Frequently asked questions

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Press Release 2013-09-01

Have you ever dreamed of writing a novel?

November is National Novel Writing Month, a free annual event helping to motivate writers to start and complete a 50,000 word novel in thirty days. In 2012, 341,375 participants attempted to write their own novels; 38,438 of them (11%) succeeded in their quests. In our region of Naperville, that represents the many cities and suburbs west of Chicago, 67 of the 100 people who posted in our regional forum succeeded in finishing their novels.

The fun begins Saturday, September 28th, 2-4 pm at the Warrenville Public Library, which will be hosting a two hour preparatory workshop ("Hit the Ground Running", presented by Todd Hogan) to give people enough time to successfully prepare for their November writing marathon. NaNoWriMo Municipal Liaisons will be on hand to answer your questions. This year we will be offering a total of four preparatory workshops:

"Hit the Ground Running" by Todd Hogan Saturday, September 28, 2-4 pm Warrenville Public Library
"Characters are Story" by Katherine Lato Saturday, October 5, 1-3 pm Nichols Library, Naperville
"Writing Styles - Structure, Plot and Mechanics" by Roger Lubeck Saturday, October 12, 1-3 pm 95th Street Library, Naperville
"Keeping your readers engaged" by Frank Dahlman Saturday, October 19, 1-3 pm Nichols Library, Naperville

Bring a dish to share and come celebrate the start of NaNoWriMo at our pot-luck lunch kick-off party October 26th at the Naperville Municipal Center (11:45 am-3 pm, rooms BC).

Starting midnight November 1st, you can begin the actual novel writing. The Nichols and 95th Street Libraries will host write-in events 1:30-4:30 pm on Sundays in November (Nov 3 and 17 at Nichols; Nov 10 and 24 at 95th Street). There will also be write-ins throughout the month, including ones at the Warrenville Public Library, Woodridge Public Library, Carol Stream Public Library, Downers Grove Public Library and Lombard Public Library.

All participants and their friends and family are welcome to attend the TGIO party December 8th at the Naperville Municipal Center. Come visit for more detailed event information. Fulfill your dream of becoming a novelist. See and send your questions to mliaisons -AT-

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What does this cost?
A: Absolutely nothing is required. Donations to cover the website and administrative costs are accepted but are not necessary.

Q: What do the winners get?
A: A PDF file proclaiming them NaNoWriMo winners if they manage to complete at least 50,000 words in 30 days. More importantly, the happiness of completing at least 50,0000 words of a novel.

Q: Where can I find out more information about the local events?
A: Check out the 2013 Events page for detailed information about the local events.

Q: 50,000 words in 30 days seems foolhardy...
A: Actually, it turns out to be roughly 1,670 words per day, which turns out to be manageable. There are some exceptionally prolific writers who produce four times that amount... but many just barely get over the hump. The NaNoWriMo website and online discussion forums provide a lot of support; and we are organizing some weekly meetings locally for participants to use for writing and discussing their work.

Q: Do I have to publish my novel?
A: No. Some participants share their novels with other participants for critiquing; a few participants have had their NaNoWriMo novels published. There are no requirements here.

Q: What about my privacy?
A: While you do have to provide an e-mail address in order to register, the NaNoWriMo forums give participants fine control over what information is made available to others. E-mail address and identity information can be concealed and the NaNoWriMo team has a strong privacy policy. E-mail addresses are not shared or sold and you have to explicitly sign up to receive e-mail announcements from the NaNo team during November.

Q: How do I sign up?
A: Sign-ups can be done through the website. The NaNoWriMo contest proper begins at 12:01 midnight November 1st.

Q: Who coordinates things for the Chicago Western Suburbs region?
A: We (Tim Yao, Katherine Lato and Frank Dahlman) are volunteer municipal liaisons for the Chicago Western Suburbs region of NaNoWriMo (Illinois::Naperville). We are enthusiastic participants of previous NaNo's who want to help others find the joy of completion that we've found. We organize the kick-off writing session, weekly writing sessions and the TGIO party at the end.

Q: Say I join the region, what do I do next?
A: If you haven't already done so, please come to our regional forum and post a note introducing yourself to the other participants. You can say something about who you are and what you are writing.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to contact us at mliaisons -AT-

hipster PDA

The hipster PDA is a cool, retro-low tech solution to information management. One uses a collection of blank and written 3x5 index cards bound with a binder clip or collected in a special carrier to jot down notes. Here are some pertinent links:

NaNoWriMo hipsterPDAs can be found at

Which Novel Writing Books are Recommended?

See Book_Recommendations

What other resources are there?

Glad you asked. We have a Useful_references_for_writers page where there are a lot of links collected!

What about navigational aids for the nanowrimo site?

You might like the Reference desk forum index page (that does filtering and sorting)