Top 5 NaNoWriMo Novels

15th Nov 2012

Top 5 NaNoWriMo Novels

The isolation, the crippling word count targets and the constant pressure are no fun, yet NaNoWriMo is increasing in popularity every year.

If you’ve decided to take the plunge, allow this article to offer a light at the end of the cold, dark, November-weather swept tunnel, as we celebrate those NaNoWriMo efforts that led their authors to storming success.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Far and away the most well-known NaNoWriMo success has to be The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. In 2010 the novel was snapped up by Doubleday for a six-figure sum – something almost unheard of for an unpublished author.

The story of a travelling circus and a bitter rivalry between magicians failed to impress some, who complained of a clunky plot propped up, rather than enhanced by Morgenstern’s descriptive and immersing writing.

At the same time however, the circus setting and element of magic left the rest of the world scrabbling for co-edition and film rights, making The Night Circus one of the most talked-about books of that year.

Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen

Water for Elephants is perhaps one of the most established NaNo best-sellers, a book which has become even more well known following the release of the popular film starring Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson.

Depicting a travelling circus in Depression-era America, Gruen admitted to doing weeks of research for the novel, before locking herself in her walk-in closet with a laptop in order to turn it into a story. Her efforts paid off; Water for Elephants went on to be translated into 44 different languages, and topped the New York Times Bestseller list in 2007.

Time Off For Good Behaviour by Lani Diane Rich

Lani Diane Rich holds the very specific honour of being the first NaNoWriMo author to have a manuscript published. Time Off for Good Behaviour, penned in 2003, ensured her a two-book deal with Warner Books.

Both Time Off For Good Behaviour and its follow-up, Maybe Baby, made the New York Times Bestseller list, and led Rich to write several other commercially successful books.

Cuckoo by Julia Crouch

Psychological thriller Cuckoo was published in November of last year by Headline. Following Rose, whose best friend Polly seems intent on destroying her life, Cuckoo has so far proved popular with readers and critics alike.

Author Julia Crouch has credited the NaNo community with helping extensively with research for the novel, and with offering support and advice when writing became difficult.

She’s said that the fast-paced writing process of NaNoWriMo taught her to follow her instincts more, something that improved her writing immeasurably.

My Way or the Highway by  Trish Doller

YA book My Way or the Highway started off as a NaNo novel, although Trish has admitted in several interviews that the manuscript actually ended up taking around 7 months to finish.

The story of Jacey who travels across America after being abandoned in New York City, My Way or the Highway was begun during the NaNoWriMo of 2006, and picked up by Delacourte Press in 2008.

Something Like Normal followed this year, and Doller’s latest offering, All That Was Lost, is expected in October 2013.

So, why are you still reading this? Get back to that word count!

For more NaNoWriMo inspiration, check out these top tips. And let us know how you’re going with you NaNoWriMo ventures!

Megan Graham