Books

Need inspiration to finish that novel? Here are 10 books written during NaNoWriMo

Did you know Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen began as a NaNoWriMo project? Here are 10 books that began during National Novel Writing Month.

Participating in National Novel Writing Month this November and need some inspiration to help you write 50,000 words by the end of November? CBC Books is here to help!

Here are 10 books which were originally written during NaNoWriMo. 

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

Jasmine Guillory is an American author. (Andrea Scher, Penguin Publishing Group)

When two high-powered professionals, Alexa Monroe and Drew Nichols, have a meet-cute while stuck in an elevator, they decide on a whim to be each other's date for an upcoming wedding. The Wedding Date is a romantic comedy novel about the misadventures of a charming couple who realize that they might be meant for each other.

Jasmine Guillory is a bestselling American romance novelist. Her books include The Wedding Party, The Proposal and Royal Holiday. Guillory told the New York Times in 2019 that she participated in NaNoWriMo in the mid-2010s to complete half of a book draft that would ultimately become The Wedding Date.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Rainbow Rowell is a writer from Nebraska. (Wednesday Books, rainbowrowell.com)

Fangirl is a coming-of-age YA novel about a girl named Cath who is obsessed with the fictional Simon Snow series of books. Her twin sister, Wren, used to love the books as well but begins to distance herself from Cath and the books as they grow older and start college. Cath still spends her days writing fan fiction and dressing up as her favourite characters from the books. Fangirl is a book about first love, family relationships and the meaning of letting go. 

Rainbow Rowell is a bestselling writer from Nebraska. Her books include LandlineEleanor & Park and Attachments. In 2019, Rowell collaborated with B.C.-based artist Faith Erin Hicks to create the graphic novel PumpkinheadsRowell told Tor.com that she wrote a draft of Fangirl during NaNoWriMo in 2011. 

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

With the Fire on High is a YA novel by Elizabeth Acevedo. (Harper Teen, http://www.acevedowrites.com)

Elizabeth Acevedo's second novel, With the Fire on High, is about a young woman named Emoni Santiago. Emoni got pregnant as a freshman in high school and dreams of being a chef. Most people have dismissed her, but she's determined to raise her daughter, Babygirl, the best she can. When her high school offers a cooking class, Emoni sees it as an opportunity to follow her dreams while still being there for her daughter. With the Fire on High is a well-written and moving story.

Elizabeth Acevedo is a Dominican-American poet and author. Acevedo won the 2019 Carnegie Medal for her debut book The Poet X and told the Chicago Review of Books that she was inspired in 2013 to write a draft of With the Fire on High during NaNoWriMo.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Sara Gruen's bestselling novel was turned into a movie starring Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson. (Tasha Thomas, HarperCollins)

Orphaned and penniless at the height of the Depression, Jacob Jankowski escapes everything he knows by jumping on a passing train — and inadvertently runs away with the circus. So begins Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen's "darkly beautiful" tale about the characters who inhabit the less-than-greatest show on earth.

The Vancouver-born Gruen has said that she has regularly participated in the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) event, and used it to draft three novels, including Water for Elephants. The 2006 bestselling historical novel was made into a 2011 motion picture starring Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson. 

Buying Love by Toni Shiloh

U.S.-based author Toni Shiloh writes Christian fiction. (Toni Shiloh, Celebrate Lit)

Christian fiction writer Toni Shiloh drafted her novel Buying Love during NaNoWriMo. Buying Love is about Nina Warrenton and Dwight Williams, two people whose search for love and marriage is complicated by financial considerations.

Shiloh has gone on to write several more books and is based in Virginia.

Come Away With Me by Karma Brown

Ontario-based author Karma Brown drafted this novel during NaNoWriMo. (Jenna Davis, MIRA)

In Come Away With Me, Tegan Lawson has everything she could hope for: an adoring husband and a baby on the way. The next, a devastating accident that will change her life in ways she never could have imagined. 

Karma Brown wrote the draft of Come Away With Me during NaNoWriMo. Brown is now a bestselling author based outside Toronto.

​Zero Repeat Forever by Gabrielle Prendergast

Gabrielle Prendergast is the author of Zero Repeat Forever. (Simon & Schuster, Gabrielle Prendergast)

Gabrielle "G.S." Prendergast's book Zero Repeat Forever was written during NaNoWriMo in 2011.

Zero Repeat Forever depicts an invasion of murderous creatures and 16-year-old Raven is at summer camp when it happens. Isolated in the wilderness, Raven and her fellow campers can only stay put to await rescue. But Raven isn't one to feel helpless and must decide whether to fight back.

Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

Julie Murphy is the author of Side Effects May Vary. (Christy Archibald, HarperCollins)

When 16-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs. So she convinces her best friend, Harvey, to help her with a crazy bucket list that's as much about revenge as it is about hope. But just when Alice's scores are settled, she goes into remission. Now she must face the consequences of all she's said and done. 

Side Effects May Vary was written by Murphy during NaNoWriMo in 2011.

The Truth About Twinkie Pie by Kat Yeh

Drafted during NaNoWriMo, The Truth About Twinkie Pie was U.S.-based author Kat Yeh's debut work. (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, Kat Yeh)

The 2015 middle-grade book The Truth About Twinkie Pie is about two sisters making it on their own: brainy 12-year-old GiGi and junior-high-dropout-turned-hairstylist DiDi. Add a million dollars in prize money from a national cooking contest and a move from the trailer parks of South Carolina to the North Shore of Long Island. 

Kat Yeh is a children's book writer based in Long Island, N.Y.

Wool by Hugh Howey

Hugh Howey is the author of Wool. (Simon & Schuster, Hugh Howey)

Wool is a post-apocalyptic thriller that examines a toxic future and an underground community. Sheriff Holston, who has unwaveringly upheld the silo's rules for years, unexpectedly breaks the greatest taboo of all: He asks to go outside. His fateful decision unleashes a drastic series of events and potential uprising. 

Wool was written during NaNoWriMo and was originally self-published by Hugh Howey before being picked up by a major publisher.

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