National November Write a Novel Month (NaNoWriMo) is almost at the halfway mark. Are you convinced that what you’re writing is garbage? So did these authors, once! Here are ten authors who now have their projects published, and some of them are bestsellers. Hopefully, some inspiration can be found in these NaNoWriMo veterans.
1. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
A tale of whimsy, fantasy, and old Victorian grace, The Night Circus merges London in the 1800s with real magic. It follows Celia, a magician’s daughter, and Marco, an orphan turned protege, into a magical challenge – and ultimately, also their love story. Taking seven years from NaNoWriMo to publication, this book was an instant bestseller, and now the directors of the Harry Potter series have snatched this beauty up for a cinematic release.
2. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
There aren’t many readers out there who haven’t heard of the book Water for Elephants. It followed a similar path to The Night Circus years ago: not only is it about a circus as well, but it graced bestseller lists and was turned into a movie, which was released in 2011. Unlike The Night Circus, Water for Elephants explores the brutality of circuses, especially in the Prohibition era. Perhaps two sides of the same coin: you can certainly argue that NaNoWriMo is for worlds well outside our own!
3. Wool by Hugh Howey
Wool was originally five separate novellas, with three of them written during November in 2011 for the challenge. The book is a post-apocalyptic, dystopian novel that follows Juliette, a mechanic who becomes leader after the Sheriff commits the ultimate taboo. Not only was Wool originally a NaNo project, but it also helped get self-publishing on the map. Howey sold thousands of e-books before a traditional publisher approached him with a deal.
4. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Rowell was already a published author, with her two novels Attachments and Eleanor & Park. Her NaNoWriMo project ended up double the 50,000 word goal, but Rowell states that the exercise forced her to breach new territory. Her characters and setting are heartfelt in Fangirl, and she claims it is “some of the bravest writing she has ever done.” The book follows Cath, a fan of the popular Simon Snow series, which takes over her whole life. She clutches to this as she goes to college, and for the first time is separated her from her twin sister. It expands on growing up, especially when you don’t want to.
5. The Darwin Elevator by Jason M. Hough
Hough states that his first attempt at NaNoWriMo was a complete disaster after one decent chapter, but his second attempt was The Darwin Elevator, a New York Times bestseller. The book takes place in a dystopian future destroyed by aliens. Skyler Luiken has a rare immunity to the plague, one that is similar to the suppressing ability of the last surviving city on Earth: Darwin, Australia. The book has been stated to have characters akin to Joss Whedon’s Firefly, and is a compelling addition to sci-fi novels.
6. The Beautiful Land by Alan Averill
This book is a medley of genres: horror, sci-fi, and of course, romance. Like The Darwin Elevator, this book is an apocalyptic future, but the love story is the driving force of the novel. Between a brilliant computer genius and his childhood sweetheart, Tak and Samira must bend time and space to save themselves.
7. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
NaNoWriMo treats dystopian authors well, carrying them to New York Times bestseller status. Carrie Ryan is no exception. Her young adult novel is an apocalyptic novel complete with zombies (because we were missing those before!). This is the first book of a trilogy, and already has a movie in the works. Mary’s simple truths that carry her through life are beginning to fail her, and she must make choices in the wake of her destroyed ignorance.
8. Don’t Let Me Go by J.H. Trimble
An important mention for sure, Don’t Let Me Go follows the couple Nate and Adam, and how their relationship is threatened when Adam moves to New York. It is further threatened by the arrival of young Luke, who is attracted to Nate. The novel explores coming out issues, lack of acceptance, and violence towards the gay community, on top of a strenuous relationship. It offers a hopeful window, and convinces its audience that change needs to happen.
9. The Hungry Season by T. Greenwood
In this book, renowned author Sam Mason can no longer write after the death of his daughter. Combined with the deterioration of his wife, Mena, their family is one step away from disaster. Their previous notions on their family are challenged, and everything balances on a precipice. The book is tender in its darkness, and is a compelling read from start to finish.
10. The Lunar Chronicles Series by Marissa Meyer
This series by Marissa Meyer is four long now, not including the prequel, and each and every last one of them is a NaNoWriMo project! Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter make up these fairy tale rewrites, taking place in a – you guessed it – a sci-fi future. The characters are Cinder (Cinderella), Scarlet (Little Red Riding Hood), Cress (Rapunzel), and Winter (Snow White). These fairy tale inspirations are the last hope to stop Queen Levana, the Lunar Queen. These books are taking over the Young Adult genre at the moment, showing that fairy tales (like writing a novel in a month) do come true.
Do you have a favorite book in this list? How is NaNoWriMo going for you?
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