes itself.  So if I'm going to make it a challenge, I want to do something different.

This is what I've decided to do, and I want anyone who's up for the challenge to join me.

For a bit of fun, let’s create something “out-there” and attempt to push our literary boundaries.  If what you write turns out to be a masterpiece then all well and good, but at the very least it will give you a chance to try something different and explore new territory.

The target, as with all NaNoWriMo novels is a story of 50,000 words within the month of November.

This year, however, I have chosen a number of criteria and I will use a dice to decide exactly which ones I will use.

My criteria are -

1. Genre.
2. Narrative voice.
3. Character
4. Character attribute
5. Setting

You should choose six options for each, then roll a dice to decide the basics of your story.

Please note – all criteria should be filled out individually.  The choices below are what I chose, but please make sure that each option is something you would feel comfortable (or be willing to try) writing about.  For example, if you don’t like writing about serial killers, don’t use “serial killer” as an option.

The most important one is the genre.  You should chose six genres that you have NEVER written in before.  We're attempting to leave our comfort zones here.

Okay, so here's what I chose for my categories, and the results of my dice rolls are in bold.

Your novel will be a –

1.    Western
2.    Historical romance
3.    Techno-thriller
4.    Mystery
5.   Crime story
6.    Literary story

written in –

1.   First person
2.    Second person
3.    Third person
4.    First person omniscient
5.    First person multiple viewpoint
6.    Stream of consciousness

And featuring a –

1.   Cowboy
2.    Talking animal
3.    Housewife
4.    Ninja
5.    Bank manager
6.    School teacher

who is –

1.    Immortal
2.   Gay
3.    Disabled
4.    Retired
5.    Pre-teen
6.    Very overweight

In a primary location of –

1.    Desert
2.    City
3.   Ocean
4.    Space
5.    Mountain
6.    European Countryside

You can add more and more categories if you wish.

Good luck!

So, my result – I will write a crime story in first person, featuring a gay cowboy and set in or around the ocean.


Feel free to add my to your friends list on NaNoWriMo.  I'm going under my real name, ChrisWard.

Good luck!


3 Oct 2012


  1. Hi Chris :)

    I saw your post over on the Amazon forums. I've entered NaNo three times and haven't made it yet. I'm determined to do it this time! Your "roll the die" idea was fun, and actually quite freeing. I tried it out and this is what I got:

    My novel will be a horror, featuring a doctor who's immortal. It will be set in the Midwest.

    For you or anyone interested, this is what I had down as my choices: (I enjoy the POV I use in my novels and didn't want to change this.)

    Genre -

    1 Horror
    2 Crime
    3 Western
    4 Young Adult
    5 Suspense
    6 Paranormal

    Protagonist -

    1 Vampire
    2 Cowboy
    3 Crusty Cop
    4 Musician
    5 Doctor
    6 Hooker

    Who is -

    1 Teen
    2 Disabled
    3 Immortal
    4 Gay
    5 Unemployed
    6 Addict

    Set in -

    1 Beach
    2 Mountain
    3 Big City
    4 Desert
    5 Midwest
    6 Deep South

    This was a lot of fun! (I'm kind of glad I didn't get young-adult, hooker teen...haha) I can't wait to see how it goes. My name over on NaNo is WordSpiller

    Thanks for the great suggestions!


    1. Hi Kelly, that sounds awesome, good luck!

      While it might sound like a strange experiment, more and more often when I find myself looking at the blurb on the back of books in the store, they seem to be cobbled together from a random selection of attributes and characters almost in an attempt to be original. Plus, I think its always good as a writer to push yourself as far as possible.