Today I reeled away from my latest bout with NANOWRIMO.

You’re probably wondering: what is  NANOWRIMO? The acronym stands for National Novel Writing Month.  It’s a global event, takes place every November, costs you nothing, and it’s fun (well, theoretically!).  You register on line, and join some 300 000 other wannabe writers in the attempt to write a 50 000 word novel during the month of November. That’s right: you heard me. The challenge is to write a novel in a month.

There are no prizes, but you will be awarded an electronic certificate that proclaims you won NANO this year. All you have is the glory, the satisfaction, and a First Draft of your next masterpiece.

When you emerge from NANO, sleep deprived, over-caffeinated, with aching back and fingers, you discover the world is still revolving, life has merrily continued during your 30 day absence, and you have approximately 1 million e-mails piled up in your InBox, which is on the verge of spontaneous combustion. But you do have a First Draft. NANO reminds me a little of childbirth: relatively short duration, painful, terribly hard work, but oh! the joy at the end of the process.

Your friends are fed up with you, the fridge is empty, the laundry pile resembles an encroaching alien life form, all your indoor plants have died and the cat has left home in disgust. You spend a fortune at the physiotherapist having the kinks taken out of your back.  But you do have a First Draft.

In my case, I plunged gaily into NANO in 2009 for the first time – and to my intense surprise: I succeeded! Spurred on by my success I tried again in 2010, and I succeeded. I now had the First Draft of Parts 1 & 2 of my Fantasy Novel. Yay!

2011 – NANO passed me by.  2012 – I registered, wrote 6 000 words and crumpled.

2013 : I announced: This is IT! I am going to finish Part 3 of my Fantasy Novel. And I did! Yay for me! I didn’t hit the 50 000 word NANO Target but I DID finish my novel. And now I have a massive First Draft that requires a surgical re-write of Part 1, and a vigorous edit on Part 3. Apart from these obstacles, all I now require is a friendly agent who will love, love my Fantasy Novel, secure me book and TV deals worth millions …  okay, I can dream a little can’t I? Does anybody know a friendly agent who’d love to represent a brilliant new talent? Don’t keep it to yourself, I’m dying to hear from you!






  1. So THAT’S where you disappeared to, Alison! 😀

    CONGRATULATIONS on not only surviving NANO but actually finishing your first Novel!!!


  2. Marita Palmano

    Congratulations & Good Luck!


  3. Bravo! An inspiring tale of dogged persistence. Go girl!


  4. Graeme

    I am not an agent. I do not know and agent. BUT I do congratulate you and wish you good luck for the rest of the process.


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