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Would-be Indy novelists, take note: National Novel Writing Month is here

November is National Novel Writing Month, so sharpen those pencils — your New York Times Bestseller may be on the charts soon.

Mural of Kurt Vonnegut

Pro advice from Indy’s own Kurt Vonnegut: “Every sentence must do one of two things—reveal character or advance the action.”

Photo by INDYtoday team

Table of Contents

Perhaps there’s an Austen scribbling away right now in Allisonville, a Morrison in Meridian Hills, or a Hemingway in Holy Cross. Perhaps it’s you, or you’ve always had the thought that it could be you.

This month, you can make those thoughts a reality. November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and we’re here to tell you that you can do it. Just take some of these ideas and come December, you can say you’re a novelist.

Act 1 - The Set Up

NaNoWriMo is a nonprofit organization that promotes creative writing around the world. Its flagship program encourages bibliophiles to attempt to write a 50,000-word manuscript during the month of November.

A few NaNoWriMo books you may recognize:

  • Sara Gruen’s “Water for Elephants”
  • Erin Morgenstern’s “The Night Circus”
  • Hugh Howey’s “Wool”

How do you go about writing a novel? Literary agents have some ideas. You can also pick up Stephen King’s “On Writing” or Anne Lamott’s “Bird by Bird” for tips from the pros.

A couple curls up on the floor of the library to read a book

The library is a great place to cozy up and write — just try to avoid the lovebirds.

Photo by @vanelkco

Act 2 - Confrontation

Queue rising action, tension, and confrontation. Where do you go to write this novel of yours, and how do you keep yourself motivated to finish it?

Indianapolis Public Library | Libraries like writers. Visit one of the library’s 24 locations, find yourself a cozy spot, check out some of their writing resources, and start cracking on your tome.

Indiana Writers Center | Feel like you need a class setting to keep you accountable or teach you new skills? IWC offers a variety of both one-off and multi-session workshops across a variety of interests and skill levels. It also has a helpful directory of other local writers series, interest groups, and bookstores that host events.

Meetup | Writers of a feather flock together (and keep each other motivated.) Pen to Paper hosts several events each month at which Indy writers can share their work for critiques or put their heads together to work through writer’s block. If quiet time is what you need to succeed, you can join Shut Up and Write! Indianapolis at weekend meetups structured to give you an hour of uninterrupted writing time. Or if you’re more of a homebody, there are hundreds of virtual workshops you can take part in simply by searching Meetup.

Act 3 - Resolution

Congratulations, you’ve reached the denouement (a book-nerdy word for resolution).

You’ve finished the next Great American Novel. Get yourself a latte at Dream Palace Books & Coffee and browse the bookshelves knowing that, perhaps, your work will be there sometime soon.

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