I believe all readers have stories of their own in their hearts, dying to be written. And there’s no better time to write those stories than during National Novel Writing Month, a movement that challenges everyone to complete 50,000 words (the standard length of a novella).
Think NaNoWriMo only produces amateurs? Think again. Check out some of these traditionally published works from the challenge for inspiration for your own writing.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgernstern
I am dying for a movie of this visually stunning book about two young magicians forced into a rivalry. Their stage? The Night Circus, a place of whimsy and wonder, but also full of danger as the magicians learn what’s needed to end their feud for good, further complicated by their blossoming feelings for one another.
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
This young-adult novel sparked two similarly named sequels, Lola and the Boy Next Door and Isla and the Happily Ever After. These are feel-good, chick-flick lit. Anna and the French Kiss follows Anna as she’s forced to attend a boarding school in Paris during her senior year of high school, leaving behind her best friend, awesome job, and huge crush. It’s a story of romantic near-misses, new love, and taking chances.
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
I am obsessed with the Lunar Chronicles, a series of futuristic retellings of fairytales, with a cyborg Cinderella having to save the earth (and the prince!) from an evil lunar queen. And to think, it all began as a NaNoWriMo project! Not only that, but the sequels Scarlet and Cress were also NaNoWriMo projects.
Wool Omnibus by Hugh Howey
Intended as a short story, Wool takes place in a post-apocalyptic future, where a community thrives in a silo community deep under the ravaged world above. The society is heavily regulated, with rules people unwaveringly believe are meant to keep them safe. But one man, Sheriff Holston, dares to break the biggest rule of all, when he asks to go outside.
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Newly orphaned and broke, young Jacob Jankowski jumps the first freight train he sees and unexpectedly becomes part of the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. This 1930s historical novel follows Jacob as he dodges danger of circus life—a corrupt boss, brutish conditions, and the most perilous thing of all, his love for Marlena, the beauty of the entire show.
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
I’ve gushed about my love for Rainbow Rowell before, and it’s no surprise the geek author is a NaNo winner. In Fangirl, Cath is a college freshman, who’s dealing with her twin Wren not wanting to room with her, her obsession with writing Simon Snow fanfiction, and her surly roommate and overly friendly roommate’s boyfriend. Carry On just debuted this October, Rowell’s new novel based on Simon Snow, the book within the book.
Persistence of Memory by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Another YA novel, this one written by a teen author! Persistence of Memory follows teenager Erin Misrahe, who is struggling with her alter-ego. Of course, that isn’t easy, since her alter-ego is actually a centuries-old vampire whom Erin shares a link with.
Could your NaNoWriMo novel be next on this list? For a full list of the hundreds of published NaNoWriMo novels, check out their website here. As for me, I have some reading (and writing of my own NaNoWriMo novel!) to do.
Gabriele Boland is an aspiring grown-up. She enjoys pretending she’s in a Disney movie, letting her dork flag fly, and writing stories that will never see the light of day. The other ramblings of her mind can be found at her website.