woman sitting at a table outside, writing in a notebook with an iPad to the side

Fall is finally here. That means football, pumpkin spice, temperatures below 90 degrees and — for the month of November — NaNoWriMo.


National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a an international event that’s held annually with one goal — to write 50,000 words. For some people, that’s a full novel. For others, it’s just the beginning or a continuation of work. Maybe for you, it’s the push you need to write, regardless of how many words you end up with.

One part writing boot camp, one part rollicking party, this year NaNoWriMo celebrates 20 years of encouraging creativity, education and the power of the imagination through the largest writing event in the world.

Some great novels to have come from NaNoWriMo include:

Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Water for Elephants by Sarah Gruen
The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan
Wool by Hugh Howey
With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
Livvie Owen Lived Here by Sarah Dooley
Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal
Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes
The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
American Panda by Gloria Chao
An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
What the Woods Keep by Katya de Becerra
Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
The Wicker King by K. Ancrum
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
The Compound by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen
Jackpot: All Bet$ Are Off by Nic Stone

Do I have to write a novel?

Nope. Many writers use NaNoWriMo as a time to work on various creative projects, just with the common goal of writing 50,000 words. Some authors choose to work on fanfiction, nonfiction, poetry, scripts for plays or movies, and short stories. The important thing is to just write.

How can I participate?

It’s simple, go to and create an account. It’s free and now you’re connected to a world of other writers. Or, you can just keep track of your word count day-by-day and keep a running tally. For young writers (elementary through high school), look into the Young Writer’s Program. Instead of the usual 50,000 word count, they can set their own goal.

Okay, I signed up. Now what?

Explore our writing resource books and feel free to ask a librarian to help you research anything from Regency fashion to forensic science. For a quiet place to write, use our study areas throughout November. And, because writing shouldn’t be a solitary adventure, drop by Write-In at the library. Check our Program Calendar for the latest events.

For more inspiration on starting the writing process, check out some of these titles:

Dear Ally, How Do You Write a Book by Ally Carter
Consider This: Moments in My Writing Life After Which Everything Was Different by Chuck Palahniuk
Who Says? Mastering Point of View in Fiction
Storyville: An Illustrated Guide to Writing Fiction
Craft in the Real World: Rethinking Fiction, Writing & Workshopping
Writing Without Rules by Jeff Somers
Save the Cat! Writes a Novel: The Last Book on Novel Writing You’ll Ever Need
Writing 21st Century Fiction by Donald Maass
The Creative Compass by Dan Millman & Sierra Prasada
From Idea to Novel
How To Write a Page-turner: Craft a Story Your Readers Can’t Put Down
20 Master Plots by Ronald B. Tobias
Mastering Plot Twists
Elmore Leonard
27 Essential Principles of Story : Master the Secrets of Great Storytelling, From Shakespeare to South Park
Brave the Page by Rebecca Stern
Rules of Thumb

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Notice: All locations will be closed Monday, May 27 for Memorial Day.