Creative Writing

NaNoWriMo 2016

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) starts today! Whether you’re taking part in it officially and trying to reach 50,000 words (or more) in November or just enjoying the pep talks and community support from the Office of Letters and Light, it’s great fun when the weather is getting colder and we’re all huddling up for winter.

We’ve written about NaNoWriMo for the past couple of years here and here, where you can find out what it’s all about.

The NaNoWriMo website has a lot of useful information ( and the blog has tips from WriMos all over the world (


We’ve reviewed two fantastic writing books, Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg and On Writing by Stephen King.

If you’re looking beyond November, check out our post on self-publishing.

Over 400,000 people took part in NaNoWriMo last year, producing billions of words between them and there’s a fantastic local group run by a municipal liaison who hold meet-ups in Norwich and elsewhere in Norfolk – when you sign up to NaNoWriMo, you can tell it your location and it’ll automatically match you up with your region’s forum and posts!

For anyone who isn’t taking part in NaNoWriMo officially (I’m one of you!) there are still plenty of helpful resources on the website and on other blogs and writing sites around the web.

NaNoWriMo encourages participants to start a brand new novel on 1st November, but plenty of ‘rebels’ set their own goals with short stories, scripts, blog posts and poetry.


Learn more about the power of short fiction with Writing Short Stories by Ailsa Cox (NORFOLK HOUSE 808. 06831) and How to Write and Sell Short Stories by Della Galton (NORFOLK HOUSE 808.06831).

Screenwriting for film or TV is a great way to learn about dialogue. Try Story by Robert McKee, an absolute classic that is useful for any kind of writing but particularly for structuring screenplays, or The Screenwriter’s Bible by David Trottier (both at NORFOLK HOUSE HOUSE 808.23).

If you’re a specialist in a field (and, let’s face it, everyone is a specialist at something!) you could contribute to it by writing a non-fiction book (or blog, or anything else!). Learn more about how to get started with How to Write Non-Fiction Books by Gordon Wells (BOOK ZONE 808.066).

Poetry is a challenging but fulfilling form to write in. Stephen Fry breaks down poetry into the basics and takes some of the pressure off in The Ode Less Travelled (find the audiobook in the BOOK ZONE at 821), and try Peter Sansom’s Writing Poems and W.N. Herbert’s Writing Poetry (both at NORFOLK HOUSE 808.1) for more in-depth guidance.


The Internet is providing a unique opportunity for new writers to experiment and get their work out there. Fiction podcasts like Welcome to Night Vale and The Black Tapes are booming and anyone with a microphone and a few friends willing to go along for a laugh can put a radio show up. Draw on wisdom refined through nearly a century of radio broadcasting in Writing for Radio by Rosemary Horstmann (NORFOLK HOUSE 808.222) and learn about the specific skills needed to write compelling content for the Internet in Writing for Digital Media by Brian Carroll (BOOK ZONE 070.4).

To anyone writing in November, whether for NaNoWriMo, your own enjoyment or to hit an assignment deadline, best of luck and we’re rooting for you all the way!


Cleaver, A. (2010) Crisis on the desktop. [photograph] Available at: (Accessed on: 1st November 2016).

MacEntree, S. (2014) Creative quote. [text on image] Available at: (Accessed on: 1st November 2016).

Ramdlon (2015) Writer, writing, paper, letter. [photograph] Available at: (Accessed on: 1st November 2016).


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